By Mel Ball
Suicide. It’s a hard word to hear, let alone write. But it’s something I have now encountered twice in my life, and in a very short space of time. Two loved ones leaving this life – and it was hard to understand why.
My friend Steve
I’ll start by telling you the story of my friend Steve. He was an amazing person! He could go up to anyone and make friends with them in a heartbeat. He was my sparring partner when I used to do Ju Jitsu, and also my school friend. We did a lot of stuff together growing up. Unfortunately he passed away doing what he loved best, climbing. To cut this story a little short he had an accident up a mountain and didn’t come back from it.
I was heartbroken, even more so because I was living away from all friends and family who knew him.
She was being strong for everyone else
When it was his funeral I made the trip back home, come hell or high water. I saw his mum and I just broke down. She gave me a massive hug, but she didn’t shed a single tear. I understand people grieve in their own way, and I believe she was being strong for everyone else that day; she was mum to everyone that was there for her blue eyed boy. She was amazed at how many people turned up for Steve’s send off. Originally she didn’t want a funeral for him, but then realised he had touched so many people that she felt it would have been unfair for them not to say goodbye. It was a beautiful day and an eventful evening. A good send off for a wonderful person.
Skip forward to a couple of months later. I’m back in Trowbridge and get a phone call in the early evening from a friend. I wasn’t feeling great that night as I was suffering from a bug.
“(Crying) Hi Mel.”
“Hey sweet, what’s up?”
“Please don’t be too upset, but I have some bad news.”
“Steve’s mum has just passed. I’m really sorry to tell you.”
By this point I’m crying too and trying to get myself off the sofa.
“She overdosed. She left a note, saying she just couldn’t live anymore without Steve. She also said she doesn’t want the fuss of a funeral as she didn’t want to bother anyone.”
She overdosed – she left a note
Me and my friend talked for a bit longer, each trying to calm the other one down. We hung up, and my stomach went rock hard. I became very angry. Why would she do such a thing? Steve wouldn’t have wanted her to end it all! How can you put me through these emotions again?!? For someone who had never before come across suicide, except for in the news, it was very hard to process. But as grief does, the anger subsides to sadness and I felt I just couldn’t cope. I called the Samaritans just to talk to someone who hadn’t heard MY story before. The lady on the line was lovely, even though she did seem to rush me a bit, but I felt somewhat better for an offload at least.
Time flew by after that, and I returned back to Gloucester. I was happy to be back home, even though time did bring back painful memories of Steve. Thank goodness I had my friends and family to come back to.
Happier times for about 4 months.
Again to be quick, life moves quickly when you’re having fun.
Again my heart breaks and I feel shattered
My stepdad passes from a car accident. Again my heart breaks and I feel shattered. I phone my friend Cass in Australia. We speak for a long time, I miss her terribly. She is so sweet, she sends my mum flowers.
Now Cass was one in eternity, they really did break the mold with her. Crazy and fun loving, with a side order of depression and bipolar. But the way she was around people you wouldn’t have known, she only told you if she wanted you to know.
Cass had in the past attempted suicide on number of occasions, but I didn’t know any of this until after her passing.
Pregnancy is hard with hormones as it is, let alone finding out one of your best friends had “disappeared”. Everyone in Oz thought she had come back to the UK to be with friends and were desperately trying to find her. Phone calls and emails later no one had found her. Eventually I get a call saying she was found, she had hung herself from a bridge.
My beautiful miracle had left this world
This time she didn’t want to be found.
She had been fighting demons for years and had finally given up.
Broken didn’t even come close to how I was feeling. This time I understood why, but didn’t, at the same time. My beautiful miracle had left this world to be with the stars.
As she had passed in Australia she had her funeral there, as much as her friends wanted to be there from the UK most of us couldn’t be. We had our own and sent lanterns up to greet her to light the way to the stars.
Leaving this life behind wouldn’t end my pain
Years later I understood more than ever why these two beautiful people did what they did. Depression and anxiety hit me hard, but I’d learnt from them that leaving this life behind wouldn’t end my pain, but only pass it on to others.
I have seen first hand how suicide can hurt more people than those who chose to end it all. I wanted to cause physical pain to myself to end it all, but the love I have for my children, family and friends, was much more than the war in my head. There was no way I could have done that to them. So I tell that part of me, ‘Not today’, and that miracles really do happen everyday.