Jane’s ChangeMaker Story

My story by Jane Garrett

June 21st 2015 Father’s Day.  A beautiful sunny day full of promise.  Old friends arrive for lunch.  We eat good food and drink wine.

‘How’s your brother?’ she asks.

I snort derisively and reply that if you haven’t heard from Si you know that he is ok.

That evening I lie in bed relaxing with a good book feeling content and reflecting on a day spent well when there is a pounding at the door.  I hear it again and the shout ‘police, police’.   As I wrap a dressing gown around I feel no sense of foreboding; more a curiosity until they ask me to sit down and utter the words;

‘A deceased male has been found of the name …’

My brother.  He had died from suicide that morning.  I immediately begin to shake and then go into a calm state of shock for a few days.

Suicide is shocking.  It reaches into the depths of your soul and drags out previous trauma and losses which you misguidedly thought you had overcome, then tosses you reeling into the abyss; despair, terror, guilt and shame.

Suicide grief is like no other

Both my parents died prematurely of cancer but THIS, the ‘luxury’ of just being able to miss them is surpassed by a tsunami of emotions – self-loathing, blame, ANGER, abandonment…

I read about others who had honoured their loved ones who took their lives by setting up a charity in their name, rowing across the Atlantic.  Unfortunately the mere act of surviving and then living has taken up my energy and Grassroots has given me the opportunity to feel that I am doing something.

I had just qualified as a Creative Arts Therapist before Si died. And although I don’t practice as I feel too much a work in progress myself, I can offer advice from a therapeutic stance and also a personal one.  My brother’s suicide left me feeling suicidal too.  I have endured the agony of living and come through when I thought that I could not bear to go on despite my beautiful family.

I do not shy away about talking about suicide and will never turn my back on a human’s suffering.  If I can make a difference to one person’s life then that’s good enough for me.  Thank you Grassroots for campaigning to end this stigma which is deeply personal to me.


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