Making Plans and Saying Goodbye

Part 8

In hindsight, the signs were plain. We look back now and can see when and where Barry was saying goodbye. These memories break my heart because I wish I’d picked up on them then…rather than now, when it’s too late.

Barry had sent Daniel a text message, “I know I don’t say this often, but I love you.”

On the last phone call me and Barry had together, he said, “I love you.”

He sent text messages to a few of his mates with vague, cryptic goodbyes.

Apparently, he waited for Tara (his girlfriend) to come out from work on the Monday afternoon. He gave her all the things that she had given to him over the months they had been together and then asked for a hug. She asked why and he said that he’d tell her after she gave him a hug. They hugged and then he said “goodbye” and walked away. She thought they were breaking up for good and threw everything away when she got home. The garbage was collected that night, so she couldn’t get any of it back.

He requested a special “brothers” night for him and Daniel. They had a night together that Daniel will never forget. I’m so happy about that.

We know that Barry planned his suicide because:

1. He placed his bag, and wallet, on the kitchen table to alert Daniel that he was home. He always went straight to his room and put the bag on his bed. Why would he change habits now?

2. He placed his mobile phone under the garage window, so that when Daniel tried to phone him, Daniel would hear the phone ringing. Unfortunately, he didn’t.

3. He had cleaned out his things.

4. He had left a light on, but maybe he did that because the garage is dark (even during the day) and he couldn’t see what he was doing without it.

5. He took his thongs off, and put joggers on. We know this because the thongs were left with his bag. This was for better grip to make sure the object he stood on would fall over when he wanted it too. Again, there was no reason to leave the bag and thongs in the kitchen, when he had to go into his bedroom to change his shoes. He wanted Daniel to know that he was home, but Daniel didn’t realise what was happening.

We believe that Barry got up that morning, washed up, then went out to post a letter and CD to Tara. Tara never received these things, so he either 1) changed his mind and threw them away, 2) posted them and they went astray, or, 3) Tara’s parents received them and threw them away, without reading the letter and without telling Tara.

When he got home, we believe he placed the bag on the table and went straight to the garage and ended his life.

At first, I believed that this was his plan. However, little details that seemed out of place started to cloud my judgement. Instead, I started to wonder if it had been a test run gone wrong. Believe it or not, I find this possibility horrifying because I imagine Barry struggling to save his life. The thought of him in pain, struggling tortures me. I can’t stand the images that come to mind. I want the end to be quick and painless for him. I need it to be that way.

I guess I’ll never know for sure, unless these details are in the Coroner’s report.

Edited on 24 August 2006: It’s now known that the letter was posted prior to the Thursday, because it reached its destination on or before that date. As we are certain that Barry burned the CD on the Monday evening, it means that the letter and CD were posted on the Tuesday or Wednesday. So where did Barry go on Thursday morning? The only other possibility was to buy the rope he needed to hang himself. This thought breaks my heart.

Click here to go to Part 9: The Viewing


2 thoughts on “Making Plans and Saying Goodbye

  1. maree

    Karen, I find myself drawn to read (and re-read) your story. It is significant that you are able to recall these awful days in so much detail…they are so deeply etched in your memory, but I believe the writing somehow relieves the need to keep these details sharply in focus longterm. Your plan to write a book will benefit yourself for that reason. Have you read Iris Bolton’s “My Son, My Son,A guide to healing after death,loss or suicide”?It is a very graphic account of her son’s suicide,written 11 years after the event.I was amazed at her recall of events,but now realise (6 years in my case)that we need to “hold on”to our story. I read the book twice, 2 years in between, and it struck me how different my response to the story was…the book hadn’t changed in that space of time, but I obviously had.I was experiencing new aspects of my loss that come as the passing of time takes the rawness away, but deepens the yearning to see and hold my son again…I miss him more as time passes.Take care.Good luck with your writing.

  2. Thank you, Maree. Apart from those first weeks, I think I hit rock bottom seven months after losing Barry. It was at that time that I can honestly say I felt … not suicidal, because I could never take my own life, but willing to die. I no longer cared about anything. Three months have passed since then. I miss Barry so much. I don’t know what to expect in the future. Yet you have confirmed what other mothers have said to me.

    I borrowed “My Son, My Son” from the library, but I can remember none of it. I was too heart broken to digest the words. I’ll borrow it again.

    Take care and thank you.

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