The Worst Moment of My Life

Part 5

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


4 thoughts on “The Worst Moment of My Life

  1. shannon 24 July 2006 / 3:49 am

    I have to pause, and relate. Relate to your pain, as only a mother who has lost a son to suicide can. My son is Kerry. I forgot how he distanced himself from me the week before he killed himself until I read your words. It comforts me to hear you say that it probably made it easier on him. I never thought of that. Kerry was mad at me when he killed himself, but I know now that I helped him take that step but I didn’t cause it. Mary, his fiance, was away for the week with their year old son jackson, and Kerry was isolating himself. I remember thinking he was slacking off, when he was really lost in his depression.
    I am reading your story because I am working on a memorial project called Love Letters. I am putting together a book of letters written by those who have lost someone they love to suicide. I will be leaving this book of letters at the center alter of the temple of hope at this years burning man festival. if you would like to include a letter to or about Barry please let me know. My pain, my tears, my heart are with you. Love and Light, Shannon

  2. Karen 24 July 2006 / 9:33 am

    Tears fill my eyes as I read your words – here and on your website. I have no words to say except thank you and I’m sorry. We both know and understand that there is nothing more that needs saying.

  3. George 6 January 2007 / 6:42 am

    I appreciate you having this website – it helps me understand the parent’s side of the story. I have great parents and know this will be horrible for them when I kill myself. I am not a teenager, just some middle age guy that has everything going for him but still can’t see value in his life. I wish I was an alcoholic or something easy to explain, but I am not. I know there are those who would try to help but realistically I know there is nothing they can do. I am sure your son didn’t want to hurt you either. Just sometimes there are no other choices that work. Thank you, George

  4. Karen 8 January 2007 / 8:04 pm

    Sometimes, being middle aged is harder than being young. The veil to life no longer is impenetrable or protects you from the reality of everyday living nor does it protect you from the reality of yourself.

    But still there is something precious about life. Many people sum up their lives by what they achieve or by what they fail to achieve, by what they have acquired materially or by what they lack. In reality, we don’t have to achieve anything for anyone and, to be honest, even for ourselves.

    Who said life has to work? Life doesn’t work for me, but I still press on and live.

    Many times I just appreciate a cool breeze blowing across my face or the feel of the sun warming my body. Hey, I even appreciate going to the library to borrow books I’ll probably never read!

    Yes, life is not easy to live, but to end it, is like putting up a stop sign in the middle of a freeway. If you come to a sudden halt, just think of all the cars slamming into your rear and all the wreckage behind you.

    Taking ones life is not just upsetting a few people, its causing carnage and the clean up takes years. I know, because I’m in the middle of that carnage now.

    One of the saddest things about my son, Barry, taking his life, and for whatever his motives may truly have been, is that he is not around to see the results. Did he achieve his goal? We will never know. The very next day his whole life might have changed in a new direction…

    And for us, who are left, we are still picking up our lives from amidst the dust.

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