Father shocked by son's death
The world shrunk for a Timaru father when his son committed suicide two years ago today.
Matt McCook-Weir had "no inkling" his 23-year-old son Christopher was contemplating ending his life.
"At the beginning it seemed cruel that the world kept turning, but it did," he said.
Today as Mr McCook-Weir marks the second anniversary of Christopher's death, he feels strong enough to talk publicly about the tragedy in the hope he can prevent it happening to someone else's child.
In hindsight, he can see the big picture of the pressure his son was under, but not at the time.
"Listen and don't be so busy," is his message to others, particularly at this time of year.
After the funeral, when all the friends and wider family who had been supportive returned to their lives, the grieving father said he felt desolate.
It was his partner, his other young son who was a baby at the time, his daughter and grandchild, who helped get him through.
He recalls Christopher being an outgoing child. When he took him to the Jet Sprints at Brassells Bridge once, he lost the 7-year-old.
"The next thing, there he was sitting on the tractor which was pulling the boats out of the water. He was not shy."
Like most parents, he was very proud of his boy who went on to be a truck driver. He took pride in his Volvo, keeping it clean and shiny.
"I would do anything to reverse [losing Christopher] but I can't."
Broken relationships had taken their toll on Christopher, but he had not even told his best friend how he was feeling.
"I don't blame anyone, it was just contributing to the pressure," Mr McCook-Weir said.
Because Christopher was living in Christchurch, Mr McCook-Weir did not see the change in his moods, though he did see him the week before he killed himself.
"Young people need to know that they may get these [suicidal] thoughts and they need to talk to someone, not necessarily their parents or close friends. Parents should perhaps ring their children who have left home, once a week."
Mr McCook-Weir said it was important for people to be aware of others, especially if their behaviour changed, whether they were colleagues, friends or children.
"Don't stop looking after each other."
Christopher had made an effort to visit his friends and clear out his truck before he died but no one picked it up as an indicator that there was a problem.
"Suicide is like throwing a stone into a pond. The ripples affect so many people.
"They only see an end of pain for themselves. If they saw the hurt and confusion it caused, I'm sure they wouldn't do it."
- © Fairfax NZ News