It’s World Suicide Prevention Day today. Words that are hard to write, and hard to say. They’re hard because 14 years ago (that’s half of my life) my best friend, my beautiful mum, ended her life. I among many others am one of those who are left behind trying to navigate the devastating grief that comes with being bereaved in this way. I believe my mum could have lived. With the right support and care perhaps she would still be here. The smile from ear to ear still glistening strong and lighting up the room. The joyful face making heads turn.
Being suicidal doesn’t have an image that comes with it to give those around a heads up. There are often signs to look out for but sometimes there aren’t and this can be exceptionally hard for those left behind and without answers. I believe my mum still could have been here. Her life could have been saved. We, her family, miss her so much. I’m not alone. There are many families left with this pain and grief that is so complex and difficult to try to process, seemingly impossible to understand. The endless questions, the ‘what if’s’ the ‘but why's’.
There is a lot more work going on now looking into suicide prevention but there is still work to do around the stigma. It is not attention seeking. It’s more common than people may realise to have suicidal thoughts. Lives can be saved. These are people like you and me, with loved ones, families, friends, futures ahead of them cut short. Unfortunately, the stigma around suicide can sometimes extend on to those who are bereaved by it. Some people may refrain from asking those grieving about the person because of how they died. It’s still a taboo. You never know what someone is going through. Some may tell you how they are feeling whereas some may keep it all in feeling trapped in their pain. It’s okay to ask someone directly about suicide. To show you’re listening. To show you care and you’re taking that person seriously. You never know, you could save a life.
This may just be one day out of a year where we raise awareness of suicide, but it’s every day that those left behind are missing a part of their hearts and wishing that their loved one could still be with them. Special occasions can be particularly hard. Getting married recently without my mum by my side throughout the planning and day was heart breaking, but she was there through her favourite flower in all the decorations and mentioned in almost every speech. My mum lives on through me and I will never stop campaigning for suicide awareness, prevention and bereavement support in her legacy.