I’ve had several people ask me if I feel angry with my son for taking his own life. When I say no, they can’t seem to understand why. Some even try to argue the point, obviously thinking I’m not in my right mind, saying it would be normal to feel anger towards someone who is selfish enough to do such a thing. This reaction angers me.

For starters, the person saying these things has never lost a child to suicide, so how would they know what I feel, what I should feel and what is normal. And then to top it off, that person has the nerve to pass judgement on my son – for that is exactly what they are doing when they call him selfish. And…it’s comments like this that cause a stigma.

I feel no shame for what has happened to my family. I will defend my son’s actions to the death. I cannot feel anger towards him. I don’t think he realised the pain he would cause, I do believe there were other options, but I love him and I can’t be angry with him. I want to protect him…even now.

A parent’s bond with their child, especially a mother’s bond because of pregnancy, is never broken. The child takes that bond and gives it to their partner in life, but for the parent, that bond remains forever. We never stop worrying and we never stop caring. I can guarantee this is true in life and it is true in death too.

Because of that bond I believe a majority of parents can forgive their child soon after that child’s suicide. It’s the only way we can carry on. Harbouring blame and anger will not change anything. It won’t bring our child back. It will not help us heal.

We forgive because it is the best thing we can do for ourselves and for our lost child. A person who dies by suicide had a reason for what they did. They were in turmoil and pain. They probably knew they were loved, but the love was overshadowed by the darker elements in their lives. As a parent, I will not condemn Barry in death. I cannot do that. I want him to find peace. I certainly don’t want him to suffer any more. And it is because of this that I was able to forgive Barry within moments of learning of his suicide.

As parents of living children, we are able to forgive their mistakes on a daily basis. Why should it be different in this situation? Being a mother of a suicided child, I was able to forgive Barry easily.

Of course, some parents do feel angry and this is nothing to be ashamed of either. In fact, it is normal. In my opinion, the anger it largely due to the circumstances surrounding the death, lost opportunities, feelings of being left behind. I believe most parents can find forgiveness for their children at some stage.