I wish I had come across the words in the posts entitled Part 1: Suicide Intervention and Prevention, Part 2: Suicide Intervention and Prevention and What Can Parents Do? three months ago. I wish I had been suicide aware. For if I had, I might have my son with me today.
When I was copy typing those passages from the book, I felt a coldness inside. It spread from my heart and swept through my entire body. I had no idea that Barry was in trouble. I didn’t know that he was in a state of despair. Yet if I had read those words three months ago, I might have seen the signs. I might have. And I might have been able to save him.
I saw none of the signs, until afterwards. Yet if they were staring me in the face, as words in a book, would I have reflected on Barry’s actions and then taken action? I don’t know. I’ll never know. But if you have a child and you can see that some of the warning signs are present. Do something. Next week might be too late.
Barry had every one of the signs, except three. He didn’t draw “death” pictures. He didn’t own or have access to a weapon. He didn’t do dangerous and illegal activites (that I’m aware of). He did, however, tell his girlfriend that he was going to “choke” himself. She didn’t take him seriously. I remember commenting on his weight loss. He gave me an explanation and I accepted it without question. I know he wasn’t eating properly as it’s something Daniel and I discussed about a month prior to Barry taking his own life, but I should have done more about it. If you’ve read the My Story category, you’ll remember that Barry threw a lot of his possessions away. He always took pride in the way he looked, until the last few months. He was secretive and I often caught him looking sad, but when I approached him about it and asked if I could do anything to help him, he always said that “everything’s fine”. It wasn’t.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, or so they say. Often, in hindsight, we know a lot of things. However, when we are talking about a matter of life and death, don’t wait for hindsight to come knocking, because that will mean you’ve lost a child to suicide. Be suicide aware and, hopefully, save a life.
Never…ever pretend that it could never happen to you. It could.