‘So cruel’: Frawley’s wife’s crippling pain
Eighteen months after St Kilda icon Danny Frawley's fatal car crash, Anita Frawley has opened up about the traumatic impact of her husband's passing.
Frawley - a coach, commentator and captain of the Saints for nine seasons - died following a car crash in Millbrook in September 2019.
The AFL great had a history of mental health issues, and his mental state began deteriorating in the months before his death.
A brain analysis found Frawley was suffering from stage two chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his passing.
His death devastated the AFL community and left a gaping hole where the much-loved, larger-than-life personality worked tirelessly for the game and everyone in it.
"You think of the pain that Danny must have been in to take that step and I have discussed with you I believe a lot of that was the CTE, the rash decision making," Anita said.
"But for him to be in that state, there is no way he would do that, and know the hurt and the pain that he would cause his girls, his mum, his family, his mates, it is just unfeasible that he would do that.
"If he could see now the pain that is left, the ripple effect, families destroyed, it is just so cruel and so hard. I see his mum and the terrible suffering she is going through.
"I don't know how to explain it - it is so painful for them what they are going through, but the pain that is left behind is a lifetime of pain. It is there for the rest of your life, it is for me.
"It is gruelling, I don't see an out, but also the pain that he must have been in, and I don't like to think (about) that too often, because it is too much."
Saturday evening's clash between St Kilda and Melbourne has been dubbed Spud's Game: Time 2 Talk, an initiative which aims to tackle mental health issues within the AFL community.
Although she is thrilled that the inaugural event is going ahead, Anita conceded the event's build-up has brought back some traumatic memories.
"When you go through trauma, and you have post-traumatic stress disorder, which I have, is anything triggers it," she said.
"So leading in to (Spud's game), while I am so proud and thrilled that it is going ahead, and I want it to be a positive forward movement for Danny and his legacy, it does bring back a lot of trauma."
Former Richmond star Shane Tuck died in July last year at the age of 38 after a lengthy battle with mental health issues.
In January, the Brain Bank revealed Tuck was also battling sever CTE when he took his own life.
"When I heard about Shane Tuck, I cried all day," Anita said.
"The thought of other families going through what we experienced, what we went through, it will be in my future to try to prevent it as much as I can, and doing whatever is possible in the hope of making a difference."
Originally published as 'So cruel': Frawley's wife's crippling pain