When a family member takes there own life.
Never did I ever think I would be writing this coming from first hand experience but so it is. It's the hardest and most painful experience losing someone you love by suicide, but also having to watch other family members trying to process and manage their emotions after a loved one has taken their own life,
There are no words for this.
Real name not used.
In August 2020, I got a call to say that my Nephew was missing. Everyone had searched everywhere and spoken to friends if they knew the where a bouts of Jo but no one had seen or heard from him and this concerned my brother enough to alert the police and put in a missing person report.
we are talking about a 30 year old man here, not a child, so the concern was great that something bad had happened.
My brother had 3 beautiful children, 2 daughters and one son.
His two daughters are flourishing and doing well in life, have their heads together and thriving on stability, they never gave my brother to many lost nights of sleep.
However his son, was a different story.
Jo always had a wild story to tell, about what the police were chasing him for now or what he had been up to. His choices didn't always fit the box of a conventional lifestyle and this gave my brother plenty nights of lost sleep, concerned that his son was ok.
Jo was a beautiful soul, he had a heart of gold, do anything for anyone, and listening to his friends talk of him at his farewell truly makes you feel honoured to have known him, however Jo suffered a dark side, mental health that he could not address. Having had disparate bouts of depression and manic highs for a number of years, Jo took risks without a thought, introduce the mix of methamphetamine in the picture and you can see how this changed Jo's life forever.
Jo had many opportunities to be very successful but he had many reasons in his life to feel that the deck of cards he had been dealt sucked. He had lost friends under tragic circumstances and he himself had suffered his deal of close calls to death. He struggled with coming to terms with so many things which is the reason we think he first started using Meth, perhaps hoping to escape the demons that haunted him. Unfortunately Jo couldn't see (at first anyway)that the biggest demon of all was the Meth he had become addicted to.
After years of use, Jo realised he had a problem, but the demons that haunted him were obviously relentless and stopping this drug became something Jo could not do, or did not want to do. It became apparent that someone needed to seriously intervene here and my brother tried to get him into a private rehab facility, but it didn't happen and my brother was devastated.
Jo did two stints in Jail (over nothing to serious) and on his second release my brother tried again to get him to rehab, doing everything humanly possible to save his son. Jo was awaiting rehab which he had agreed to and was ready for before he took his own life. Rehab beds are so far and few between in NZ and the Mental Health situation here is so totally under equipped, it can not handle the amount of population that needs help. Jo waited 6 months for a bed to become available and then tragedy:
Covid 19 arrived and we were in lockdown 4 before we knew it.
That killed any chance of help for Jo going down the line for rehab.
Perhaps Indirectly Covid 19 killed him!
My Brother said over the 6 months that Jo was awaiting rehab, he had seen the worst and the best of his son. They became friends as well as being Father and Son and their relationship developed into something very real and wonderful.
When my brother phoned me to say Jo was missing, The concern and fear in his voice made me realise that Jo might not be coming home. he was seriously worried about his son, thinking perhaps that his past had caught up with him.
The fact he had not been seen by anyone had even the police worried, normally they would have seen him somewhere. The police knew Jo well, and they may as well have been on first name basis. The police were concerned and decided to do a sweep of the property at home, where there they found Jo's body, 7 days after he had gone missing.
My brother had searched the property high and low, and had walked past the area where Jo's body lay a number of times. My brother and his staff had stood only meters away from where he was, yet he could not be seen because it was a small well hidden space.
My brother was heartbroken at the fact he did not find his son, but as we and the police said it was a good thing he was not the one to find him. I don't think Jo would have wanted that.
Knowing what my brother must have felt and what he was feeling keep me away when he needed me the most.
I could not go to see him, cause his pain was mine and I couldn't deal with it, it was so empty, hollow and hopeless, I felt numb, dead, like a part of me had died, just thinking about Jo and what my brother and Jo's sisters were feeling, it was like I felt all of it, and I so struggled to process the emotions I was feeling.
I could feel every single moment of emptiness, and I could not change a thing, there was nothing I could do to make a difference to the whole situation to bring Jo back. I didn't have the courage to face anymore pain so I couldn't call my brother, I couldn't face him, I died for a little while, just drifting in a daze in hope that I would somehow find the strength I needed to be there for my family.
The feeling of separation from yourself is a good way to describe the feelings, separating yourself like two pieces in cold denial of facing the pain.
I did however see my family and I was relieved to share the pain for them and for me.
Jo's send off was beautiful and I think the good thing to come of all the pain, is we all shared it together, enjoying stories of Jo, crying, laughing and remembering.
Jo brought our family closer together in only a way he could have, I only wished he could have been there to see what he had accomplished.
If there is one thing I have learnt through this experience, it is family is everything.
Could Jo have been saved, perhaps if Covid 19 didn't step in the way of rehab, or maybe not, perhaps he had decided his fate and no body could have done anything.
We never really know what goes on in peoples minds regardless of how close they are to you, people don't always share their thoughts, especially if they are dark and dangerous
I know we all have tossed the what ifs, if this, if that, but it does not bring Jo back.
It serves no one to persecute ourselves in such a way, as it serves no purpose.
I know we lost a Son, Father, Brother, Nephew and a Friend that day and Jo will always be remembered for the beautiful soul he was. I hope he found some peace on the other side and watches over all of us, looking after our lives.
It will be with me and everyone else forever, when we think of Jo with blessed memories, we will also remember he is not here with us, and that he took his own life in those dark and dangerous moments.