Did He Truly Know What He Was Doing?

As the years roll away from that fatal moment that changed the lives of so many and as I witness the maturing of his friends, I often find myself wondering what a twenty-three year old Barry would think today.

Barry was not religious, yet he “believed” in life after death. He believed that he would be sitting in heaven watching over the people he loved, especially the girl he chose death for. He believed that he would be able to protect her forever. He said that.

I don’t know what happens after we die. People believe all sorts of things. My own belief is somewhat different to Barry’s, but how do we know for sure? I don’t think we can. Not until the time comes, and even then there’s no guarantee, because death could be everything and it could be the absolute end. Nothing. Zilch. The End. Our belief systems help us cope with the unknown. They help us face the inevitable. And Barry believed he was going to heaven.

So maybe he is sitting on a fluffy cloud watching us and if that is the case…what would he be thinking now?

He would have witnessed the grief he left behind and realised he had caused a pain and hurt that he had never imagined. Because it is not possible to imagine the grief of suicide survivors (meaning the people left behind). Not if you’ve never experienced it first hand. Also, he had never experienced the death of a close relative, so how was he to know what grief is, let alone how losing someone to suicide would make it so much worse? Watching his family and closest friends fall apart – mentally, physically and emotionally – would not have been part of his vision. I know that if he sat and witnessed all that, regret and sorrow would fill him and he would be sorry he caused that anguish.

But the thing I think of the most is, did he really think through his plan to protect the girl forever? Did he envision life moving on? Would he have realised that she would met someone else and fall in love? She was young. It is only natural and normal that this would happen. But, at the time he made the decision, did he realise that?

In all honesty, I don’t think he did. I don’t think he thought things through properly. If life after death is what Barry believed it to be, then he is sitting up there watching the girl he loved move forward in life. Watching her smile and laugh and be happy. Watching her planning a future. Watching her in the arms of another man. Was that in his plan? Of course it wasn’t! Did he think she would be immobilised by his actions? Did he think she would love no other because of his final pledge to her? I have no idea what was really going through his mind, but I think he must have thought something along those lines. Because why would anyone take their own life just to sit in heaven and watch their loved one move on…with someone else? It would be pure torture!

So, yes, I find myself wondering what Barry would think of his actions now. I wonder if he would regret the biggest decision he made in his life. I wonder if it was worth it (to him) because suicide is final, there’s no going back or changing your mind once it’s done. I wonder if he truly knew these things.


5 thoughts on “Did He Truly Know What He Was Doing?

  1. I believe the pain of children that take their own lives is so great that they are incapable of thinking clearly at that precise moment. My granddaughter did not believe in life in the hereafter and just wanted to end her own sadness. She did leave a note saying what she did was no ones fault but her own. She told her boy friend to go on with his life and told her mom she loved her very much and wanted her to be strong.

    I think about my granddaughters’ actions daily and arrive at many different conclusions. I sometimes think my granddaughter knew by taking her own life she would let us experience the pain she was having. I also believe she did not know the pain she inflected on her loved ones would be eternal. I will never forgive myself for not seeing her pain.

  2. I understand what you’re saying about not being able to forgive yourself. It’s something I’m having trouble with too, although no one else has ever placed blame on me. But I don’t need them to, I have placed the blame myself because I am his mother and I should have seen something was wrong…but didn’t.

    I think I need Barry’s forgiveness before I can forgive myself, and that can’t happen because he’s no longer here.

    1. maree

      Hi, Karen,
      I’ve read your last posting several times over some weeks. I so understand the feelings you express. Would your son regret his actions, where is he now, does he realise the extent of your pain?? I ask myself these same things, but above all, I just want my son to know I miss him more as time passes. I ache to hold him, tell him I love him, and wish I’d realised the depth of his depression before he took his life. I want to believe we will get to meet our sons again. Meantime, take care and try, as you wrote, to live your own life as best you can.

  3. maree

    Karen, your posts dated 21st,22nd August are both so poignant. I can relate to the pain you are expressing, having also lost a son to suicide, and no matter how many people absolve me of any blame for the tragedy, I feel otherwise.

    I witnessed his emotional exhaustion, saw him at his lowest just hours before he died, and failed to take action which might have saved him.
    “What I should have done” stays with me !

    Thanks for your very helpful insights into the plight of suicide survivors.

  4. Maree, I believe I’ll never be free of the guilt…not totally, but I can live my life now. I know it’s possible. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish to hold my son every day. I’d give anything to be able to talk to him, to help him. I’m sure you understand what I mean.


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