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It’s dreadful, it’s absolutely dreadful. When you find your husband having completed it it’s a whole new, gut-wrenching emotional journey

line. He was that typical, “It’s all good, I don’t need to do anything about it, I’m okay” kind of person. Definitely a huge shock to the system. How did you begin to move forwards with life? Did you have your family here to help you? I hadn’t been in the country long and there was just no support system. My parents were here but they could not conceptualise it at all. They were not there on an emotional or understanding level. The night it happened we went out for dinner in Hope Island and we were not allowed to tell anybody. They had a daughter and three grandchildren that had just lost their father and they were

more concerned about their social wellbeing. They didn’t want the stigma or the embarrassment, and it’s been that way all the way through. I’m completely estranged from my family. After my father died I got cut off because they do not understand that when you lose somebody to suicide — especially when you find your husband hanging in your bedroom — you never get over it. You do not get over it. For them if you mention the word suicide or anything else they believe you’re playing the victim card. There’s just no understanding whatsoever. It was very, very difficult. How did you and your children get through it? Communication. We never went to counselling as I couldn’t afford it because I didn’t have an income, and my parents wouldn’t help us get professional help as they didn’t believe in it. It was just one day at a time, getting back into the swing of life. I had to start working to be able to sustain us. My children carried on with their schooling. Life had to move forward. We had to live, we were still here, and we had to make the most of everyday. We understood that life was not always good and if there was something up that particular day we talked about it. We would sit around

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the dinner table every single night and discuss our day for the first five or six years. We also had a little box that we used to put our thoughts into. One night a week we would take a piece of paper out and discuss it. I think that’s how we got through. It was such a wonderful way to check how we were all feeling. Does his passing still affect you today? Yes, absolutely. I’ll still have moments where a song will come on the radio and I just dissolve. During the first grocery shop I did at Woolworths after it that song All By Myself came on and I lost it, I actually had to walk away. Music was our key love, so certainly songs still trigger me. Photographs are still triggers too. I’ve been on my own now for 13 years and sometimes I’ll be out and about and think gosh, I’m in my 50s and I’m on my own. I was widowed at 39, nobody wants to be a widow at 39. You look at happy families and couples together and you envy that. You think why did you do what you did? But then you look at the other side of the fence and think you gained so much out of the experience. I know people will find that difficult to understand but you learn about yourself because you have to. How are your children now? They’re great! My eldest is a manager, my daughter is a senior sales person in Sydney and has a beautiful little boy, and my youngest is doing his second degree at Griffith University which he’s putting himself through. They’re all thriving and doing exceptionally well. They’ve grown up with no drugs, no alcohol problems, they’re just really good hardworking kids and I’m very proud of them. Lastly, how can we prevent suicide to the best of our abilities in our families? Look a little bit closer. If you have a family member that’s withdrawing, find out why. Is there a problem? Just ask if they are struggling with something or is there something you can help them with. Talk to people even if they go, “No I’m fine”. If your gut says they’re not fine then find gentle ways. If you do have a family member you have serious concerns about encourage them to get help. We have to stop the stigma that going to see a psychologist is a bad thing. One life saved is 20-30 lives of heartache removed. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or other mental health concerns call Lifeline on 13 11 14

November 2017

Get it Mag November 2017  
Get it Mag November 2017