Rupert: Ten Years Later

RUPERT: TEN YEARS LATER

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

(Queen Elizabeth II)

image
A portrait of Rupert, commissioned to mark the tenth anniversary of his death, and painted by the artist Rebecca Foster

 

It was a Sunday morning; a bright promising summer’s day.

I’d been up a while, contentedly reading in bed. My wife had gone out to church. The children were in their rooms. All was quiet. Nothing unusual in that. Sundays were usually slow to start.

Eventually, I’d had enough of my book and decided it was time to get up. Passing my daughter Rosy’s room, I walked towards my son’s room, noticing that his door was nearly but not quite shut. Normally he kept it open so, respecting his privacy, I knocked. No reply. I went into the room and found Rupert.

Sometime in the small hours, he had hanged himself. He was 14 years old.

All my life, I’ve rarely been stuck for words. But the horror of losing a child to suicide is so overwhelming and so complicated that it makes a mockery of words and exposes their inadequacy to capture the dreadful reality in which, without warning, you are suddenly and shockingly submerged.

For many weeks, you cannot process the reality that your child is dead and gone forever. It doesn’t matter that the physical evidence haunted me over and over. Every night when I tried to sleep, the flashbacks would begin, mercilessly vivid. Over and over again, I would replay what I had seen and experienced.

I held his body in my arms and kissed his cold face again and again. When I think how squeamish I once was. Even in death, he was still beautiful. There was a fine growth of hair on his upper lip; the hint that he was starting to leave boyhood behind. I couldn’t grasp that he would never be an adult now, never lead a life of his own.

I kept thinking that there must be some mistake; that this couldn’t really be happening. It was a terrible joke, stage managed by Rupert himself. Or that the paramedics would spot something I hadn’t and bring him spluttering back to life; bruised, frightened, but returned to us as bright and funny, creative and challenging as ever.

Later that first day, I watched instead as they carefully navigated our narrow stairs and carried away his body in a black bag on a collapsible trolley, like so much waste. Later I knew others would cut him open and further desecrate his perfection; because the law dictates that suicide requires an autopsy. Another lasting trauma from the catalogue of devastation which follows such a death.

There were so many.

The pompous, unfeeling official from the inquest office, lecturing me in a bored voice over the phone: “Oh I’ve seen this all before…”

The grief tourists, as we nicknamed them, eyes dancing with the adrenalin of tragedy, urging softly, “Do you mind me asking how he died?”

I cringe to think that, for a time, in our utter vulnerability, we told some of them everything, sparing no small detail.

Going to Rupert’s school to collect his belongings from his locker. The man who was meant to meet me was late so that a bell went and we were caught in a sudden maelstrom of boys, all of them in the familiar uniform. It sounds ridiculous but I looked for Rupert then, momentarily convinced that, after all, he might be among them. The now familiar feeling that it was all just a hideous mistake. But Rupert wasn’t there, the boys quickly vanished and we were alone again.

The teacher led me to a locker, struggling to open it with a pass key. He started to hand me the detritus inside until I realised that this stuff wasn’t Rupert’s. It was the wrong locker. Eventually, at last, he located it, and I was quickly loaded up with all Rupert’s exercise books and the pitiful odds and ends which schoolboys hoard, except, “Oh not that, that’s a library book…”

I’d hadn’t thought to bring a bag with me, so I had to stagger out to the car with everything precariously balanced and pitch it all onto the back seat.

As I drove home, I screamed out his name over and over again until my throat hurt.

It was a beautiful summer. The hard blue sky and vivid colours mocked us daily; reinforcing the sense that we were now aliens in a world which no longer belonged to us nor had any meaning. Whenever we ventured out, there were families laughing and having fun; boys who, from a distance, might pass for Rupert. One of the characteristic sounds of Rupert was the trundle of his skateboard; signalling his return from being out with his friends. Now another boy trundled up and down outside our house instead. I had never seen him before. Why was he here now, tormenting us? I wanted to scream at him to leave us alone.

The funeral was planned and took place. Before the bell was rung to signal the start of the ceremony, I repeated the mantra I had thought of to get through it. “Pack your heart full of ice…so you cannot feel.”

The church was packed. There were compliments about the music and the words, and how well it was stage managed. And funerals are a piece of theatre, a ritual which helps most of those attending to process the death and move on. Not so much the family left behind.

A few days later, we went to collect Rupert’s ashes. There he was, reduced to the contents of a little wicker box. Handing it over, the stupid girl behind the counter said, “Surprisingly heavy, isn’t it?” I could have killed her.

Life was now all about death. Death was all there was.

I used to be terrified of dying. Every morning when I was shaving, I would feel excited for a new day and repress the fear of mortality which stalked me. I used to be haunted with guilt by the ridiculous conundrum of “Would you die for your children?” The standard and expected response was “Of course! In a heartbeat!” but, secretly ashamed, I was never so sure. Could I really make such a promise? Rupert’s death eradicated all doubt. Yes, I would willingly swap with him. Anything to return him to us and give him back what he had thrown away.

Both my wife and I wanted only to die; or so we thought. We went for long walks and discussed it endlessly. She suggested I kill her first and then myself. We persuaded ourselves that our daughter would be better off without us. During this time, Rosy lost her parents as well as her brother. She seemed to cope by immersing herself in school and the normality of routine. Her boyfriend Kieran stood by her and us.

Friends and family were in the ultimate no-win situation. Some fell by the wayside very early on, unable to cope with the magnitude of the tragedy and the obvious devastation it wreaked. One neighbour used to cross the road if he saw me coming. Others wrote the expected letter or card of sympathy and then never contacted us again. I couldn’t exactly blame them but I hated them all the same. There was the sense that some must be speculating what had really happened to cause Rupert’s death. “No smoke without fire”; all the gossip and schadenfreude. I hated the idea that people were now thinking of him transformed from a cheeky, lively, life-enhancing boy to some tragic figure. It didn’t remotely fit the Rupert I had known and loved since birth. As for being judged, no-one could judge us as harshly as we judged ourselves. We had failed to stop our son’s death.

All the time we asked ourselves why. One of the most tormenting aspects of suicide is that, unless there is a note, you cannot ever know the true reason why the person killed themselves. At the beginning, we speculated ceaselessly. The Sun did too, suggesting that Rupert may have been bullied as a result of me losing my job on Blue Peter. Totally made up, it hardly needs stating. Rupert had never been bullied and, notwithstanding the usual schoolboy reservations, loved his school. Rupert’s many friends were deeply upset and outraged. It was their introduction to the spiteful workings of the tabloid press.

For those who dared to stay close in those early months, it must have been a considerable ordeal. We were silent, or angry, remote or scornful. I couldn’t bear the way people whispered as though they were in a library. I couldn’t bear to be touched or stroked. I couldn’t bear to be with people who had living sons. I couldn’t bear to be with anyone; why were they alive when Rupert wasn’t?

We could publish an encyclopaedia of the stupid, offensive and insensitive things people said.

“Things happen for a reason,” was one of my most hated. What are you supposed to reply? “I hadn’t thought of that” maybe, or “Oh. Yes. Well, that’s all right then.”

A meaningless cliché. A waste of air.

We were bombarded with them.

“There are no words” people wrote again and again. I found this offensive. Lazy. Yes, there are words. Go and look some up.

I loathed all the polite euphemisms. He didn’t “pass away”. He died.

I couldn’t tolerate the attempts people made to introduce God into the equation, to suggest that Rupert was in “a better place” or at peace.

“He’s skating with the angels in heaven.”

No, he’s not. He’s reduced to ashes in a box under our bed.

Besides, I felt pretty sure that if he was somewhere celestial and could look over his shoulder and see what he had left behind, it wouldn’t let him enjoy paradise very much.

After a while, I was told sternly that it was time I “climbed back on the horse”. What horse? Why? To reassure the person issuing this ‘advice’ that everything would soon be OK again? Fuck them.

Fuck anyone who didn’t know what this felt like.

I was told that some close family members “couldn’t bear to think about it” as though their discomfort was our responsibility.

One day I took my mother to lunch in John Lewis. Family mattered most to her. She couldn’t have loved me or Rupert any more. And yet she was always saying tactless and thoughtless things. On this occasion, she began to pronounce on how “self-harm” simply didn’t exist when she was young; that it was all a self-indulgent made-up modern concept. When people said anything insensitive, it was as if they were physically barging into an open wound; the pain was intense and rage was inevitable. Stung by her words, I stood up, eyes blinded by tears, and screamed at her. “Your grandson hanged himself. That’s the most extreme kind of self-harm there is.”

A frisson among the middle-class matrons tucking into soup, sandwiches, tea and scones.

At this early stage, we longed for death. I did some research and invested in a special kind of dog lead, which would be highly efficient if I decided to hang myself. I took comfort from knowing that I had it and that the option was there. What troubled me was the idea that if I hanged myself Rupert would be blamed. I didn’t want that so I took to running long distances without stopping; relishing the agonising stitches and the screaming joints as I forced myself on, mile after mile. I reasoned that if I dropped down dead with a heart attack or stroke, no one could blame me. Just another middle-aged man who pushed himself too far. People commended me on doing so much physical exercise. “You look great,” they opined. I thought they were all fucking stupid and it reinforced my conviction that most people weren’t that curious; they just wanted to be reassured you were OK so it relieved them of the burden of delving any deeper.

What saved us in those early days was our remarkable therapist, John Hale. A one-time Franciscan monk, he is somewhat unconventional in his approach and techniques. His honesty is frequently bleak and he encourages such honesty by return. On our first meeting, he said, “I have to tell you that over 75% of couples split up within the first year of losing a child.”

He allowed me to rage at him. “Why do you care?” I would snarl. “What does it even matter if I live or die or go back to work or do anything at all?”

He ordered us to stop thinking of possible reasons why Rupert had done what he had done. “You are only torturing yourselves,” he pointed out. “You can never know the reasons. And there is no reason good enough for him to have killed himself.”

He challenged my own conviction that I wanted to die. “I don’t think you do,” he said. “I just don’t think you want to feel this way.”

I told him about the dog lead. He said I must chuck it away or he couldn’t continue to see me. I went home and did as he said. He quickly identified my self-harming behaviour and started the intensely difficult process of helping me to engage with it.

Most of all, sometimes firmly, sometimes gently, he educated us that there could be a future, that joy was possible and happiness could return; that we could move towards living what he called “a new normal”.

John encouraged me to train as a mentor to young men facing a variety of challenges; employment, housing, education, bereavement. Many of these were boys who had difficult or damaged relationships with their own fathers. Sometimes the father was dead or absent. Whatever the circumstances, they all craved a male role model. At first I thought John must be mad; the last thing I wanted was to spend time with other people’s sons when I had been deprived of my own. But he is wise and realised that all my life I have had a strong vocation to work for young people, to support their needs and understand their perspective. I completed the training and, for about two years, I mentored a variety of young men. The focus on their many issues and problems, and on trying to encourage them to engage with their feelings, took the pressure off my own preoccupations, and gave me back the intense satisfaction of helping others. Pain inspires compassion. Reaching out to someone in the midst of your own suffering is a kind of healing. It returns a trace of hope and meaning to a life which can otherwise often seem intolerably bleak.

Recently, the funding for John’s lifesaving work has been cut, though he continues to offer some counselling free and to run a suicide survivors group also without charge. As I say, he is a remarkable man. But despite all the fashionable posturing about the importance of mental health, the reality is that less and less is being spent and the support available is often reduced to a phone call, a brief course of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and a few free gym vouchers.

We still attend the group, which meets every few weeks. We call it “the club no-one wants to belong to” and it includes those who have lost their partners to suicide as well as the parents of children who took their own lives. It can be a brutal experience, working best when it is fuelled by raw honesty. Part of its value is the realisation that to those of us who have undergone this trauma, what would seem extreme and horrifying to most people is simply our normal; there is comfort and solidarity to be had. Common themes can be explored, frustration, anger and sadness given an outlet and practical ideas and approaches can be shared to deal with the many complicated and challenging situations which face you in the wake of suicide. The stigma of suicide is a common theme; the clumsy way the world interprets it, if it does at all – the unique pain of trying to return to living in the normal world, when every standard and value has been negated and made to seem hollow or worthless, and where you are the odd one out who has to re-learn how to fit in and find your place again.

No one warns you about the boredom of grief; the dreary yet remorseless way it drains colour, flavour and relish from every aspect of your life. The vital pleasures – food, music, reading, conversation, television – are spoilt, reduced to irritations or irrelevances, or to a special form of taunting you with the memory of what they once represented.

There is acute pain to be had from almost everything which affects your senses; a certain smell, a familiar photograph, the sound of laughter, the back of a child’s head.

Christmas can be a particular torment. It was a time of year I used to anticipate with joy and pleasure. At first, we tried to carry on as before. It was a terrible mistake. Slowly and painfully, guided by John’s advice, we discovered that the “new normal” meant engaging in acts of transformation. Like so much, Christmas had to be reinvented on fresh lines, so that it could be unlocked and returned to us.

We learnt that it was essential always to have a plan for each of the anniversaries; particularly his birthday and the 8th June, the day of his death. The key is to acknowledge and embrace the loss in some form, perhaps a simple ritual like lighting a candle, releasing a balloon, going somewhere associated with him, doing something he would have enjoyed.

His friends often joined us on these occasions. In the early years, while they were still teenagers, we organised them and they would come round to our house, and we would let them smoke and get drunk, set off fireworks, and talk about anything without fear of censure. They responded to this and to us with love, solidarity and friendship. Some of them opened up to me about their own lives and feelings and I was as honest and open with them as I could be. One boy told me, “I wish I had a Dad like you. Rupert was lucky.”

It was incredibly touching and unbearably painful at the same time.

Inevitably, there is always a certain agony to seeing them, and this agony has changed and deepened with the passing years as they variously embrace a future and a life which Rupert threw away. No university or career for Rupert. No lovers and new friends. No interests and passions, missions and crusades. I mind how the world moves inexorably forward so that Rupert already belongs to an era which is receding into history. He was MySpace not Instagram, text message not WhatsApp.

I was shocked when, not long ago, his best friend told me that he had all but forgotten Rupert. But when I could get past the shock to reflect on this, I could sense that it was natural and reasonable. As far as this boy was concerned, Rupert had been dead a long time and the years since had been full of fresh experiences, new relationships and constant change. Not just that. Why would he want to dwell on the memories of a friend who left him so suddenly and terribly, causing so much sadness and regret? Despite this, he has had Rupert’s birth date tattooed over his heart. Rupert’s death changed his life too.

In the months after Rupert died, I was desperate to share my love for him, my pride in him. I compiled a book, Love Rupert, crammed with photographs, reminiscences and reproductions of pictures he’d drawn, notes and essays. It was lavishly done and distributed to anyone I thought might appreciate it. Similarly, there were a series of videos, cut to tracks I felt were moving and meaningful, mining the archive of family videos and those he had shot himself on my camera or his phone. I wanted to tell the world how wonderful he was, how talented, how handsome – what they were missing now he was gone.

I look back at these activities with some regret. As time goes on, I feel more as if I want to keep Rupert to those who knew him best. Only they really care. How hurtful to think of the people who took the book dutifully and thought, “When am I ever going to want to look at this?” and then perhaps found their moment to quietly dispose of it. I took down the website with the videos and photo sections. It felt too personal to be out there for anyone to intrude upon and gawp at.

And the truth which all the bereaved have to face is that no matter what the legacy of their loved one, once they are gone and removed from the everyday world, they are consigned to memory; the only true legacy is in their impact on the ones who really loved them and whom they left behind.

Anger is an unavoidable aspect of grief. There is anger at the injustice, anger at what has been lost, anger at the damage and pain inflicted on the others you love. There is anger at the uncaring world and the demands it still makes on you. Anger is never far from the surface and can be triggered by apparently trivial causes. I experienced several terrifying sudden public meltdowns in the wake of Rupert’s death.

One day I was in London, working, making my way to Soho where our edit suites where based. I came to a pedestrian crossing and waited. A gleaming Mercedes approached and I expected it to slow down. I made eye contact with the driver; young, arrogant. He wasn’t going to stop for the likes of me. He cruised on and glanced sneeringly in my direction. And that was it. I went out of my mind. I ran alongside his car and launched a series of violent kicks to the side, screaming abuse at the top of my voice. The driver’s expression was no longer arrogant and assured. He looked frightened. He sped on as fast as he could.

Then the spell was broken and, released from it, I was covered in utter shame, horror and sadness. I burst into tears and fled to find a corner where I could escape from the staring faces of so many strangers. I knew I had been quite out of control, capable of killing him, or myself, or anyone.

It took much longer for me to admit to any anger with Rupert. To begin with, I would swear that I wasn’t angry with him and could never be; how could I blame him for making such a terrible mistake, when he has lost everything?

But as time went on, I realised I was angry with him and that this was OK. It didn’t mean I couldn’t forgive him, just as I did when he was alive and had pissed me off. I was angry that he had been given so much; intelligence, imagination, good looks, great health and physicality and yet he had chosen to discard his life. I found it shameful to think of the sharp contrast with other less fortunate young people burdened with disabilities and illness, sometimes fatal, who fought for every last moment of life, and to fulfil whatever dreams they nurtured.

The worst anger is triggered by the impact his death has had on the others I most care for, particularly his mother and his sister. They didn’t deserve what he has done to them. They were unfailingly wonderful, understanding, supportive, loyal. I could go on. Rationally, I realise that, at the point he decided to hang himself, none of this was relevant to Rupert. He loved us and knew we loved him. But, like most people his age, at this stage of life it was all about him, his issues, his drama. He was too young to be considered or detached. He was always reckless, impulsive, emotional. And whatever his state of mind, in those last few hours, he was also fatally vulnerable and entirely on his own.

That is where everything ended for him. For us, the consequences continue and will never cease. Someone once said that a suicide is like dropping a pebble in a pool; the disturbance radiates out from the central impact, affecting many more than just those in the closest vicinity. It’s a simplification, of course, but it has resonance. Suicide doesn’t conclude anything; it forces open the door to a changed existence and the after shocks continue for years and can frequently be felt in the next generation. Once a suicide has occurred in a family, its shadow lingers; the possibility is there for it to happen again in the future.

Time is inexorable and the years pass. In so many ways, it seems inconceivable that we have survived an entire decade since that terrible day. What has changed?

It is, I think, true that while you never get over the death of a child, you can learn to live with it. A degree of happiness, even joy, returns, if you let it. Love, laughter and friendship are vital. We can function as effectively as most, holding down jobs and a social life. So well do we manage this that many must think we have healed and are “over it”. They want this to be true, for us and for them. The spectre of such a violent and tragic death is awkward. It gets in the way of enjoyment and relaxation, taints the atmosphere at a gathering. Shortly after Rupert died, one friend quoted the old saying “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone.” At the time I was infuriated. Another smug cliché. But now I recognise its stark truth. Other people only have so much capacity for your loss. It becomes a burden, an inhibition, a barrier, a bore. Those with children can’t bear to think about it, because it is their worst fear come true, and too close to home. Those without children can’t always imagine the visceral nature of what has happened and how you have been wounded forever. One friend contacted me on twitter a few years after Rupert died, prompted by some superficially jolly post I’d put out there. “I was so sorry to hear that Rupert had died,” she wrote. “I meant to get in touch at the time but I didn’t know what to say. But I’m glad to see that you’re over it now and happy again.”

Well intentioned, perhaps, but I did want to reply, “How about I pop round, murder one of your children, and then you can let me know when you’re over it and happy again.”

Having a sense of humour helps, especially if you’re not scared to make fun of the dark. Mandy and I still laugh at the day she was sitting in the garden, crying and crying. She seemed to have been crying for days. I’d had enough and snapped, “Oh stop crying and shut the fuck up.” A friend who was with us at the time was horrified. But Mandy burst out laughing. She was sick of crying too.

Being busy is infinitely preferable to a vacuum of time with too much space for thinking. We have developed many techniques to deal with the feelings which can still hijack us without notice. Nourishing your interests and enthusiasms helps. Nothing is too trivial if it brings diversion and simple pleasure. There was a stage when just walking into town to get a decent cup of coffee felt like the only thread which was keeping me connected to the outside world. I’m grateful that is no longer the case – but I still like a walk and a good cup of coffee.

I think of Rupert every day, but had he lived, that would still have been true; I think of my daughter and grand-daughter every day too. Since he died at the age of 14, I was determined that I would never attempt to ‘age’ him in my imagination, to speculate about what he might have been or become. But it is a lie that time heals everything. The ache of his absence has grown not better but worse over the years. I miss him all the time, every day. The pain is like incurable homesickness. I very rarely watch the videos now. They hurt too much. They belong to then.

The oddest aspect of losing a child to suicide is the way that you can be moving forward in so many ways, when some slight, unexpected trigger will come along and in an instant, you will be transported right back to how you felt at the very beginning; as raw and broken and despairing as you were when your brain was struggling to process that this really had happened and wasn’t some extraordinary nightmare. I once explained this to a friend.

“Sounds a bit like malaria,” he said. “It can always come back to get you.”

Exactly that.

The sense of loneliness has increased. Everyone else inevitably moves on but, whatever your progress, in many respects the parent of a dead child can’t. It isn’t natural or truly possible to move on from the death of your child. As the years go by, you no longer feel you have permission to express how this feels. It must largely be contained and kept to yourself.

Once, in the face of what must have been a particularly violent outburst of anguish, my mother said, desperately, “But you wouldn’t wish his life away, would you? I know he’s died and he’s broken your heart, but aren’t you grateful for the 14 years you did have?”

This provoked fury; no, I wasn’t grateful and often, I wished that he had never been born. Anything to spare this unrelenting, unceasing, merciless pain.

Ten years after the cataclysm of his death, I no longer feel the same. I have learnt to stop speculating about why he did what he did. I have learnt to put boundaries around the relationships which have the potential to hurt me and cause more damage. I have learnt that very many of the things people value and to which they devote time, energy and passion really don’t matter much at all. I have learnt that I can and have survived the worst thing that can happen to a loving parent.

I’ve been told I am brave, and strong, and even remarkable. I have never felt any of those things. I believe you only really have two choices; to stop in your tracks and retreat from life, or to try to find some way to continue. It wasn’t bravery or strength which made me choose the latter. I had to try because Rupert wasn’t the only person I loved or lived for. But I did love him and I will continue to love him for the rest of my days, to be thankful for the gift of such a truly original and wonderful son, while aching for the waste of his death and what it has meant for all of us who hold him in our hearts.

 

 

87 thoughts on “Rupert: Ten Years Later”

  1. Oh my god, such powerful words. I cried a few tears, in certain parts. I myself struggle with depression, and won’t lie when I say I too have wanted to end my life, because I just don’t want to be here anymore.
    Just because I smile and laugh does not mean I’m not breaking up inside, I’m so sorry your son never asked for help , or talked about what was troubling him,but I’m sure he didn’t do what he did to hurt you, your wife or his sister. Sometimes words are never enough,so you just sit in silence,hoping things will be different the next day( sometimes, there worse than the day before)
    I really hope you and your family are a little better, and if your story has helped one person to get help, that’s 1 persons family that still has their child.
    Sorry if I haven’t made any sense, I’m not very good with words,or writing them,
    Sending love and best wishes to you all
    Keep the great memories in your ♡♥♡♥♡♥,and one day you might pick up the strength to watch the videos again, and see his gorgeous smiling face, and hear his laugh once again .
    Yours faithfully
    Liz Powell xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Elizabeth. Thanks for posting. You say you aren’t very good with words but what you’ve said is clear and moving and much appreciated. I wish you love and luck with your own ongoing challenges. Please don’t give up x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very moved and emotional to read this, thank you for sharing it.
    Though I never met him, I remember many years ago you telling me you once sent Rupert to his room when he was little and “didn’t want to hear another peep out of him”, and you bursting out laughing when he turned from the foot of the stairs and said “Peep peep!”, and that is something I have never forgotten as a flavour of his character. Sending my good wishes to you all on this very sad anniversary.
    James x

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  3. Such a powerfull message to everyone,so sorry for your loss, as a Father i am loss for words, my son is going through a similar situation but sometimes its so very difficult to get your message through , so that they understand , that you are there for them , no matter what the situation or problems are .

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  4. Wow.A very moving and emotional read. Normally i am a lazy reader who just scans the text briefly to get the main jist. However i reread most of these sentences and felt so compelled to understand each thing you were writing. But i was selfishly wishing for your story to end fast. I kept swiping the page up wishing to see the end of the text but it went on and so I had to continue to read. In my mind all I was thinking of was my teenage son in his bedroom. Was he thinking what Rupert could have been thinking and us parents oblivious to his state of mind. After writing this I am going to check on him. We think they are ok but we dont really know just how our children feel. You have made us parents think .That was not your intention maybe but it is a positive from a sad story. From a stranger, I am so glad you decided to write this. Warmest regards ,Rich

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  5. Isn’t it strange how you flip flop from love to hateful emotions depending on your memories that day, and your thoughts about other family members. Suicide rarely seems to allow full closure. Even time doesn’t fully dull the pain.

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  6. Thank you so much for posting this. Our 12-year-old son did the same thing some time after 8.30 pm on 20 June last year; we found him, too late, at 9.00 pm and the wicked maelstrom of a new life we never chose began for us, also with paramedics, visits to school, the agony of our boy’s funeral, and the unimaginable frustrations of dealing with the police and the coroner’s office. We are still trying to fathom out how we keep going, how we live on – but we are doing, every day, and your words give me hope that we can continue to do so, despite the well-meaning but thoughtless comments, the unexpected upwellings of emotion and the other triggers that will inevitably blindside us along the way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Zoe, I’m so sorry to hear that. The similarities are chilling. There is so much work to be done at least to stop the process which follows a suicide being so clumsy and adding to the trauma and hurt. You can find your way to a new, different, transformed future – not the one you wanted or expected – and I hope you have the support, love and patience to get there, inch by inch, day by day. Love to you and your family x

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  7. I lost my 18 year old too, they had different deaths but the reactions you talk about of the people around you resonate so much…thank you for writing this, it must have been hard but it has helped me today

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have been a parent and teacher for many years. I have a cousin who lost her son to heroin overdose…but what I wanted to say is that your writing is superb…..you have a gift through it all.

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  9. It’s every parents nightmare, the death of a child. Fortunately not me, but sadly for friends. (Meningitis on this occasion) but the after effects were devistating.
    The one point I wanted to pick.up on was the CBT reference and telephone counselling. Experience says I’m not a fan. Not for me but my husband.
    He suffered from clinical.depression within 6 months of us marrying he lost his business. Is never dealt with this condition before. Unworked 12 hour shifts to come home to a mentally ill.man, which also.affected him physically. Thankfully for us he was not a self harmer or suicidal.
    The coucelkung resulted in me sacking mine as she told me time the marriage sell.the house and leave him. Eh. He not mad or bad just I’ll. And his counselor had him on the phone a couple of minutes a week. Disgraceful
    I’m a happy go lucky bunny with a positive out look, but he nearly took me down with him.
    Were ok now, fit and well, but others aren’t so lucky or strong, neither do they have help around them. Your involvement with the mens group is inspirational and a great help. I’m sure you’ve helped save many.
    God bless xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for explaining some of your story; thank goodness you trusted your instincts. There is never a one size fits all that’s appropriate for helping with mental health; the issues are too varied and people too individual in their needs and responses for that x

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  10. My daughter, Emily died the same way as Rupert (but in our garden). Like him she was 14, like you I found her – it was 7 years ago last Wednesday. I hate this new life I lead, never feeling truly happy and never feeling safe anymore. I’ve found support amongst other bereaved parents – TCF (who are the only people who can truly understand how fucking awful it is to be a parent whose child has died) – but I miss my old life and I can’t ever have it back. Sending an understanding hug.x

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    1. Sharon, I’m so sad to read this; every time I learn of another parent and another family having to live this unwanted new life, my heart aches and my head spins. I’m glad you’ve found some support and I hope you can continue to move forward, though I know how incredibly hard this will always be. Thank you for reaching out x

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautifully written, heart-rending read. Not what I expected on a beautiful Sunday morning, about to take our youngest – 15 year old son on a beach clean. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing this. As a GP and a mother, it will help me, I hope, to support people like you who have suffered the worst possible loss.

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    1. Thanks Susanne. GPs can make such a difference but many don’t deal with suicide well. I found such difference between different ones; some just want to medicate (which I know can be useful but wasn’t for me) – luckily we had access to one who really valued dynamic therapy and he referred us. Alas, as I said in the piece, the funding has since been withdrawn. But without that therapist I very much doubt I’d still be here.
      Good luck and love to you and your family x

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      1. Terrible lack of funding up here in Scotland, too. Currently having trouble accessing for our son who has autism. I’m glad you were both able to access therapy. We are very lucky to have a lovely GP but so many are not so fortunate.

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  12. Your words stir up so many emotions and memories for me. Thank you for writing them and letting us into your personal thoughts and feelings. You prompted me into a conversation with my 15 year old Son about depression and low mood and his thoughts about it. Thank you for that too. You chose the path that enabled you to use this unwanted, catastrophic experience for your family, to reach out to people and touch their lives and make a difference. In my experience this can help you heal yourself as well as others. I hope you are feeling this as the years go by. Love to you and your family. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I really appreciate you contacting me and yes, I think a vital part of healing is to reach out to others. We are all vulnerable and need to be listened to and understood. Keep talking to your son. Love to you and your family x

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  13. Thank you for writing everything we’ve been feeling and more. One year on and an inquest still to go through where his young life and ours will dissected publicly. Thank you for allowing me to understand that this is the new normal and that we will be able to stand up again no matter how many times we fall to our knees in anguish.

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    1. The anguish is unavoidable. On bad days, I embrace it, but then, after a few hours, try to start fighting back again. It is a struggle, a battle – and it doesn’t stop. But it does change and transformation and healing are possible. I’m sorry you are still waiting on the inquest. That seems very wrong to me, an additional trauma. Please seek professional help if you haven’t already. It can make all the difference. Sending love to you and your family x

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  14. This was hard to read, but also helpful. My son, 13, died in the same way 2 1/2 years ago. We (his 2 older teenager siblings and myself) found him. I was luckier it seems with the police, inquest and support after his death, but the pain, the growing pain is similar. The struggles, the annoying words of others, the feeling lost and alone are draining.
    Remembering him with others isn’t happening as much as I thought it would and this is sad. I worry about passing on the pain. I still ask myself why. Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reaching out to share some of your story. An appalling loss and a lasting burden for you and his siblings. I have particular concerns for siblings affected by suicide. There is so little in place to support their very specific needs and the parent (s) are so often too vulnerable themselves to really bridge the gap. The anger, resentment and jealous – and then guilt for these very natural reactions – can be toxic. Glad you have some good support and sending love to you and your family x

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  15. Since my son died suddenly last year, I have survived through therapy; life-saving grief support groups; powerful writings such as yours. Thank you for sharing this incredibly honest and brilliantly written piece. I am sorry for your tremendous loss of precious Rupert.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful son and your lives after his death. Your words speak for so many of us, even those of us who lost a child to other causes (my daughter, Aillidh, died from leukaemia, age 9, nearly 6 years ago).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for getting in touch, Leigh. I’m so sorry to read about the loss of your daughter (what a lovely name, by the way) – losing a child is the most appalling of bereavements (though I know it’s not a competition!) – the wrong order of things, the ruin of promise and a future denied. I hope you have had the love and support you need to keep moving forward, while of course never forgetting. Love to you and your family x

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      1. Thank you so much for your response. Her name is Scottish for ‘Helen’. It’s normally spelled Eilidh but I am American and my husband is Scottish, this is where we live, and when she was born a Canadian friend pointed out how her niece who had the traditional spelling in Canada was often called ‘eyelid’ so we went for a more Anglicised spelling. It is the most appalling of bereavements because it is the loss of not just their lives but also the future that they never got to have. There is no history when your child dies before you, it all just stops. It’s like hitting a wall at great speed and walking away with injuries no one can see but you and those who are there, too. It is a life tariff for us, for no crime. I, too, cannot look at videos of her speaking. Her younger sister, who is now 3 years older than she ever was, sounds so much like her, but of course, older. Your brilliant article is being shared among so many of us who walk this road and is a great comfort. Please know how much comfort your words bring to those of us who walk this path. I, too, am so grateful to TCF, they truly saved me and so many others.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Your analogy of the car crash is spot on. As is the phrase “life tariff for no crime”. I’m glad if I’ve brought any comfort but your words count too, and have really spoken to me tonight

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  17. thank you for sharing, a very sad and honest written account of what its like to be a bereaved parent. I too am a bereaved parent, a different journey i lost my 5 year old to an aggressive type of brain tumour and i wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone, its tough and like you there are times when i wish i’d never had him as the pain is so unbearable at times and his loss is immense. its nearly 2 years for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Tanya, that is heartbreaking to read. Of course his loss is immense. And wrong. And unfair. I do hope you’re getting some professional support and I wish you the means to find the way forward, even if it sometimes feels impossible or overwhelming. Small steps I guess. Love to you and your family x

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  18. Thank you for this powerful and extremely moving article. I’m so sorry for the loss of your Rupert. I lost my 11 year old son very suddenly also almost 10 years ago but not to suicide. I can relate to much of what you write about not wanting to live, the complex emotions, the difficulties of doing anything very much and maintaining relationships and the absurdities of other people’s reactions and hurtful comments.

    Like Sharon I have found wonderful support from The Compassionate Friends- http://www.tcf.org.uk – an organization of bereaved parents. Like your group we understand each other and they have been a complete lifeline for me. Even now 10 years later they are the only people who get that I’m not fine or back to the old me – but I’m coping most of the time and learning to live around the massive hole in my life which will always be there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for responding and sharing some of your story, Sue. Ultimately, I feel the loss of a child – no matter what the reason – is one of the worst experiences which can befall someone. I’m so glad you’ve found some meaningful support – it is absolutely crucial if society expects us to continue. Love to you and your family x

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  19. My daughter took her own life and we too went through the inane trite cliches and peop;e walking accross the oter side of the road or reversing down the Isle of a the supermarket lanes. The whole situation is a minefield and a death is a death and our children are missed and we hurt as much as the parents of a child who has died of cancer. Stop the stigma and develop empathy and compassion as that is what is needed! Thank you for writing this honest real piece of writing about your beautiful Rupert.

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    1. So sorry to hear about your daughter, Rona. A crushing loss. Absolutely agree with what you say about the out of date and deeply cruel stigma around suicide. I hope you are finding some hope and some reasons to keep going and that there is support for you, even if we can all agree that nothing can ever be made truly OK again. Sending love to you and your family x

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  20. Hey R & M
    Glad; (I first wrote happy, but that is a saying I cannot use freely like before) that you posted this so that we can still have a connection with you 💞. But more glad that you have been able to post this. Our first interaction with you was when M sent us a letter; handwritten and at length, but so poignant and helped us choose the John Hale pathway.
    I’m not sure we ever thanked M in person at ‘the club’, I hope she reads this and will know.
    Group was good … great (in context). We all wished that no-one would need to join our club.
    I have learned a few things, John was a Franciscan monk ?!? Who knew.
    Your pain was palpable when we first met. Awful that we had the reason to meet but grateful that we did. We have days now more often than not, when we wake up excited for the day. I hope that you enjoy that too. You have a grandchild – I look forward to that.
    My best wishes and much love to you R, M and R, who I never met but I hope will overcome the dreadfulness of suicide.
    You have managed to put into words a lot of our thoughts.
    Much love to you both and R.

    Please pass on our good wishes to John; without him we would have undoubtably fallen into the minority percentage of the couples bereaved of children.
    Pass our love to ‘the club’
    💙
    S and G x

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    1. Hi S and G,

      How very good to hear from you, and especially with what you’ve written, which means a lot. We do have days where we wake up with excitement/anticipation etc and we are grateful for every positive.
      Also, you are often in our thoughts. Perhaps because you were in the ‘club’ for a significant period- I think also because I so admired the way you, S, never stopped working to understand your own reactions, and to find the right ways to support your family. Your honesty was really valuable. You were also a brilliant mentor to others in the group. And I’ll always remember G telling of how frustrating he found it not to be able to easily put things into words – and the day he stopped his van to carve out E’s name. One of the most moving things I’ve ever heard.
      I also think of your guts in positively embracing a new start and a new life. I hope to have the same positivity and ‘fuck it, let’s just go for it’ attitude as and when it’s our turn to shake things up.
      Having a grand child has been the beginning of a new era and she is a total joy. I hope you have similar to come.
      I’ll certainly pass on your best wishes to one and all, esp John.
      With lots of love to you all from all of us xxx

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  21. I so get what you say . My daughter died four years ago . Most people think I’m fine but they don’t ask anyway . Thank you for saying how bereaved parents feel , it’s like being part of this club now where only those of us who have experienced this understand .

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    1. Horrible club to be in, isn’t it? I’m sorry to hear about your daughter. How can you be fine when you’ve lost a child? Coping maybe. Doing ok perhaps. But never fine. Love to you and your family x

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  22. I’m so, so sorry for the loss of your son, and your grief, and the trauma. My own daughter attempted suicide last year, and thankfully didn’t succeed. She once explained it to me this way, that the thoughts keep hammering away at her, and rationally she knows she doesn’t want to die, but she’s terrified that some day the rational side will lose. That “there are no words” is trite, and lazy, yes. So I will attempt in my clumsy way to express that from a world away, I want to wrap your family in love. Your words have so resonated, and I feel them deeply, and I promise you that I will aim to be a better friend to people, and to work harder to show up for people when they need it. And I will be forever more careful in the words I use to those who are grieving (while even I know that “a better place” is cruel and wrong). Love to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you; and I’m so glad your daughter pulled back from the brink. I realise you’ll be only too aware that she remains vulnerable BUT you are both aware and she can get support and help as and when she most needs them. Her life is precious. I’m sure you will strive to be empathetic and kind to those you meet in life who I promise will always notice and be grateful for your sensitivity. Love to you and your family x

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Your words are so gripping and intense. I’m not a reader. Even the shortest of prose fail to connect with me (a deep frustration of mine!). But your words, they clenched me and I didn’t stop for a minute. Wow! You are a seriously brave person to write such a powerful piece.
    As a mum, I cannot comprehend the absolute devastation your sons death has left upon your family. I understand grief, in an all familiar way, after losing my dad to cancer 2 years ago, and then my brother 6 months later. My brother died by denial. My brother had HIV, he never told a sole. He never sought medical help. He didn’t take any possible routes to extend his life in a potentially ‘normal’ way. To his last days in the hospital, he just said he had a ‘bad infection’ that was going to take a few weeks in hospital to sort. He died the next day. We discovered that he had instructed all medical staff not to discuss any of his ailments with any of us, his close family. He also instructed that we were not to be contacted. And he died alone in the middle of the night.
    After reading your words, In a way, it’s lead me to comprehend his death as suicide. I don’t wish to hurt you by saying this (I apologise if it does). I have gone through sadness and pain, anger and frustration. But now I feel it’s an emptiness, a waste. I miss both him and dad so massively.
    Your words are so poignant thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Someone I really respect once said, “Grief isn’t a competition” and although some bereavements are more natural and expected, they all hurt. And you’ve had really major ones to cope with. If only boys and men could start to accept its OK to not be OK, and to seek help. I hope that will change with time. I totally get what you mean by the implication of suicide in your brother’s actions. So you see, you haven’t hurt me, you’ve moved me by reaching out and sharing. Sending you love x

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  24. Oh my word I have cried reading your words. Remembering two of my four sons…my tiny twin Gareth….born with massive heart problems who somehow survived 7 months…..and my 3rd son……our precious boy, Matthew….killed by a reversing lorry when he was almost 8 years old. Time flies by and passes slowly all at the same time. Hope all our children are together and looking out for each other xxxx

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  25. Thank you For sharing this so honestly and so beautifully written. We lost our baby son four years ago in very different circumstances but the grief, rage and exhaustion you describe are so familiar to me too. The “new normal” and the energy-sapping need to face each day. We are finding a path too. Love to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry, Debbie. A baby is supposed to bring joy and a new beginning. What you have and are enduring is so tough and so unfair. Glad you are finding a path but it will never be easy or straightforward, will it? With love x

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  26. Lost our 43yr old son to sudden heart attack in February. He lived with us so his presence is sorely missed. So much of what you say about a parent losing a child is absolutely spot on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your son, Andrew. I once read the very wise remark that it doesn’t matter what age you lose a child, because it is the wrong order of things, the devastation is more intense them any other kind of bereavement. Love to you and your family x

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  27. Thank you for sharing this. I am so so sorry that Rupert died. Our daughter Muireann died 10 years ago when she fell into a looped blind cord, knocking herself out and was strangled. She was 2 years old, she was dead in 12 seconds. My son had followed her into the room. It has been hell, it still is. Every day is a fight just to survive. My husband, myself and both our oldest children now suffer with PTSD & depression. The grief never ceases, but as time goes on you get better at hiding it. At least until some small thing takes you back to that day. Sending you and your family my love and hoping we can all find peace. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Katie. Thank you for reaching out with your own desperately sad story. Muireann should not have died; how unfair for you and your family, and, of course, for her. It will never cease to amaze me how people find the will to continue but also are forced to ‘act’ and cover up how damaged they are because society isn’t comfortable with such constant, unremitting pain. I hope you have access to decent therapy. As I say in the piece, I think it certainly saved my life. Love to you and your family x

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  28. Thank you for writing this. I suffer from depression and paranoia and have made sux suicide attempts. Your words are deeply saddening. The pain you experienced cannot be named. It’s far too horrible and inhuman. But I can tell you each time I’ve been suicidal my pain has been unbearable. To keep on living felt like the man in greek mythology who had to roll a stone up a mountain only to see it roll back down. The weariness. The struggle. But your pain has touched me. I will remember this always. You are an honest and deeply courageous person. I won’t attempt to comfort you because nothing anyone says will comfort you. Be blessed. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for being so honest, Elisa. I can’t tell you how much I admire anyone who admits to suicidal feelings and tries to explain why they are so overwhelming. Society urgently needs to understand more and to be better at reaching out and supporting the vulnerable to survive. I’m so sorry about the pain you have to love with and I hope you have access to professional support to help you survive it and find a new future. Without that help, I know I wouldn’t have survived. With love x

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  29. Oh, your words; your pain, you describe this grief so well. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful son. I lost my sweet daughter, Shayne, almost five years ago, but I will never be “over it.” I miss her more and more with each passing day. She was 32, and died suddenly from a pulmonary embolism. The shock, the agony, the howling “why” of losing a child is so different than any other loss. I have longed with every ounce of my being to just be able to trade places with her. I would gladly give my life for her if I could — There is so much to experience in this world that she will never get to know. She was always the one who opened my eyes to the beauty all around me; dragging me out of the house just to look at the moon. Now all the beauty in the world is tainted; it seems so horribly unfair that she is missing it. I trudge on; I keep overly busy with work and appear to be a functioning human being. I find joy in the faces of my grandchildren, but I am constantly sick with worry that I will lose them, too. Life is so fragile and no one understands just how quickly it can be… gone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Robyn. Thank you for sharing some of your story and describing so vividly what the terrible loss of your daughter has meant for you. Shayne sounds so special; so often the child leads the parent, I think – and that can be wonderful. I do hope you have access to professional support. It saved my life. The pain never goes away and the anxiety you talk about can’t be avoided either, but there are good coping techniques and ways to channel these overwhelming feelings. Thank goodness for grandchildren too. Love to you and your family x

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  30. Thank you for sharing your story. You put into words the raw grief that a parent feels so perfectly. Me stepson died quite suddenly at 17, though not through deliberate actions he died due to negligent behaviour on his part. My heart has ached for the future he lost, the time he lost with his younger siblings and not just for him but those he left behind. Someone said to me two weeks after his funeral, “don’t you think it’s time you moved on?” but little did she know that it’s almost 20 years on and I can only just talk about him without getting teary eyed. Is that silly? Who was she to put a use by date on grief?
    I’m sending my love and best wishes to you and your family xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Helen, what a stupid and insensitive thing to say to you. People sometimes have so little empathy or imagination. 17 is so young. The loss of their future is certainly one of the hardest aspects of losing someone who, in the natural order of things, should outlive you. I hope maybe you’ve had access to some professional support. It was a lifesaver for me. Love to you and your family x

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  31. Eloquently put – and so relate-able, I have to confess I laughed out loud at points whilst reading your article. 8 years since my daughter died – and I still remember the Registrar’s glib comments about our 3 year old’s funeral. Silly cow.

    I think one of the enduring aspects of this sort of loss, once your survive the initial devastation, and after a few years recover some semblance of a will to live, is that you realise you’re so fucking weird now compared to all the people with no-dead-kids. I think bereaved parents learn to shut up a lot – partly because it stops the flow of “stupid advice” and hurtful comments, and partly because if you speak about it, society will punish you. It’s way over-invested in wanting us to move on – which usually means to behave like our children never existed 😦

    I’m so sorry about Rupert. It is impossibly cruel and tragic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My goodness you’re right about learning to shut up. But here’s the thing: lately I’ve decided to become a bit more militant around this. It is not OK that we should have to live in silence for the comfort of those unwilling to empathise or understand. Plus I strongly feel those in jobs dealing with the bereaved should be trained not to say such appalling and stupid things, or forfeit such work. The ‘system’ and social attitudes often add to the damage and despair. Thank you for commenting, Susan, and for your insights. Love to you and your family x

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  32. So much of this resonates. Our daughter took her own life 11 years ago and none of it will ever make sense and it does change us forever. It is a powerful, honest and helpful piece of writing thanks Lynn

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing that, Lynn. I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter; living with the unanswered question ‘why?’ is so tough. I hope you have love and good support available x

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  33. Thank you for sharing this. I found myself nodding along to so much of what you wrote. Although I never lost my daughter to suicide it still resonated with me so much as it reflected some of my own experiences since my daughter died.

    I’ve read a lot accounts from other bereaved parents since our daughter died, but none have come as close to this to describing my own feelings. It was a very emotional read.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Rob. I’m so sorry about the loss of your daughter; I think the world has a long way to go before we are kinder and more empathetic around bereavement, especially ones which challenge the ‘normal’ order of things. I hope you have the love and support you need to help cope with the life sentence you’ve been dealt x

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  34. I lost my son in a fire two years ago. I identified with a lot of the emotion you mention. My favourite bit is the one where you told your wife to stop crying and shut the fuck up. My husband is not my son’s dad so he would not have said that to me but I so get the emotion behind that and understand why your wife laughed. It is actually quite funny to imagine your friend’s shocked face. I also think that being able to discuss with each other how your would kill yourselves was very therapeutic. Most of us having those thoughts would not feel that liberty. I had suicidal thoughts for about half an hour. They suddenly came and I sat outside the dentist going through my list of everyone I knew and couldn’t think if anyone I could tell but knew I had to tell someone before they got worse. In the end I realised there was one person who could cope and we talked and the thoughts lost their hold. My son was often suicidal and tried to kill himself many times mostly by taking pills. He once tried to hang himself but the branch wasn’t high enough and someone passing by lifted him down. I freaked out when I found out he had texted my husband to tell him and my husband didn’t tell me for 3 hours because he thought Dan was attention seeking. When he told me I was so angry I shoved him and we ended up shoving each other across the room. I’ve never been so angry in all my life. Sadly Dan collapsed in his caravan while he was cooking breakfast and couldn’t turn the cooker off so the caravan exploded with him in it. I wished for a long time that I had gone round that morning and opened the door as the smoke was pouring out the roof vent and be blown to kingdom come with him. Still I am still here and still living my life without him. My plan on a good day is to live the best life I can and make a positive difference in my community. On a bad day I get under the covers with the dog and avoid the world. Love Rivka.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rivka. Thank you for reaching out and sharing some of your story too. Frequently it staggers me still what human beings are capable of surviving. You have experienced such extreme trauma. I can completely understand that sometimes you feel climbing under the covers. Animals can be true companions can’t they? They don’t judge or comment. I hope that, as time goes on, you have more good days, and that the positivity you seek to share in the community rewards you with some sense of worth and meaning. Sending love x

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      1. Thanks for taking the time to collect your thoughts and write this article. Many of your processeses resonated loudly with me. I lost my daughter in a horrific high profile car crash in South Africa , 3 years ago and on Monday after 11 agonising court cases , her killer was finally sentenced. As usual, I got many messages and wishes that now this chapter is over, things “WILL” surely get better. Well the reality is for the last 5 days , it seems that I have regressed to the point where on occassion, and despite having good quality therapy and learning certain coping mechanisms , I felt like I am going insane from the anguish and abject despair.. So, I bury myself in inane , mindless tasks and make my best attempts at getting back to the hordes of well wishers, and of course check Facebook frequently. So on Wednesday, when the intense deep longing and despair and sadness , became a physiological pain in the pit of my guts and was overwhelming, I somehow found your Blog. So vicariously, through associating with your journey, your ridiculous pain and then your complete honesty , interjected with humour, I have managed to calm the F&% down and am ok today, and now just getting on with this journey as best I can. So, thanks again, I have gained some strength from components of your article and am very appreciative of that. Wishing you some modicum of peace..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Gary. What an appalling tragedy. I’m so sorry that you lost your daughter, and that this trauma can only have been compounded by the legal process which followed. I’m appreciative of your kind comments about my blog; I just wanted to share some specifics and stop talking in vague terms (the ones most people find acceptable) about this most grievous of bereavements. I hope you can find some hope for a ‘new future’ and that the inevitabl days when you go right to the beginning will be less. Love to you and everyone for whom your daughter’s loss will have been such a life changing and shocking sentence of grief x

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  35. So deeply sorry for your loss, for me it was my husband, father to our 5 girls. Words do fail to come like on a note or letter, if never written and left behind. Allowing time to heal can’t take place when your need for survival is so great because there are 5 daughters needing to still have “a” parent. Still need to eat, not lose there home, school, and try not to mess up their future that lies ahead. There just isn’t and out or down time to recover on a personal level. RIP is almost the last thing you went to say to the person that passed. April of 2003 and still healing. Thank you for sharing your story so that my words could come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for getting in touch, and for your kind words; I think the key here is in what you say – “still healing” – it is not a process that can be taken for granted or that is inevitable, or that has a set time frame. I don’t believe that you ever totally heal either; how can you? But there is a way forward, if you have the right love and support, and you are willing to fight when you have to, and try to accept what is out of your control. I hope you can continue to find words x

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  36. Thankyou for sharing x it was so incredibly painful to read x from one stranger to another I send you and your family my heartfelt sympathy xx

    Liked by 1 person

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