The day Jamie died the police gave me a book, they said it contained the numbers of charities and organisations that deal with people and families that have been bereaved by suicide. And as soon as I was ready or needed them to contact them and they would be there. Not one of those numbers knew how to turn back time, bring someone back from the dead, or give me my Jamie back…so I didn’t need their help, they couldn’t help me, not in the way I wanted, so the book was put to one side in the house and I didn’t even open it.
I had experience of how a family and children cope and deal with bereavement by suicide in the past, I knew that with a child you only ever tell them the answer to the question they ask, you don’t over load them with information and details they didn’t ask for as they aren’t ready, when they are ready they will ask, its as simple as that. And in cases of any death you are best to be honest. I find people are very scared to tell a child that someone has died by suicide as they think it then puts that idea in their head and obviously a parent wants to protect their child. And, if I’m honest, personally, I feel like I’m bursting a bubble…children know firstly people die because they are old, they they learn of accidents usually while teaching them about crossing the road, then they can learn of sickness depending on what happens to people in their families and close friends. But telling a child that you can choose to end your own life, that its not age, an accident and you are not ill (I am not including mental health here as that is an illness that takes peoples lives as they aren’t themselves) it can feel like you are taking away part of a child’s innocence. Bits of the world we hide from them to make it seem like a wonderful place.
But, when it comes to that question of how did they die, why did they die, its always best to be honest, in my opinion, as to lie will only create an issue in the future. If the child is very young and the person who took their life had confirmed mental health issues it isn’t a lie to say they were ill and the illness took their life. But when you know they didn’t and instead they were scared into a decision the truth has to be the truth, when its all over the papers, when the police are involved and that the inquest will be reported on it is better to be honest. That’s how I was planning to be when William was ready to ask, it would be hard and it would be upsetting but it’s the truth and he could even now simply google his brothers name on his tablet or at school and if I have lied to him that trust we have is broken. But he didn’t ask, September, October, November and still he didn’t ask. And I knew this wasn’t right.
It took till the 20th of October for William to leave my mum and dads and come home, but he only came home if he could sleep in my bed with me, which he still does. He won’t go to bed without me so I have to get into bed at 7.30pm with him, he moves about a lot in his sleep which causes me a lot of pain as my body is very sensitive to touch…and at that time I was still not taking my medication so it was incredible pain which meant I was barely sleeping adding the nightmares and the thoughts in my own head. So I began asking for help, really to start with for William, as with all the things I could distract myself with, the funeral, the police, the inquest, I could ignore my feelings and sit in the big black hole with my pretend smile plastered on my face.
On opening the book there were names I recognised from the last time I had needed support for a child going through loss by suicide, but we lived in a different place. Winstons Wish had been brilliant, so I emailed them…I was asked for my address so they could check if they offered help in the area, a week or so later a booklet arrived with the same ideas as they had before, a memory box, a coloured sand jar, all things I had already done. But that was it, no information on where they meet or where I could take him, I contacted them again and was told they don’t cover my area…no option to travel just a no. I had already done things with William to help him, like I thought to myself if I want to see a picture of Jamie I just pick up my phone and look, William would have to ask someone, and I thought that would mean then maybe he would want to and not ask. So I went to the local supermarket to find one of those print out your photo boxes, first one was out of order, next supermarket the colour was out, the next had removed theres, finally I am now in Brighouse and printing out every picture one my phone of Jamie, £87 later and I had them all in an album and gave them to Willis. It hangs about the house and its there whenever he needs…not an idea I was given, but one any of you are welcome to share.
I contacted number after number, charity after charity and I got we are full, there’s no one in that position, we are rechecking the numbers and may employ someone new after Feb (this was November), we don’t cover your area. Eventually I was having to admit that I was struggling, like really struggling. I didn’t want to feel this pain anymore, I didn’t want to keep waking up to the same feeling, it was getting worse never better. No matter what people said, oh you have to carry on think about William, they only made me feel worse adding a guilt onto how I felt because I didn’t care about anyone else, or carrying on for anyone else. I felt like I was on fire and no one was helping me put out the flames but instead were just telling me I had to remain on fire. I was being kept alive by guilt. I don’t believe in any religion really and to be honest that is a good thing, with how I felt if I believed that Jamie was now in a ‘place’ then I would be there too, I just want to be with him.
The emails that I sent out were becoming more and more honest, every no I got back spiralled me downwards even more. I was literally writing that I was wanting to join Jamie and still the cold replies I received didn’t offer any other option or any other possible channels of help. How could I now face Williams questions if they came with how I was feeling. The most shocking I feel was an email I sent to a local Kirklees group in November and they replied to me in January, with no real explanation of why it had taken so long and obviously another no, I replied that day asking why it had taken so long and it was a good job I hadn’t been sitting waiting for their reply or I wouldn’t be here to read it and I still haven’t had that reply either.
A friend offered to pay for counselling for me as I have said money is not something I have to spare, but the only group was a christian group and I felt with how I feel religiously that I would either offend them or them me and I would have hated both…I also hated the idea of taking money from my friend…proud and independent to a fault some would say.
After contacting so many organisations I think it was becoming noted that there was a massive gap and on one visit from DI Bacon he was appalled that the books they were giving out for help were actually useless in this area and he said he would be contacting them to get explanations and removing them from the book if they couldn’t offer the help.
Then I was contacted by DI Bacon with a number of numbers but all in Leeds or Oldham so I would have to travel…we have our own Child Mental Health centre here there’s no need, but still I heard nothing from them. I was finally, as my emails became extremely desperate and honest about my thoughts, was told to go to my GP as she would be able to ‘refer me’. So on the 20th of November my GP listened to what I was saying, how I wouldn’t be able to live though Christmas without Jamie as I couldn’t bare any more pain and things were only feeling worse and she contacted the Crisis Team. Before that she had asked if I would be willing to go into hospital for a time but I hate hospitals I’m there far too much already so I refused, I told her about what the woman had said about referring me and my GP asked what to? I said to be honest I dont know, I showed her the email and she was as confused as me…to the point she rang the woman who had sent me the email and asked her directly what was it she was meant to refer to? Was there something she was missing that she could access for me…the woman didn’t have an answer, she clearly didn’t expect the GP to ring and call her out on her bullshit email just fobbing me off and passing me on to someone else…my email had told her how I was thinking of ending my life and yet still she replied with a lie and passing me on to someone else. With my friends by my side I was honest, I hated upsetting them having to listen to what I was saying, but I knew I had to be honest or I would end up taking my own life too. I was desperate not to feel this anymore, I didn’t want to pass this pain onto my family but I also couldn’t carry it anymore. I was given medication to try calm my thoughts and I stayed with a friend.
The Crisis Team came to see me everyday and that helped in a way as I could just focus on the next visit, I didn’t have to think about life, Christmas, New Year, his birthday, life without him, it was just 24 hours away, just think about the next 24 hours. That week my money changed. Just what I needed. My mum and dad covered my bills while I couldn’t think, while I needed not to think. Telling them how bad I had started to feel was heartbreaking too, I hated it, telling people you love and that love you that they don’t feel enough to balance this pain you have to live with. Everything was making me feel worse.
The Crisis Team at Folly Hall were the best they could have been for me, they started to see that I was going from horrific grief to depression too, I wasn’t taking care of myself, I couldn’t take care of myself…I couldn’t care less to be honest. So anti depressants were added to the medication.
I don’t know who it was or why it was but a group that meets in Leeds branched off one of their staff members, Beverley, she is wonderful, and set up a meeting the second Thursday of every month starting in December, it couldn’t have been timed better. I went to the group and there were a few others, the group, who goes and what is said is completely confidential and I don’t plan on breaking that trust in anyway. After the second meeting Beverley pulled me to one side, again with the things I had been saying she could see I wasn’t in a good place and said they could offer me one to ones I would just have to apply though their website. I went to my first one to one yesterday (Monday 24th February), what is scaring me already is there’s only funding for people to have seven sessions…how am I meant to be ok and handling this in just seven hours?? Why isn’t there more funding for things like this in this area?? Nearly every other day there’s a death or something horrific happen in this area, it’s densely populated, it has some of the roughest areas, some of the harshest crime, its not like help isn’t needed.
And still…I wait to hear back from the Child Mental Health centre that are to help William, who still won’t talk, ask any questions and whos only concern so far has been that he doesn’t want to die too.