GET IT I FEATURE
dren Kenneth, Jessica Callum The late Larry Holmes with chil
On the 2nd of February 2005 Jane Holmes found her husband Larry hanging in their bedroom. They had met in a pub, been together 20 years and had three children together. She has a raw and honest conversation about what suicide means for a family with Get it’s Kirstin Cuthbert.
Jane Holmes, 53, is a Molendinar resident who is the Founder and Director of I Support the Girls Australia, a charity that donates bras and menstrual hygiene products to homeless and disenfranchised women.
What happened on that day back in February 2005? I was in the New Zealand Police as a Crisis Intervention Officer with Victim Support before moving to Australia, we’d been in the country six months. At that time I was in Palm Beach Currumbin Clinic as a patient because I had been really, really struggling and had admitted myself to get help for PTSD. I came home to find my husband Larry because I had not been able to get hold of him. He was hanging in our bedroom. The first thing I did was try and take him down. I knew he was gone. With my experience I knew exactly that he’d been gone for a good 10-12 hours. But I just couldn’t have him there, I needed to release him. From a police point of view I knew I was interfering with the body but I just didn’t want to see that. I saw him afterwards in the mortuary and in hindsight that’s not something I would ever do again. For me it was about trying to find peace and hoping I would see the person that I knew before, and it didn’t happen. You’re always living with that vision. It’s dreadful, it’s absolutely dreadful. When you find your husband having completed it it’s a whole new, gutwrenching emotional journey. November 2017
y b d e w o d i W
How did you tell your children? Honesty, absolute brutal honesty. When Larry completed they were 9, 11 and 17. I didn’t tell them how I just explained to them that Dad was struggling with his own thoughts and issues, and that unfortunately he has taken his life. It was really difficult because my eldest was just his second week into year 12 so the complexities for him were mind boggling. He is half-functioning autistic, he has Asperger’s, so he was like, “Is this my fault?” I tried to make him understand it wasn’t about him. It wasn’t about anything. It was just his journey. My eldest asked me how when he was old enough to understand the complexities, and my youngest would have been about 16 or 17 when he asked me how Dad took his life. I said, “Dad hung himself”. I was always really proactive in answering their questions with regards to mental health and communication. 18
My eldest had an attempt and my youngest when he was 16 had a suicide attempt. Unfortunately that’s the side effect. I don’t like using the word ‘copycat’ but children are susceptible to thinking that my parent did it, so it’s okay. And that’s something people need to understand, it’s a huge danger with any family members or children. Did you have any idea it could happen or were you caught by surprise? It was completely out of the blue. I know when the police interviewed his work colleagues everybody was like, “Well this is not possible”. I think he had undiagnosed PTSD. He was ex-military and I know in South Africa he used to go on numerous reconnaissance missions. When he’d come back he would sleep on the floor for a few weeks before he assimilated into normal society again. So that has to have an impact somewhere along the
Published on Oct 30, 2017