I woke to shocking news.
A young man had taken his own life. He was 31. We had known him since he was two years old.
He once lived just across the street from us with his parents, his older sister and his younger brother.
Many times he played in our garden and came to birthday parties. He was just a few months older than our Frances.
He didn't find much success at school and ended up working in our local Co-operative supermarket. If I saw him down there we would invariably have a little chat.
There was always an aura of sadness about him. It was as if he was living a life that he didn't really want - a life that would hardly do. He also had Type 1 Diabetes.
Four years ago he got married with small celebration. I was pleased that he had found someone to love him and maybe his new wife would help him to build a happy, worthwhile life. Sadly, it didn't work out. Unemployed and unhappy he ended up back at his parents' house. He was always troubled somehow.
His parents are lovely people - kind, generous and understanding - always proud of their three children. They supported him, cared for him - even when he played computer games all night long and got up after midday. They cancelled holidays and stayed home, concerned about what might happen to him. He had threatened suicide before. They had paid for counselling services and he was often at his local health centre.
But yesterday it happened. The little blonde haired boy who played in our garden has gone away. The troubles and the pain that he found in this life have suddenly evaporated. His parents will be distraught, almost broken in two. Shirley is round at their house now, listening, giving comfort. It was a hanging but I don't know the full details of his death. That doesn't matter too much. He has gone and he is never coming back.
As with any suicide, you wonder what might have been done to avoid the taking of that terrible path. You wonder where it all went wrong and you recall that at times like these people will often say - he is at peace now.
It is all too common now it seems for people to take their own lives.ReplyDelete
Recently a nurse who my son worked with took herself up to the woods and overdosed, she was seen in the local shop just a few hours before this happened looking perfectly normal.
We never know what is in another person's mind do we? and having been depressed myself in the past I know that no matter what anyone says to you it makes no difference.
Life can be so cruel sometimes.
Somehow I find it hard to imagine you being depressed Briony. You usually come across as vivacious and bubbly. Yes life can indeed be cruel.Delete
How unutterably sad. That poor young lad to have lived such an unhappy life despite being surrounded by love and support. I cannot imagine how his parents must be coping at this moment. My condolences to you too Mr P as you are also obviously saddened by his death. As you say in your title, R.I.P young man.ReplyDelete
Thanks JayCee. We are reminded of our fragility and of how life in this wonderful world can all go so wrong.Delete
How very sad. We can never know what is in the mind of others. Be kind to yourself. xReplyDelete
Moments like these remind us that life is a precious gift to cherish.Delete
Disturbing and very sad, but most likely there is nothing you could have done to prevent it. Shirley must be a real brick. And you for supporting her.ReplyDelete
I know that there is nothing I could have done though I might have taken him on a long country walk to see the hills and the trees, the crumbling farm buildings and the sky. The surprising beauty outside ourselves. I could have shown him that and maybe we would have finished with pints of beer beside a roaring pub fire.Delete
That's so incredibly tragic. His poor parents will have to live with that for the rest of their lives. Condolences to all.ReplyDelete
And his brother and sister. The memory will keep coming back to them till the ending of their days.Delete
Someone very close to me has attempted suicide several times in his life - the first time when he was five, the last time I know of when he was about the age I am now, around 50. He is still alive and that last time seems to have been a turning point for him. I hope he will be around for many more years.ReplyDelete
It is indeed difficult - if not impossible - to know what one could do to help those who plan on suicide. It is made even more difficult by the fact that often, those who are serious about it, do not talk about it beforehand - they do not want to be found and rescued; in their case, it is not a cry for help and attention.
I can not even begin to imagine how terrible his parents must be feeling now, even knowing they did everything they could to prevent this.
I hope that man has left his anguish and that sense hopelessness firmly in the past.Delete
That's just too sad. Really- there are no words.ReplyDelete
I lost a friend to a hanging suicide. We absolutely cannot know the depths of someone's pain.
Life can be so beautiful and so horrible too.Delete
Depression is such a dangerous disease. It makes your brain lie to you and causes so much pain, enough pain that you just want the pain to stop.ReplyDelete
I'm so sorry for those parents. Losing a child is so painful and to have one commit suicide would be even worse. I hope they're able to understand one day that it wasn't them; their son was just tired of hurting so badly.
Inside themselves, I am sure they know that Lily but I am not sure that that knowledge helps very much.Delete
My mum committed suicide when I was 36. I've never got over it really. It's a feeling of abandonment. She chose to leave.ReplyDelete
She had suffered anxiety and depression all her adult life. Nothing helped. Pills, pills and more pills, electric shock treatment, talking therapy. Nothing worked.
I often wonder if she didn't want to did but couldn't live the life she had.
Poor young man and his family. My heart goes out to them.
I an so sorry that your mother died in such circumstances Christina. You have a special understanding of what this young man's parents will face in the years ahead...that feeling of abandonment.Delete
This is the thing all of us fear who have a loved one with depression -- that one day the pain will be so unbearable there just has to be an end to it. The brain is a miraculous organ but until we understand it better it can also be a treacherous one.ReplyDelete
I am sorry for the family's loss, and your own.
Thanks for your typically thoughtful comment Jenny.Delete
Suicides are deaths that are very hard to come to terms with. You give a good story of his life. Family and support groups were aware of the problems he faced and still as you say it was not enough.ReplyDelete
Everyone was there for him. That makes it all even more sad. I don't know how his eighty five year old grandmother will be handling the news.Delete
I am sorry to hear of this loss. It is quite difficult, if not impossible to come to terms with such a loss. I have seen these situations up close on several occasions and it leaves a painful hole in your heart. I send my condolences to you and the ones affected.ReplyDelete
His self-chosen death affronts us all...but especially his family and his estranged wife. He hanged himself outside her house. Why did he want to leave her with such a terrible memory of him?Delete
How awful and how sad. It would do the family good to consider counseling of some sort.Delete
You are probably right Bonnie. This is a hell of a trauma to cope with.Delete
For many years this was my greatest fear when one of my daughters struggled with anxiety and depression. That despite all our best efforts she would take that decision to end her pain that way. The times when life seems too bleak to carry on, the loss of hope for the future, the feelings of worthlessness, of being unlovable, the lack of friends and fulfilment when everyone else seems to have life sorted.ReplyDelete
Faith, Hope and Love are the 3 great gifts. We all need a sense of our place in the world, to know that we matter, to give and receive love, to have hope for the future. We've spent countless hours listening and thousands of $$$$ on travel when she lived in Melbourne, trying to counter that depression and give her some purpose to go on.
Somehow over the last 2 years my daughter at 35 has turned a corner. A stable job, a cat to love and care for, a small home of her own and now a potential life partner. I have never seen her so happy and I hope and pray that it lasts.
My heart goes out to that poor family in their loss and to you and Shirley too as you work through the days ahead.
Thank you for sharing that private information about your daughter... now I am also rooting for her. Sometimes life balances upon a pin. We can fall one way or the other.Delete
When some people are physically ill and die we often sayReplyDelete
" they battled their cancer and lost that battle"
When some people ( some) are suicidal
It is often that final loss
After a long long battle xx
That is so true. The young man I referred to had a lifelong battle for self-esteem.Delete
Mental illness is such a hard process. Add to that the diabetes and it is a recipe for an unendingly hard, confusing life full of pain and aloneness, in many cases. In that young man's mind, it only took a moment for the pain to stop. I am saddened that he did not discover some joy before his decision yesterday.ReplyDelete
I feel sorry for the young woman who once loved him and married him. She tried her best to make it work but ran out of energy and emotional resources.Delete
How very sad...the young man is now at peace...but those he left behind to grieve never will be. Their sadness is bottomless...never-ending. So very, very sad...ReplyDelete
They didn't deserve that legacy.Delete
The idea that we can't stop a suicide is true in some ways, if a person is really decided there's nothing that can be done but asking direct questions can help:are you really OK? are you thinking of suicide? Do you have a plan?ReplyDelete
We tend to feel that just saying the word is like giving permission but it doesn't work that way and clarity helps
I'm sorry for the loss of such a young man and for the pain rippling out. It goes such a long way
Maybe such endings are inevitable for some troubled people. Perhaps there's no stopping it - no matter what you say or do.Delete
Yes, I agree. But we all should know what we CAN doDelete
You are right and I believe that everything that could be done was done for him.Delete
A parting leaf to a tree:-ReplyDelete
Thank you Philip. I visited your blopost and it made me ponder.Delete
Such a shame. Having battled depression myself I know it's not so easy to get yourself out of, kind of like being in a dark hole mentally.ReplyDelete
I hope you are living happily now Amy and able to look back upon that dark time in your life.Delete
A very sad story!ReplyDelete
My middle son lost 2 friends to suicide within 18 months of each other when they were in their late teens. Both hangings, out of the blue ...(.one of them in his bedroom and his mother found him ! )Both had a wide circle of good friends and supportive parents..
It seems to be mostly young men. Troubled young women are more likely to make unsuccessful attempts - failed overdoses etc..Delete
It is the abrupt ending of a young life that is so sad. We had a similar happening a few months back when a young man hanged himself. It was close to us and such a shock. His grave is just outside the side window and because we overlook it I can see the visitors and flowers that so many bring. His granny tidies the dead flowers and someone comes and mows the grass each week. He is much loved as your young man was.ReplyDelete
You are literally very close to the repercussions of suicide Thelma. It's those left behind that bear the weight.Delete
Oh, gosh. How terrible. The causes of suicide are never simple. I wonder if staying up all night playing computer games helped fuel the fatigue that left him unable to prosper more in daily life, or if that was simply a symptom of some deeper distress. In any case, it's so sad and I hope his family can eventually find some peace.ReplyDelete
(I don't mean to sound like I'm blaming computer games. I realize there was a lot more going on.)Delete
But it's not a healthy thing to do and it's antisocial and many of those games involve zapping and killing others instead of cherishing life.Delete
So sad and so sorry, especially as you knew the man. I recall our GP looking very distant and distracted the last time I saw him, before he hanged himself. I wish now I had commented and asked him how he was. Apparently it came out in the local papers that his wife was having an affair. It is sad that some people's lives are so wretched they are driven to that.ReplyDelete
How shocking that a man who cared for others had no one to care for him in the end.Delete