Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Is someone there with you?

Back in late October 1995, I can't remember what I was doing, I'm not even exactly sure what day it was, but I do remember the phone rang. You know that feeling when you know something is wrong? When your stomach drops through the floor? Then the first words you hear are, "Is someone there with you?" and you know that the news isn't just bad, it's the worst, that your world is about to fall apart.
My brother and I hadn't been close in years, he lived in Bristol, as did I, but I rarely saw him. I know so little about his life as it was at that point. He was 22, a good looking young man with so much going for him. But, for some reason, he decided that this world wasn't for him. No-one knows the reason, but at that point in his life he chose to take his own life.

When the phone rang, it was our parents, having to tell one of their children that the other one was dead.
He's been gone 18 years now, and today would have been his 41st birthday, and I can honestly say it doesn't get easier, you just learn to cope with it. It gets better, but it doesn't ever really go away.
It tore my world apart. It changed who I am forever.
We played Metallica at his funeral. It's a beautiful ballad. Not exactly ruined for me now, but I can't listen to it without that edge of memory, the knowledge of where, when and why it was played.
I'm the survivor, is that the right word? The one left behind. The one who has to live with the aftermath of suicide. I will live with it all my life.
I'm the one who has to tell my children, when they ask about other members of our family, why don't we have Uncles and Aunts on your side, Mum? I have to tell them they had an Uncle but he died. I have to decide how much to tell them, what to tell them.
Suicide born of depression, from desperation, from isolation and fear, affects so many lives, sends ripples through so many years. I hope none of you have this as part of your lives, but if you do, then please take a moment to talk to someone. A friend, family, your doctor, or one of the helplines available. Someone will listen.
Papyrus - Prevention of Suicide in Young People
Survivors Of Bereavement by Suicide
Happy Birthday Simon.

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