Message of Love

We live in the centre of a city. It’s a hive of activity in every direction, yet our street is a dead end, which means it’s usually quiet as only residents have any reason to use the street. At the end of the street is an alley, which takes residents around to the main shopping area of our city. The alley is paved and we walk through there often. For me, it is at least once a week. For Gary, three or four times a week. And for Daniel, he walks through that alley every day.

Imagine my surprise when one rainy day, Gary and I were running along the path trying to make it to shelter when I suddenly noticed something I had never seen before. Something I had walked over hundreds of times, but never registered in my mind. A message that was so obviously from Barry, that I still find it difficult to believe that I had not noticed it before.

I think I noticed it this day, because the rain water filled the cracks and made the message stand out tenfold. I remember standing in the rain and staring at my son’s hand writing, months after I had lost him to suicide, a smile spreading across my face.

Barry had defaced Council property, leaving a message of love behind, and I want to share that message with you today.


Nat was Barry’s first girlfriend. Well, the first girlfriend he told me about anyway. And from what Natalee tells me, I believe she was his first, although I know he “liked” other girls prior to asking Natalee out. Barry and Nat were together for about 18 months from the age of 15. He thought the world of her…and her family. And they thought the world of him.

I was grateful then, and I’m grateful now, for the way Natalee’s family “adopted” Barry and made him one of their own. It was a happy time for Barry, which I’m sure he treasured. I saw the difference that association had on him and his confidence. The writing in the pavement is only one reminder of his time with Natalee. Barry wrote his feelings for her in his school books, on his school bag, on his cap, even on his wardrobe (in thick, black, permanent marker – which didn’t go down well with me, at the time).

This morning I pulled out an old shoebox filled with computer disks and upon opening the lid found another “I love Nat” written in chalk on the inside of the lid. It reminded me of the message in the alley and that is why I felt the need to write this post. I’m scared the little reminders will one day disappear, so I need to document them so that I won’t forget.

Here are some photos of Barry and Nat. The one to the left was taken at the Year 10 Formal in 2003 and the one to the right at the Year 12 Formal in 2005. Barry didn’t take Natalee to the Year 12 Formal, he had another girlfriend then, named Tara, but the two girls were friends. The long photo at the bottom of the set shows Tara, Barry and Natalee. I’m told Barry felt like a film star that afternoon, with cameras flashing in every direction and a girl hanging off each arm, so he adopted that “cool” look he was famous for.

Barry & Natalee

Tara, Barry and Natalee


8 thoughts on “Message of Love

  1. I read this earlier today and I didn’t know what to say. I’m sure your heart must have raced when you realised that it was Barry who wrote that on the wall.

    When I looked at the pictures of Barry, I see a young man who looks like he is full of confidence with his whole life ahead of him, that he is going to live it to the full.

    I’m so sorry Karen. Even though I know it does no good, I wish Barry was here. (((Hugs))) and tears from the other side of the world.

  2. Barry was out going and quite confident. Yes, he worried about things too, but no more so than any other person.

    He loved making people laugh, so he was always acting the clown.

    I know he could have lived a full life, but he chose to cut that life short. I still cannot grasp that completely.

    I wish he were here too. With all my heart I wish that.

  3. Karen,

    I’m sorry about your son to many baby’s are being plucked away from us. I lost my daughter on August 8th 2006 she was only 15. I love your site hope to put one together as good as your’s soon. I am held back from sharing any details concerning my daughters death. My Attorney is doe’s not want to hinder our future outcome. As soon as we get justice for Angel though I am going to be breaking a big story. There will be a foundation set up in her name and parents and other teens will have the advantage of education. concerning the issues that lead up to and eventually caused her death. Feel free to look at her the site so far you can go to just a begining but it’s a start. Reading your Barry’s story he sounds a much like my daughter shared the same personality. I feel they are sharing thier day’s in heaven together. Thanks for sharing Sincerely Mary

  4. Im Cassie.. Natalee is my cousin, i met Barry once or twice, on the visits i had to Penrith. Now i can understand the tatoo of a B Nat has on her back. I think it is so beautiful that you can relfect on Barry’s life in such a heart felt way. This peice especially left tears in my eyes as i know how much Barry ment to Nat. I wish you the best for the future.
    And may your memories last forever, you have certaintly left a mark in my heart.

  5. Barry and Nat had their problems after they broke up, but I feel certain that a bond had been formed that would not be broken easily.

    Thank you, Cassie, for the lovely words of encouragement. They mean a lot.

  6. To My Dearest Friend Barry

    “Let Not This Be our Final Goodbye”

    Let not this be our final goodbye
    For when it is my turn to farewell and cry
    I know you will be with me to ease my load
    And together again we will travel the same road

    In another time and another place
    I will once again see your smiling face
    As our wonderful friendship we restore
    We will laugh and love together once more

    And so I remain here, to remember you well
    I will think of you often, but I will not dwell
    Sometimes I will laugh and sometimes I will weep
    As I pray to the Lord Thy Soul to Keep

    So let not this be our final adieu
    It is just a brief pause between friends so dear
    I look to a time of rejoice so sweet
    For it will be in the moment when once again we meet

    Missing you every day

    Love Natalee xxx

  7. Those words are just beautiful and heart felt. Thank you, Natalee, for thinking of Barry – especially at this time of the year (and I say that knowing you haven’t stopped thinking about him in the past year).


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