6 months after fatal Curra crash: 'It's even harder'
EVERY day Justin Kilshaw has to drive past the place where his little brother was killed, on the same road as the family's large Curra property where both men and their parents lived on adjoining blocks.
It was a tragedy that unfolded earlier this year, just 400m from Bryce Brunjes-Kilshaw's home, when he and his mate Sam Bourke hit a tree on Harvey Siding Rd in their Mazda utility and were killed instantly on June 16.
Almost six months later, the deaths of the two much-loved and well-respected young friends still hits as hard as the night it happened for those closest to them.
Bryce was a popular and outgoing manager at Aldi and well-known in the Gympie racing community.
Sam, a ceiling and partition framer, was highly valued as a reliable and hard-working employee at Betta Projects Qld who loved a beer and a joke.
Both men were looked up to on the footy field, where they stood out amongst their peers as "legends and champions".
And expecting the loss of these two young men tragically taken too soon to get easier six months later was wrong, Mr Kilshaw said.
"People get the feeling that once a bit of time passes that people should be feeling a bit better about it and should have dealt with it," he said.
"But it really enforces that missing person and that there's a real gap in your life.
"It's probably even more difficult now because the realisation that he's never coming home is real."
Mr Kilshaw, who was 24 years older than Bryce, did not have a lot of time with his younger brother until last year when both men were living back in the Gympie region.
But the time he had living on the property next door and seeing him every day, he will always cherish.
"I've got eight months I had closely with him.
"He was such a positive young man - he was always able to help you see the bright side of things, which was incredible for a kid half my age.
"Many people have said he had a smile that would just light up the room.
"And that was the effect he had on us - that everything was okay if Bryce was here.
"He was really the glue for the family."
Mr Kilshaw keeps in touch with Bryce's friends, including Jake Bourke, who lost his twin brother that night.
"I feel personally when I'm with his friends I'm as close as I'm going to get to him," Mr Kilshaw said.
Raw and debilitating, Mr Kilshaw said grief has shown him you can't take anything for granted.
"You can't afford to take anything for granted; when they talk about distances from home and kilometres - the statistics are real.
"If he made it another 400m, then I'd still be dropping over to his place for a beer after work.
"That's one of the hardest things.
"I think you learn to live with the gap; you won't ever get over it - but you learn to live with this space."