Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and as somebody who will always be a person left behind it's a day that's very important to me. I wasn't able to prevent Simon's suicide and I'll never know if I could have helped because he never reached out to me. Would he have heard my words anyway? Really heard them? I know from his suicide note that he couldn't bear the pain any longer and that he was afraid of living more than he feared dying. He wanted peace.
I wish I could have told him that if he could just hang on then it would get better. And I wish he could have seen himself as I saw him. I think he felt a failure, he was addicted to heroin and had a prison record. I saw much more than that though. He was so gentle, so softly spoken and kind. After he died his friends told me how he always had time to listen to their problems. I loved seeing him around animals, he lit up in their presence. My daughters loved him too, he wasn't around much sadly - too busy battling his demons - but when he did visit they had so much fun. He would have made a wonderful dad had things been different. I have such special memories too, I was the eldest and he made me a sister. I had (I hate that I have to use the past tense here) two brothers and don't remember ever wishing I had another sister. We had so much fun growing up. Arguments and fights too of course, Simon was the hot headed one out of us and my other brother Robin loved to tease him, but we were so close in age (only three and a half years between oldest and youngest) and we played with each other often. I particularly recall the volcano game we invented in our back garden that we played for weeks, it was an obstacle course we set up really but we pretended we were in the depths of a volcano.
I remember too how he hated it when Rob called him Mavis and yet made us cry with laughter when he put on one of my dresses, it was just so unlike him. Or perhaps it wasn't as he also dressed up as "Gypsy Siz" for a school fete when he sat in a caravan and told fortunes! We had a shared love of Monty Python so perhaps a bit of cross-dressing is inevitable...
I recall waving him off at the train station when he was leaving to go travelling around Europe with his girlfriend, choking back the tears as he left...maybe I should have let him see those tears?
We weren't really affectionate with each other, not like I am with Rob. I wish I had been now, I think he knew I loved him but I wish I'd told him every time I saw him.
So today, on International Suicide Prevention Day, if you are feeling suicidal, this is my message to you; I care and other people care too. We may be a bit rubbish at reminding you of that sometimes, perhaps we're guilty of assuming you know it. You may feel you are a failure but you are loved, believe in that and wait. Wait until the darkness starts to lift, because it will.
Nobody should have to die alone, the thought that Simon's last moments were about as lonely as you can be tears me up. Nobody should die alone, please just wait.
If you are despairing and considering suicide you can find global crisis centres here; http://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
If you are suffering the bereavement of a loved one through suicide there are resources here;http://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/