In every book I’ve read about suicide, and every website offering support and/or advice I’ve visited, they all say the same thing:

Do not make major decisions in the early stages of grief!

Apart from everything else my poor brain has suffered in these last few months, I can confirm that making decisions is difficult…really, really difficult. And I’m not even talking about major decisions. It’s hard to decide what to do, what to eat, where to go, without having to be faced with life changing decisions.

Is it easy for you to make the decision to throw out the rubbish? Imagine that rubbish belonged to your dead son. Does the decision suddenly become harder? Believe me, faced with the reality of this situation, it is!

Some people, after losing a loved one, storm through the house and throw everything away. “There are too many memories, I can’t stand the pain of seeing these things a moment longer,” are words that might be said when asked why they are doing this so soon after their loved one’s death. But…in three months, or six months, or two years, when the initial shock and pain have eased, they suddenly feel the loss more because they have nothing to hold onto and look at to remind them of special moments with the person they lost.

Don’t rush into something like this, you may regret it later. Once the items have been thrown away, you can never get them back. Pack the items away and store them somewhere safe until you know in your heart what to do with them.

Why am I bringing up this topic? It’s quite simple, although rather silly. Not so long ago, I had to collect Barry’s things from the police station. Among the items were the roll of rope Barry used to end his life and the snipers he used to cut the rope.

This should be an easy decision to make. I already know that I could never use that rope to tie something down or for any other purpose. I already know that I don’t want to keep that rope, but I can’t bring myself to throw it away. Every time I think about doing so, I sob.

Maybe it’s because these are the last items my son touched. Maybe there’s another reason I’m completely unaware of. But the bags containing those items are in my bedroom, out of view from my family, but not out of view from me. Am I morbid? Am I irrational? No, I just can’t make the decision. I’m scared that I’ll regret whatever I decide. Yet deep down inside I know the rope will be thrown away eventually. Just not today, not tomorrow, and more than likely, not even next month.

My counsellor tells me that it’s alright. No one is putting pressure on me to make this decision now. I can keep the rope until I know it’s time to throw it away. She assures me that the time will come when I’ll know what to do, and then I’ll do it without a problem. In the meantime, she tells me that hanging on to this rope is not a sign of insanity. It’s quite normal.