Ellie's story deals with grief and issues relating to suicide that some might find triggering. If you or anyone you know might be affected by the issues raised you can access help via our resources pages.

Today marks world suicide prevention day. It’s a day to reflect and create awareness of suicide amongst people and the impact it has on the people that are left behind. Suicide is something that affects many people and leaves a hole that cannot be filled or patched up. It’s a loss that is hard to understand and often hard to comprehend. Losing a loved one to suicide is one of the worst things a person has to go through.

When someone commits suicide it is always a challenging thing to come to terms with as you’re often left with so many questions and very little answers. The sadness and loss you feel when you lose someone to suicide doesn’t magically disappear with time it actually stays with you but in time it does become more manageable. I believe being able to have a safe place to openly talk about suicide is vital along with a greater awareness and understanding of why people commit suicide.  As a society we need to help prevent individuals from getting to the point of not wanting to live any more by providing the right support systems and services available to people. In this blog I am going to be opening up about my own personal experience of suicide and how I have come to terms with it.

The day I found out that my dad had committed suicide started off like any other day. It was a sunny Tuesday in June, I had five classes that day and an extra psychology revision session; as our teacher at the time was determined that we would not make a fool out of her or let her down. It was stifling hot in the class room, my three classmates and I were bored out of our minds as everyone had already left and were enjoying the sunshine. Out of the blue my phone, which I had forgotten to put on silent, rang. I was very embarrassed but as it was an unknown number I asked my teacher if I could take it.

It was the police at the other end of the phone and they wanted to speak to my mother. I was a tad confused as to why and how they had my number. My first thoughts were that it was to do with my sisters missing phone. Little did I know that in a few short hours my world would be turned upside by the loss of my father to suicide. Once I had given the police my mother’s number I went back into the classroom and thought nothing of the call. 

On my way home I was in good spirits, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful afternoon. I was eager to get home so that I could relax and unwind after a long day. As I approached our house I saw my uncle’s motorcycle parked outside and was overjoyed as he normally only saw us on a Monday night and Wednesday afternoon.

My sisters returned home as well and shared in my same delight of seeing our uncle. It was only when the door opened for a third time that I got interested as surely it couldn’t be my mother as it was barely gone five o’clock and she was never home before six thirty. Her voice rang through the house calling us all into the dining room. There was a slight quiver in her voice as she broke the news that she has just been informed by the police that our father had died. He had hung himself.

My two sisters broke down, they were in hysterics but I remained detached surveying the scene before me. Everyone was crying and yet something inside of me felt like I had a duty to be strong and not show how upset I was truly feeling. At the time I remember trying to crack jokes and make light of the situation as there was so much sorrow in the air that it was suffocating me. The feeling of having to hide my true emotions brings me back to the time when we had to put down our beloved dog poppy (she had slipped a disc in her back so could no longer walk and it would have been cruel to keep her alive).

I was in a hypnotic state for the next couple of days and was going through the motions, I decided to take a couple of days off school but returned back on the Friday. The school had been informed of our loss but it was hard that day, my tutor at the time was super supportive and helped me break it to the IB group (international baccalaureate). I broke down when telling my friends as the enormity of what I had lost was so great.  My fathers suicide seemed to kick start something in me in regards of my life and how I was performing at school, I decided that I was getting myself out of home and into university. I started to do my school work and revise and then in the summer I had the distraction of the Thames Youth Orchestra tour to Croatia to keep me preoccupied.  

My father was in a lot of pain and anguish for most of my childhood and there always seemed to be this big dark cloud above his head. The sadness that emanated from him broke my heart as I was growing up as everything I tried to do didn’t seem to lift the funk that he was in. His life like so many that commit suicide was cut short and left me wondering that if there had been the right support and help available then maybe just maybe he might still be alive today. 

This summer marks the tenth anniversary of my father’s death. I find as the years have gone by there is so much I wish my father had been able to see and be a part of. The love I have for him hasn’t diminished and I believe deep down he would have been proud of the person I have turned out to be, warts and all. There are still times however that I get angry at him for taking his own life as I very much wanted him to be a part of my life and walk me down the isle one day. What I miss the most is his calls where I could fill him in on how school was going and what I was doing. My fathers memory lives on in me and my sisters and the love he had for us and the love we had for him will never be diminished. We can all be that light for people in the midst of their darkest hours and be that ear to listen and heart to love them.