Tuesday, 31 January 2006

Suicide is painful

This post has a wonderful outcome Suicidee did not die!

Last night my 16 year old daughter witnessed a young man kill himself.

She was out with a friend celebrating her friend's 18th birthday. On their way home, in the early hours, they crossed a railway bridge. On the other side, perched up on the wall was a young man shaking and rocking. Daughter and friend didn't know what to do and didn't want to speak to the man in case anything they said made him jump or fall.

They called the police and waited across the road. The police arrived and tried to talk the man down but he became more distressed so the police backed off a bit. The police continued gently but the man was shouting how he had lost everything and lost his girlfriend. The young man turned towards the road and crouched down and looked for all the world as if he was going to get down. In a moment he pushed himself back and fell shouting "I just want to die".

We don't know for sure that he was killed but the sight of the man's crumpled body across the train tracks haunts my daughter. Along with the image of him crouched and going backwards off the bridge.

She is coping much better than I reckon I would. She is exhausted and now sleeping. Apparently she had phoned us during the night but we didnt hear the phone calls and messages she left. She felt the need to speak to us. I just can't believe it and want to hug her but she's not the cuddly type - not with me anyway. I want her to live and experience life but I'm not sure I really want her or anyone to go through this.

Daughter is in shock and just doesn't know what she feels. She's numb. She wonders that if she didn't call the police whether the guy might have changed his mind and gotten down. Life is full of "what ifs".

How awful the young man felt the need to take this action - that things were that bad. Goodness only knows how his ex-girlfriend will feel once she knows. Then there are the police officers who tried to talk him down. And then there are people like my daughter and her friend who do not know this man and yet have been included in this moment in time.

It is a terrible situation and my heart goes out to my daughter. I'm sure she will be OK given time. We've talked and tried to reassure her that there are no right answers but she certainly did the right thing by calling the police.

Very sad all round.

Original Comments:

Carol said...

OMG that is just awful - so traumatic for your poor daughter. What a terrible thing to have to go thru.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 7:26:00 PM

Cheryl said...

Would it be worth phoning the police to ask? I should imagine that not knowing makes it worse. If the worst came to the worst, its almost certain to be in the local papers inside the next week?

I don't think the police send unqualified people out to potential suicides, and I don't suppose that someone intending to finish it all could give two hoots for authority or a uniform, or even a crowd if there was one, none of which matter if you're dead, so there was nothing else there to make him more inclined.

She did a wonderful thing. Others would have chickened out, convincing themselves it was none of their business, or that someone else must have already called. You must be so proud of her.

If it helps I know a girl who supposedly OD'd, and fell, shaking, from the science room stool to the concrete school floor, still fitting, and was rushed to hospital. The number of senior school girls who one by one later confessed they had been seriously contemplating suicide until her episode, was unbelievable. In a weird way she got thanked for saving people's lives and making them count blessings.

I dont for a moment imagine your daughter needed this as a wake up call, but who knows how many young people her harshly gifted, new appreciation of life will touch? Maybe even someone in the crowd she was with.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 7:50:00 PM

Ally said...

I don't think I can say anything wiser than Cheryl has. I think she's right, you must be very proud of her for stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility. Like mother, like daughter x.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:19:00 PM

Pookie65 said...

I know in my heart that YOU will say exactly what she needs to hear. Furthermore, a mothers hug is worth a thousand words.

Such a sad thing to read.

Sending thoughts & prayers.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:31:00 PM

Le laquet said...

Oh ~ poor baby!

She really doesn't need to have gone though that at her tender age!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 11:37:00 PM

MrsDoF said...

What Cheryl said goes double from me.
When I was 17, my aunt slit her wrists. Her daughter (my cousin a year and a half younger than me) found her mother semi-conscious and blood all over.
Rather than call the ambulance, she called my dad. He wasn't home.
My cousin didn't want anyone to know about the shameful scene, and begged me to come be the one to drive them to the hospital.
I wrapped a bath towel around her arms, my cousin and my aunt in the back seat, me with only a 5 month old driver's license, racing against time and blood loss.
My aunt spent 4 months in a Pysche ward. But then she got a bit more education and found a job she loved as an LPN.
Your daughter is very brave and she did the right thing to call the police/professionals.
If I had to do it over again, I should have insisted on emergency vehicles. It would have made stoplights and intersections easier.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 3:01:00 AM

mrshellonheels said...

My heart goes out to your daughter. How awful for her. She did the right thing. My prayers are with your family.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 5:29:00 AM

Writer Mom said...

Very sad.
And may never make sense.
She's got a good couple of shoulders to lean on, though.
Let us other parents know what seems to help.
And a hug for YOU. You must be aching to take away all of her fright, you wonderful mum.

I go to sleep very thankful tonight.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 6:09:00 AM

doris said...

Thank you everyone for your support and thank you Cheryl for some excellent ideas. Good grief MrsDoF, you have certainly been through a lot!

I sat with daughter all evening watching TV and just small talking. Out of the blue she suddenly burst into tears and that was the first time she cried and I was able to hold her. I went to bed eventually but it seems she has stayed up all night, yet again, playing computer games. On the one hand that is good for the mind to be blotto-ed by games and on the other it does nothing for a regular routine and getting off to college today. At least she's smiled at me this morning.

Yesterday she did say that it puts things into perspective so I reckon that already some sense is coming out of it.

And yes, I am proud of her and told her so. She is shocked that cars drove past and just beeped their horn and carried on!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 7:07:00 AM

Sparkling said...

That is such a sad story.
Suicide is certainly painful. It's desperate and thoughtless. How does people get in to such states of despair?
They say most suicides are calls for help. Unfortunately the suicidals don't always realise this and end up killing themselves and hurting the people around them.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 9:09:00 AM

Anji said...

I'm sorry to hear that. Please tell her as the days go by it will hurt less and less. When I was 17 I witnessed a drowning, Time is a great healer. It is a shock when you come across someone who wants to end their life. Hugs to you all

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 11:02:00 AM

Jo said...

Oh Doris, your poor daughter. Like others, I think Cheryl has said it really well.

And like others, I saw someone die too once - in a road accident, right in front of me. Two young men in a car just ahead of me crossed onto the other side of a dual carriageway and had a head on collision with another car. I tried to see if I could help while the ambulances were coming, but they died right there. No-one ever found out why it had happened.

I was older - an adult - and though it was terribly affecting, the shock of it did actually bring the 'shutters' down on my emotions, numbing them while what I'd seen sank in. Sounds like your daughter has had some of this too.

Her youth will give her the strength to absorb, reflect on and deal with this. She did the right thing. Of course she did. And you're a lovely mum, so I'm sure you'll help in all the right ways.

One little thing - if he did die - there could well be a coroner's inquest and your daughter might be summoned to give evidence. The police will decide. Don't mention it to her...and it probably won't happen for some time...but keep it in the back of your mind?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 11:22:00 AM

lydia said...

There's not much else i feel i can add except that my heart really goes out to your daughter. i had cold chills just reading it, i can't imagine what she must be going through. but time is a healer and i wish you all the best.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 3:39:00 PM

Sassy said...

I feel sorry for your daughter that she had to see that. I tried to commit suicide once. I spent 4 terrible days in the ICU. I can say I understand those who take their own lives, but I also understand...it will get better and your life is precious. You want the pain to stop, not your life to stop. Your daughter is very lucky to have a mother like you!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 9:35:00 PM

doris said...

Thank you again to everyone for your kind thoughts and sharing your own experiences. I had reckoned that the images will lessen over time but hearing from others who have gone through seeing other's death experiences is encouraging.

Of course this will also bring up thoughts or experiences of suicide. Thank goodness you survived Sassy and now realise that your life is precious and that there is hope out there. I had an incredible dream at 16 that put those particular dark thoughts out of my head forever.

Update My daughter went out last night to meet up with some friends, in order to try and get back into normal things, but I had to go bring her back less than an hour later. Seems her elder male friends are not so mature or understanding and tried to belittle it and to get her to pull herself together and not be so miserable. They assured her it wasn't a tragedy but if such and such a football team had lost 3-0 then that would be a tragedy! I couldn't help laughing at that but I think it was utterly callous of them.

She says she keeps getting flashbacks. I've contacted the police and will be speaking to them again tomorrow to see if I can find out the outcome for the chap and any counselling they suggest, if it is needed.

I am a bit scared that she isn't handling this at all and it will leave such a big impact.

Thursday, February 02, 2006 8:31:00 AM

Growing Up said...

Poor Girl. To have seen that happen i really hope she can put this behind her. My heart goes out to her.

Thursday, February 02, 2006 5:13:00 PM

ella m. said...

poor kid......I know you'll take excellent care in helper her heal though.

Thursday, February 02, 2006 8:57:00 PM

Astryngia said...

Where have I been? So sorry I haven't kept up with your blogs for a while - where did the time go? what was I doing? It seems only yesterday but clearly a while back...

About what happened this night - one thing is true and that is we just don't know all the circumstances : the seeds for this moment were probably sown very early on in his life, perhaps (the research now suggests) even in his genes! So 'if only' and 'what if' would have to go back a long, long way.

And there's also a question : why are we programmed to prevent other people from doing what we don't want them to do...and why do we want them not to do it? Huge questions but it may lead to a perspective which lessens the sense of responsibility.

Or not. What a challenging situation for you all.

Friday, February 03, 2006 12:30:00 AM

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