Almost three years ago my younger brother Sevak walked out of our home and didn't return. We knew something was wrong when he failed to turn up to his shift at Bunnings. This was uncharacteristic of him, so we reported him missing.
Two days later his friend led us to Sevak's car at the end of a dirt road in Kanangra Boyd National Park. Police, SES and other volunteers searched the area for 18 days but no sign of him was found, nor a single clue as to what may have happened.
To this day we have no leads, just unanswered questions.
At the very beginning, the situation didn't faze me. Maybe his car had broken down somewhere remote, and he is waiting for help. I assured myself that he would walk through the door at any moment, just like he always did, and everything would be back to normal.
I had confidence in my younger brother. He was an experienced bushwalker, and I trusted his ability to overcome any challenges that may have been thrown his way. After spotting his car, we thought we were much closer to finding answers.
I was confident that if Sevak was in the national park, he would be found. He had the skills to survive for several weeks. However, the rough terrain meant only experienced volunteers could help.
Sevak's absence is felt more and more each day he is not with us.
As the days passed and the search intensified, still nothing. Not a single clue.
When the search was called off my parents returned from the Blue Mountains. They were visibly exhausted, and crushed. We all wanted to know what had happened to Sevak.
The lead volunteer was baffled as to how the biggest search in the region's history did not uncover any leads. My dad agreed, adding that Sevak would have been able to make himself known if he was lost, and with his experience was not likely to have stumbled into danger.
Sevak's absence is felt more and more each day he is not with us. Our house is missing its warmth and its essence. He was capable of anything, and for this reason I was confident he would just bounce back into our lives.
Time away from a loved one makes you realise how precious time really is. Especially when you lose someone that is so much a part of you. You don't know who you are anymore.
Someone who has shaped you in so many ways, someone you share countless memories and stories with, to disappear from your life so suddenly. The feeling of loss amplifies on special occasions, which don't feel as special, especially birthdays.
Sevak is the most valued member of my family. He carried with him an aura of joy, and saw the world in the most unique way. He followed his heart and was a free-spirited adventurer. Everybody had time for him and was intrigued by him.
My brother was a teacher to me. I admired his outlook on life, fearlessness and ability to think objectively. Never satisfied with cheap thrills, Sevak sought out to gain a very deep understanding of himself and the world around him.
Not one to boast about his experiences, his influence was felt through the way he lived, day in and day out. He made amazing personal transformations, lived compassionately and was always willing to learn new things and feed his mind.
He taught me to look at things from all angles. To this day, I am learning from my brother by simply reflecting on the way he approached life. Without his motivation, there is no way I would've been able to keep moving forward.
The effect is felt in ways that are difficult to explain. At times, you are frozen, immobilised, but you learn to walk through the pain. You develop resilience, a level of resilience you didn't even think was possible for yourself.
You are forced to grow in so many ways, but still can't comprehend the full extent of the burden. All the worst fears I never knew I had have come to life. Every day feels different. And every day presents new challenges.
Waking up daily to this reality is a chore. But we have a huge responsibility to find Sevak. He would do the same for us. He would make practical, logical suggestions and follow through with his plan.
But he isn't with us. Instead we ponder, we pace, we think, we ask and we hope.
The end goal is clear – to find answers. Our family, any family with a missing loved one, deserves to know what happened. And we are willing to do whatever it takes.
Catch up on Insight's look at how families cope after a loved one goes missing, here:
A version of this article originally appeared in Daily Life.