Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, Saturday 10th September, 2016.
I was unaware of this until a couple of days ago when I read a post by someone who had suffered the trauma of losing their beautiful child. It was the first I'd heard or WSPD. I also hadn't realised that it is actually today and that since 2003 has been run every 10th September.
So why am I, a happy, slightly crazy, single mummy of two writing a post about World Suicide Prevention Day? Deep breath, I can feel the tears stinging my eyes even as I begin to tell you...I have a story to tell of loss of a loved one who felt there was no other way.
Back in April of 2015, I was generally quite happy. I say generally, I'll be honest I wasn't coping well with the impending marriage of my children's father to his now new wife, but that's my problem, not theirs (upshot was, I felt I was being replaced by a new mummy - ridiculous really). Anyway, I digress and perhaps that may be a whole new post for the future. Generally though, things were good. I had met a lovely new man and things were going well, then it happened.
It was Saturday 18th April, 2015. I was sitting in the living room with my girls enjoying the weekend when the post popped through the door. Off I went downstairs to fetch it, expecting the usual bills and boring marketing materials, but sat there amongst all the rubbish was a friendly looking white envelope. I picked it up, recognising the handwriting, but not being able to place the person to whom it belonged. I turned it over looking for a clue, but nothing, so I retreated to the safety of my sofa to open it up and find out where it had come from.
Inside was a pretty card, I don't remember the picture in detail, just that their were cute little animals on it. I opened in up and starting reading. It made no sense, it was, in essence a thank you note from my ex boyfriend, thanking me for loving him unconditionally, even though he didn't deserve it and was a terrible person. I was confused. We'd split up quite some time before and the only contact I'd had with him since was in the February, when I told him I'd met someone else. This was completely out of the blue and nonsensical; at least to me it was.
Then I noticed the folded piece of A4 paper that had fallen out of the card. I began reading, and I knew there and then what this was. It was his suicide note, his final goodbye and with that I retreated quickly to the privacy of my bedroom, away from the girls. It was the single most harrowing read of my life! His self-esteem had always been low, he was always putting himself down and could never take a compliment, but the contents of that letter were so full of self-loathing, self-hatred, bitterness and anger at himself that even I was shocked at how deep it had run.
I called the police, I had to read that letter to them, it wasn't pleasant, but worst of all, was carrying around the knowledge that he had probably ended his life without letting my two daughters know. I kept hoping they would find him in time, but late that night, thankfully after the girls had gone to bed, two police officers turned up on the doorstep to confirm that he had been successful. He died alone in the cold darkness of his garage, aged just 44. The police took the card and letter with them as evidence. I didn't mind, I didn't want to read them again and I never claimed them when I was given the opportunity. I waited until they'd gone before I cried properly. I shut myself in my bedroom and I cried so hard.
I wondered if it was my fault for having met someone new, but I realised it wasn't anything to do with me, it was all him and the hopelessness he felt. It took a long time to get back to 'normal', to get the girls back to normal. It hit them hard too. Even though we were no longer together, they liked him and were devastated. This was the first real experience of loss they had encountered, though Miss L is not aware that he took his own life and Miss D only knows the bare bones.
My emotions were a roller coaster ride, there was relief that he was finally at peace, sadness and anger. A whole lot of anger. I was angry because of the hurt and mess he'd left behind. Angry about some of the things I found out in the days that followed. Angry that he didn't think about those of us left behind, but then why would he? All these emotions were physically and mentally draining, but for those left behind, it's okay to have this wide range of feelings, it's called grief, but unlike other grief, this comes out of the blue and hits you like a ten tonne truck. Give yourself permission to grieve and to feel, let it out, talk to people and seek support.
When you are that low, when you feel there is no hope left at all for you, you will genuinely believe everyone is better off without you being a burden to them. Or perhaps you've done something totally stupid and you think that ending it will make it better, will make it go away, because everyone will hate you if they find out. The truth is there will always be people who miss you and there is always hope, you just need to look for it, ask for help and talk to someone.
I didn't go to the funeral, there good reasons why. Donations were made to Mind and so it seems appropriate to share the link below. If you are feeling you can't cope anymore, or if you know someone and are worried about them please visit the Mind website here or contact the Samaritans, you don't have to be alone.