Thursday, 18th May 2006.
I felt irritable all day. Gary asked me numerous times what was wrong, but I didn’t know. I can’t remember what we did, but we spent the day walking in the sunshine – I do know that. That evening, my stomach kept churning over. I felt uneasy.
At 11.30pm there was a phone call on my mobile. I was half asleep and couldn’t find the phone, so missed the call. Two minutes later, the phone rang again. I instinctively knew that something was wrong.
Daniel’s voice was calm, he spoke slowly. He told me that he had arrived home from work at 4.45pm, but Barry wasn’t at home. However, his backpack and wallet were on the table. This was uncharacteristic of Barry. Daniel told me that the back door was unlocked and left open. Again, this was not usual behaviour.
Daniel went on to tell me that he had tried to phone Barry’s mobile at least a dozen times, but there was no answer. At first, he thought he was over at the shops with his mates, but another phone call to one of them proved that incorrect. Daniel was worried, but he figured that Barry must have met up with another friend and would be home late. Perhaps his phone was on silent and he wasn’t hearing the phone calls.
Daniel said that he had to go to bed because he was going to work the next day (Friday) and he felt tired. However, he felt uncomfortable going to bed without knowing where Barry was. Sitting out the front, on the veranda, the people from across the road invited him over. Daniel thought this was a good idea. He locked up the house, but had to leave through the back door because he didn’t have a key to the front door. It was then that he saw it.
The garage light was on.
Daniel calmly told me that he walked towards the little window and stood there looking at Barry. He said that he couldn’t understand what Barry was doing, why he was just standing there. He called out, “Barry, what are you doing?”
Daniel ran to the garage door and threw it up. It was at this stage that he realised that Barry wasn’t standing, he was hanging.
I didn’t hear anything after this. I remember screaming “No” into the phone and collapsing to the ground. Gary took the phone from me and talked to Daniel for a little longer. He also spoke to a police officer.
Meanwhile, I was distraught, shaking and my mind was running at a thousand miles an hour, but a glimmer of hope awakened inside me and I grabbed the phone and asked, “He’s going to be alright though, isn’t he?”
“Mum, he has been hanging there for hours. He’s gone,” replied Daniel.
“Gone to the hospital?” My mind wouldn’t accept the truth.
“No, he’s dead.”
This was the worst moment of my life. I never expected to hear these words uttered about one of my sons. How could it be true? He was 18 years old. He had the world ahead of him. Now, he was gone forever.
By 12.15am, we had packed everything into the car and left the resort. By 12.30am, we had left the coastal town and were on the highway heading home. It was the longest five hour drive I’ve ever had to endure.
Click here to go to Part 6: Those First Hours