Who Was Herman?

dad-and-lucy

An in-part illustration of the man.

Herman’s Hands is my Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention Clothing Brand. www.hermanshands.com.

HH is about change.

Honest exposure of mine and my late father’s vulnerabilities helps break down the macho-Australian-male culture and sets example for others to empower themselves and share their own.

Through HH I am continuously learning about myself as well my dad and his suffering. The more I learn, the better version of myself I become and the better I can serve and support others.

I am forever striving to better illustrate the suffering mental illness and suicide creates in hope of communicating the importance of awareness and change.

This is my passion.

 

Here’s a heap of pictures that I reckon illustrate some parts of Herman’s life.

 

Recently I came to the saddening realisation that through my work, my old man (Herman) has become a concept to me. When I think of him I don’t think about the times we had together. I think of him as this idea… As ‘Herman’s Hands’ – an avenue for awareness spreading.

I’m working with my dad every day. Maybe he’s so familiar to me now that I’ve numbed myself to his loss?

The only thing that grounds me back in the purpose of all my work is reading his words in the suicide letter he left for me.

I’ve spent the past 3 and a half years of my life focused on trying to convert negatives into positives. I guess I’ve been trying to justify my dad’s death or make it right or something like that. I dunno.

Anyway, these pictures came to me just at the right time. They help me take a step back to remember. They put a face to the name. I just want to share them with you and let you make your own interpretations of the man.

Herman may have been a tatted up, biker lookin’ mf who rocked a mullet a lot of the time but he was a great father. And you know, your old man is just as susceptible to mental illness as mine was. And your brother. And your uncle. And your nephew. And your cousin. And your grandad. And all your female relatives too.

So have a lil’ chat. Never hesitate to tell mine or Herman’s story. I know you know someone who could benefit from it. Also, if you’ve got a moment, share the heck out of these pics. I think they’re pretty neat.

Through HH you can set example for change and show others a way forward.

Create Dialogue – Inspire Change.

Brendan McDonnell.

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8 Comments. Leave a comment

Comments

  1. Michaela
    December 15, 2016

    Bloody beautiful Bren, awesome photos xxxx

  2. Amanda
    December 15, 2016

    Some beaut memories there Bren. Thank you xxx

  3. Lauren (Aunty Cecelias good friend)
    December 15, 2016

    Beautiful memories there Brendon I smiled and shed a tear thru them all!! Love your work your an inspiration to many I’m sure! I kinda grew up with dad as Aunty Cecelia and I were inseparable best friends thru the 70’s and 80’s. I regarded the mcdonnells as my second family and frequently was over their place in burnley grove days! I remember your dad being on the ph one morning to one of his car dealers and asked where are you to the guy on the ph and then he said what Elizabeth arrr stick it up your ass then”. At the time I thought how did he have the guts to say that to someone lol 😂 !! Anyway thought I’d just share that with you! I was lucky enough after being in hospital myself with mental problems to visit dad in flinders and felt privelaged for him to meet my husband Adam and secretly get his nod of approval of Adam! All the older McDonnell boys were like brothers to me!! sadly my family moved to Brisbane in 88 but not sad really coz I will always hold them dear in my heart! You were very young when I last saw you probably only about 4-5 years old. When I look at you now it warms my heart and I feel so proud for you and dad 💗💗💗 love to you and Hi 👋 mate your amazing!!! Xxx

  4. Tac91au
    December 15, 2016

    Great read. Keep up the good stuff. Loved the pictures.

  5. Mandy Laidlaw
    December 15, 2016

    Well Done XX

  6. Angela Peel
    December 15, 2016

    Your writing is so touching Brendan. Those pictures surely bring some lovely memories back to you. I like the exercise.
    Well done.

  7. Rosie
    December 15, 2016

    So powerful Bren! I feel so lucky to be able to see these photos. What an amazing man he was and an even more amazing man you have turned out be. So proud of you xx

  8. Marten Newton-Smith
    December 15, 2016

    Thanks for sharing and bringing something so sad to such a positive enforcement. Change is definitely in the air and your awareness and courage is taking large steps in the very positive direction. Love your work.

    Cheers

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