'The 'why' will haunt us forever'
Let's talk about suicide
One year ago today my beautiful, kind and treasured only child, Craig, took his own life.
It was totally unexpected. No one knew that Craig was struggling with his life.
My husband John and I had only the night before celebrated his 21st birthday with his closest friends. Much fun and laughter and stories were shared that night and when we said goodnight to him we never ever thought that he was contemplating such a thought, to end his own life.
I remember, after being told that Craig was dead, feeling a sense of total disbelief and raw physical pain. I couldn't comprehend how this could be true. I had seen and spoken with Craig two hours before.
I kept hoping with all my heart that someone had made a mistake and it wasn't my handsome, loving son, who had so much to live for and so many close friends and a family who loved him so much. Craig had many hopes and dreams for the future.
Nothing can prepare you for such a tragic and devastating loss. The days that followed were like a blur, no sleep, total confusion and so many people and decisions to deal with. Decisions that I had never thought about having to make. All I wanted was for my son to wake up or to be told that it wasn't Craig after all. Sadly, when Craig was returned to us after three days I realised it was true.
We are a very close family and Craig had recently returned from working for a mining company near Darwin. Even though Craig flatted with his close friends we saw him every day and had no reason to think that all was not as it seemed with his life. He was practical, kind and articulate and had always shared his feelings and worries with us.
The shock was and still is very hard to understand and accept. He had so much to give and so much living to look forward to. The "why" is something that will haunt and confuse us forever.
The effect on our community has been enormous. Many, many people came and expressed their shock and grief to us. We never knew just how many friends and people's lives Craig had been a part of until this devastating event.
One year on I still have many days and moments when I still don't believe or understand how or why Craig made this decision. I know that without the constant help and support from family, police and our amazing funeral director, Janice from Affinity Funerals, I would not be surviving or coping in any way. The peer support that I have had from CASPER has been amazing and very valuable.
The pain and enormity of loss is no less than on day one. Somehow, someway I know we have to carry on. Many days it takes all my strength both physically and emotionally to get through.
My reason for publicly sharing this very tragic and personal loss is because I have spoken with many other families bereaved by suicide and I believe that unless we start talking, supporting and educating our communities about this very common occurrence nothing will change.
As communities we need to work together to help prevent this alarming trend that happens so often.
Any suicide prevention initiatives are welcome. We need to empower, educate and let it be known that it is OK to ask for help.
No one can tell you what it really feels like to lose your child, only those who have walked through a similar journey can understand. I want no other family to go have to go through this.
My life is not and never will be the same. The things that once mattered are no longer important. The pain of loss is ever present.
Please love, help and support each other.
People in crisis or concerned about someone who may be in crisis can call these confidential helplines:
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