Grief at what her son is missing

Family never knew he was struggling

MEGAN MILLER
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2012
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax Media NZ

Louise Terry talks about her son, Jeremy Terry, who committed suicide in 1997 at age 18.

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When Louise Terry thinks of her son, Jeremy, she thinks of all the things he gave up the day he took his own life.

"The thing that breaks my heart is, I'll never see him get married. I'll never see him have grandchildren," the 54-year-old Timaru woman said. "And he would have been a lovely, lovely uncle, but he'll never see his little nieces and nephews."

"There's all these things going on in our lives, that he'll never know about."

Jeremy Terry was 18 when he committed suicide in 1997. They were living in Southland at the time. He was working on a dairy farm and lived about 30 minutes from her home.

He'd just been through a relationship breakup, Louise said. But he never indicated to her that he was struggling with that or with anything else.

"I think he was just a private person, and he didn't want to admit that there was anything wrong," she said.

The photo she keeps of him, taken at age 15, is framed with dried flowers kept from his funeral service.

The funeral was, in some ways, the most difficult part, she said.

"That is the day you really, really have to deal with it," she said. "You have to say goodbye."

In happier times, Jeremy was "just a loon" she said, laughing. He'd often be silly and would "make up stupid songs."

"He'd been a bit of a scallywag when he was younger," she said, "but he was coming into his maturity."

Louise and her husband have since separated. She moved to Timaru a few months ago to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren.

Her daughter, Jeremy's only sibling, was devastated by his death, Louise said.

They've learned to deal with it, "because you can't do anything else," she said. But a suicide leaves questions for a family that no-one can ever really answer.

"Even if they leave a note, nobody will ever know why. Not really," she said.

Her message to others who are dealing with depression and mental health issues: talk about it with someone. "If you've got problems, for goodness sake, talk it over with your mum or your dad ... Just tell somebody," she said.

"Tell them how you feel. Because it's not worth it."

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- The Timaru Herald

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