I love you.
So my friend asked me to write about my experience of losing someone to suicide. And like most times in life, you are the first person I’d want to talk and tell the story to so I said I’d write to you as you are no longer here to tell in person.
The day your life ended was the day that mine and our families New lives began. When I got the phone call to say you had passed, like something from a movie, I fell against the wall and slumped to the ground. Overwhelmed by shock, sadness, heartbreak and, difficult for some to comprehend, relief. Relief your suffering was over and that you were at peace. When your suffering ended ours just began. I remember the adrenaline pumping through my veins and I rushed out of the college library and went home. To reality.
Reality bites; arriving home to the scene of squad cars, guards and an ambulance. You were already in the back of the car being taken away. Not being able to see your face and have to hug you goodbye through sheets of thick plastic is a memory forever engrained. The night before, I left to drive home but you didn’t come to the window to wave goodbye like you always did. Did you know? Should I have known?
Your funeral was just a mere testament of what an incredible person you were. They would have come for days if they could. When people heard you had died by suicide they were utterly shocked. Why would such a lovely man do that? Why did he do it? He didn’t mean it? So many people were so astounded that when offering their sympathies they were honestly speechless. Then there were the hundreds of people who parted such lovely stories about you. Of times you helped them when they were in need, of times you offered sound advice and of times you acted like a father to them too. I gained a couple of hundred siblings over the course of a few days. And this made me sad. You were the most selfless man. You always put everybody else first. You worked til blood, sweat and tears in order to give us everything we ever wanted. Why did you deserve this suffering? What could we have done? You were a pillar of the family and the community and we all leaned on you for support. The pillar eventually could not do anything, but fall.
Life unfortunately stays moving despite the fact we often still live in the moment you passed. Big events are difficult, your birthday, Christmas. But it’s the little day to day events that really cause the tsunami of grief and anxiety to take over. Many people use references to suicide as part of their day to day language; “if that top isn’t in penny’s I’m actually going to kill myself”, or after a heavy night on the beer, people will often tell you they are “hanging”. And what’s worse than this is the awkward silence after someone realises what they have said.
Having just finished college two weeks after you died, I was supposed to be heading on holidays with the girls. I got as far as Paris and while waiting for my connecting flight, I started to become anxious. My head was doing 90, the sweat was pouring from my palms and neck and I picked up the phone and called you. No answer. I tried again. No answer. Straight to voicemail. Your voice! I crumbled to a thousand pieces inside that bathroom, knowing that was the only time I’d ever hear your voice again. I just wanted you back. I wanted you to tell me everything was going to be ok. I needed you. I booked a one way ticket home, grief had set in and holidays were a distance desire.
I miss you. We all miss you. I miss you when I see Katie Taylor fighting, when Aslan “crazy world” plays on the radio, when I see caramel cups in the shop. Your soft hair after you would blow dry it, the state of the bathroom after you’ve covered it in baby powder. The little Scuts miss you. They tell people gaga is up in heaven fixing tyres for everyone up there. You are irreplaceable, from being the best dad in the world to being the best gaga at cutting up oranges!
Life without you is so unbearably tough sometimes. We are a mess. We are surviving turmoil on a daily basis. But we are survivors. They say grief is a horrible experience but that grief associated with suicide is another level. I can only agree because this pain is excruciating and I would never wish it on anyone.
Sometimes as we look forward we talk about the things you’ll miss, the new grandchild, communions, birthdays, graduations and there is always a bitterness of what has been taken from us. Stolen memories.
But we try to be positive and grateful. Grateful for who you were and all you meant to us. I had years of the best dad. Some people may never have that. We are so thankful for all the memories we do have of you and not a single day goes by when we don’t talk about you.
I was asked to write this as an experience of losing someone to suicide but I can’t really differentiate. I treat your death as if you died in any other way. Suicide is a horrific experience for a family to go. The darkness and suffering are insurmountable. It is so common and only last week your friend passed away by suicide. A neighbour told me and asked me “do you want to know how he did it!?”. As anger boiled in veins at this, the thought that somebody sometime asked the same question about you, I had a realisation. You died by suicide because You were suffering and in pain and there is no shame in that. You didn’t want to die you just wanted your pain to end. I cherish those days of me and you sitting in my little car outside the doctors and you crying in pain. I witnessed your suffering, I just only could wish I could have stopped it. To the public there is still a stigma and a dark shame associated with suicide. We need to break down this stigma, for those who are suffering so to encourage them to seek help and to those who are bereaved that they can do so without shame or secrecy.
◦ Your last words to us were to pray for you. I hope you can return the favour now you’re in heaven. Pray for us, your heartbroken family.
We miss you, every single second of every single day.
I love you. For ever and always.
All my love x