I had a cracker of a weekend up until yesterday morning. I woke up feeling like a small truck had hit me (I think it was a jelly truck) but it was self induced so no point complaining. Then mid morning I noticed a missed phone call on my phone from my eldest son’s father.
This is always an indication of bad news, so I think my heart momentarily stopped as I dialled the number. My relief that nothing was wrong with my son was quickly replaced with dismay when I realised the reason for the call. My ex-partner had just learnt that his brother (my son’s uncle) had committed suicide and he wanted me to be there to tell my son.Twenty three years ago his brother was a big part of my life, if we had of stayed together he still would have been. The drive back to Adelaide was not the stress free result of a relaxed weekend that I had anticipated. Instead it was a long, gut churning drive home knowing what I had to do when I got there.
How do you tell a loved one that a family member has died, especially under the circumstances. It’s a conversation that I never, ever want to have again. The numb disbelief and shock on my son’s face will stay with me forever.It did bring about a frank conversation with my son about not trying to understand the reasons for it and that I never wanted anyone I loved to feel that alone that they couldn’t talk to someone or ask for help.
It is a taboo subject, it’s one that’s usually only discussed in hush-hush tones. A friend of ours died several weeks ago and it was shocking and sudden, but a heart attack is an ‘acceptable’ way to die. In this case though, all anyone can murmur is ‘but he seemed okay’. Both of them were the same age with young children. Too soon and way too young for either of them to go.Could anyone have done anything different, possibly not and there's nothing to be gained by people beating themselves up over what they could have done or should have done. Perhaps though, if mental illness and depression and suicide weren’t such taboo subjects then meaningless deaths wouldn’t happen as often because people might feel more able to reach out for help.
Perhaps even after telling my son not to over think it and to stop trying to understand it, that is exactly what I am trying to do myself.Hold your loved ones close people and tell them that you love them as often as you can.