“The sad thing is, Kirkup said, Suicide doesn't end the pain. It just passes it on to someone else." Kim Kirkup
Halloween was one of my favorite nights of the year, the dressing up, the sweets, calving the pumpkin, filling the house with spooky decorations. Only this year it felt different, we sat and ate in silence; there was heaviness in the air. The rain lashed down and wind rattled the windows with what felt like great intent. My dad was unwell again. He had finally picked up the phone that afternoon and we were going to see him the next morning to try and help. We wanted to go that night but we couldn’t get there. The weather had caused havoc on the roads and train lines so it was not physically possible to reach him. We were going to leave early the next morning, when things were calmer. I thought it would be ok.
My mum’s alarm went off the next morning, I have never heard a noise like it, before or since, it was piercingly loud. It woke us both up and alerted us to the ringing phone, it was 6am. My mum went to answer the phone, I drifted back into a semiconscious state. Then mum reappeared “Dad’s dead” she said, “What?” I replied, praying I had misheard, she repeated herself again “Dad’s dead”.
It felt so surreal and I felt emotionally detached from the situation. I was numb. In the car on the way to my aunt and uncles house all I remember thinking is that I’m never going to see my dad again. My thoughts were racing out of control. I couldn’t get my head around the fact he had chosen to die, he wouldn’t do that to us.
I didn’t eat and barely slept for days afterwards, any sleep I did get was broken when I would wake in a state of panic, drenched in sweat, heart racing and emotional exhaustion.
Grief is a strange thing. Unless you have lost someone close it is so hard to understand, the pain just doesn’t go away after the funeral, that is not the end now you have formally said goodbye. In fact for me, it was barely the beginning. It was the first time it felt real, seeing the coffin, after being in limbo waiting for the coroner to release the body due to there being an inquest.
Friends and family inquire how you are for a couple of months but things go back to normal for them. I felt like I had a black cloud surrounding me, no matter which way I looked I couldn’t see clearly.
It was suggested that I seek counselling after a year of crying myself to sleep. I was 15 and terrified of what it would involve. It turned out to be one of the best experiences I have ever had and I will be forever grateful for his help. He provided a safe secure space where I could just offload and try and make sense of everything.
The grief doesn’t go away it just evolves. I still feel pangs of jealousy, even now, when friends talk about their dads or family life. It will be 17 years this year. I regret the fact that my dad and I never got to have a conversation as adults, our interactions were often clouded by my teenage angst and his mental unrest.
He left me a note filled with good advice and heart-breaking words. I hate that his illness stole him from us. I still miss him more than I can put into words. I am not angry with him anymore. I feel so sad that he felt suicide was the only option he had to escape his demons. I wish that he could have held on just one more night, and I could have had the chance to tell him it would be ok.
For updates from this student Counsellor blogging about her struggle with anxiety, depression and trying to balance work, training, family and her mental health, you can take a look at the whatisonmymind blog or follow on Twitter here