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Dawn Brummer, is living through a difficult time since losing her son to suicide two weeks ago. But, she admits, she is finding comfort in reading all the stories about him.

“I’m reading all the stories about him and I’m finding them so beautiful,” Dawn, 84, tells 9Honey. “I feel happy to have read them, because there are such wonderful things being said about him.”

Dieter died aged 45 and news of his death was sent all around the world and particularly here in Australia, where he was born and became famous playing Shane Parrish on Home and Away from the age of 16.

Dawn has said: “He was a very humble person. I think you’ve probably read about his life, about how he loved abseiling because he felt he didn’t have to deal with people recognising him all the time.”

Dieter grew up with his mum in The Hills district in Sydney’s north-west. Dawn remembers trying to pick her son up from the local shopping centre after he started appearing on the popular Australian show.

“I couldn’t see him,” says Dawn. “But I could see about 20 girls in a group outside the shops and I thought, ‘That’s where he is,'” she remembers.

Dieter learnt to deal with being famous

He became so well-known he wasn’t able to go to a restaurant without people coming up to him. It would have been a lot of attention for a teenager to have thrust on him. He dealt with the fame but later, he struggled to find steady acting work, as many Australian actors do.

After appearing on Home and Away from 1992 until 1996, for which he was nominated for a Gold and Silver Logie Award, he went on to star in a number of other shows throughout the nineties.

In the 2000s he joined the cast of UnderbellyNeighbours and Winners & Losers.

But due to the irregular nature of acting jobs, Dieter trained as an industrial rope access technician and started his own business which saw him abseiling between high-rise buildings in the city. Dawn says he loved it.

Dieter’s father died four years ago and Dieter moved back to the family’s Glenhaven home. It proved to be a perfect escape from what was proving to be a difficult time for him, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and work for his business dried up.

“I think people with depression don’t talk about it, it’s just their little secret,” Dawn says. “We’re just assuming that’s what he suffered, and he made an awful mistake.”

Since news of Dieter’s death has been in the media, Dawn has been contacted by “hundreds” of his fans, sharing their condolences.

Dawn hopes other realise suicide is not an answer

Dawn says she hopes people will learn from the tragedy of Dieter’s death and realise that suicide is not an answer: “Maybe some of those people who are grieving for him will think about the hole they would leave behind,” she adds.

“He ended his pain, but the rest of the world who ‘knew’ him are now in pain. If one person is contemplating suicide just a little, maybe now they will think about how it will affect their mum, their brothers and sisters, partner and friends and the wider range of people who know them.”

Dawn has been writing her thoughts down since her son’s death as a form of “therapy”, hoping they will eventually form part of a book and perhaps save even more lives.

“In the book, I draw an analogy that his death is like a stone being thrown into a pond and ripples are getting wider and wider and the effects are never ending,” she says.

“I have friends whose children have taken their own lives. One friend said to me it happened 20 years ago and they are still not over it.”

Dieter “seemed so happy”

Shortly before his death, Dawn says Dieter “seemed so happy”.

“An old mate had given him a job, which he had just started. He was so excited,” said Dawn. “That was only a couple of days before we were locked down. It was hard to look to the future. Initially we were told it was for two weeks, and then four weeks, and then six weeks.”

Dawn is at a loss as to the exact circumstances of her son’s death. “I said to someone today he made a mistake he couldn’t undo,” she said.

Dieter has since been laid to rest. Dawn says on the day of her son’s funeral, Lifeline reported the highest number of calls they’d received in 58 years, a sure sign of just how much some Australians are struggling now.

“Maybe sharing my story might help one person or two people,” she hopes.

The funeral was difficult due to current restrictions which state there can only be 10 attendees at funerals in NSW now.

“We had to pick and choose and there were so many who wanted to attend,” Dawn says. “His friends were not celebrities.”

In memory of her son and to help others who may be suffering from depression, Dawn has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Beyond Blue.

“I haven’t got a specific figure in mind,” she explains. “I’m just thinking that if there can be a positive out of such a huge negative, maybe this is it.”.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

Image: Getty Images

This article originally appeared on Over60.