I try to sleep, every night and everything inside me rings why did he do it? I think about him every single day. My life growing up knowing my Dad had got to a point of feeling so low that he decided to end his own life and not one single person suspected that he was even depressed. It’s chilling. I hate the words ‘committed suicide’ because he didn’t commit anything. He died from an illness called depression. A silent invisible illness. A death by suicide.
On the 13/08/1998 my Dad died by suicide. He left behind a 4 year old son and 2 daughters aged 6 & 8. He left behind a huge loving family and a big close circle of friends. He also left behind my Mam, a 25 year old woman who was going to be raising 3 small children on her own.
I wil never ever forget that day my Mam found out that he died. Her friend knocked on the door and she just knew. The screams and the cries. I was only 6 and I still remember that so clear and vivid. We were told he died because he was sick until we were old enough to know what happened. It became apparent that it was suicide and only in the past few years I do realise yes he was sick. He died from a silent illness called depression.
Growing up I used to remember every Christmas when we would write our Christmas lists for Santa, I wrote once on number one of the list that I wanted my dad back for Christmas. My Mam used to have to sit down and try to explain that it won’t happen. We all had lockets with his picture inside it, it was to show that he is still with us, just not visible but he’s always there. I’m so thankful my Mam had done that for us. When I was in school I used to be haunted with ‘she has no Da’. My Mam used to just say tell them you do have a dad he’s just in heaven.
Every single Sunday we used to go to the graveyard to see his grave, followed by a trip to my nannies house and then we used to go upto bray ammusents. We used to pick stones that were heart shaped and write DAD on them and put them on the grave. It was more of a distraction to get us through the hardest thing we’ve ever had to face. It was brilliant that my Mam done that for us. I will never forget those days. There was just one person missing and that was our Dad.
Something il never forget was One night , me and my Mam were asleep on the sofa and the door flew open and a big gush of wind blew in and knocked everything off the fireplace and the only thing that flew into the fire was my dads memory card. My Mam used to look at that every day and just cry. I think this was a sign for my Mam to get on with her life. I still think he done this. It was a sign.
I don’t have a single photo with him, it kills me. My sister has one photo with him. Something to treasure. I have nothing but small memories. I will always remember going to kiliney beach with him, my brother and sister. We had fun and he used to beep the horn right around the bends. I have small memories of me falling asleep in my nannies house and he cycled me home or when I split my head open and having him beside me when I was getting stitches. Really small memories.
Due to suicide my father has missed out on a life ahead of him, he’s missed out on seeing us graduate from school, my sister graduating from college, my brother who needed that father figure in his life, he’s like his double. I wish he had got to see his first grandchild be born. I will remind Charlie that his grandad is very special man is looking over him every day. Over the past few weeks we’ve had a big family wedding, his brothers suprise 50th, with every one there, all his friends and family. Everyone was still talking about him which is nice to see. Everyone was saying that he would be first up on the dance floor. On the wall at the party there were loads of photos of him. It was nice to see him in the photos with a smile on his face. It’s still a reminder that a smile can hide a million thoughts.
I used to never think why anyone would even get that low to do such a thing as going as far a ending a life. Depression is a horrible thing, it doesn’t care who it affects. It has affected me, I’m still trying to fight the demons in my head.
When my Dad died by suicide it wasn’t like nowadays. The awareness is there and it has came out that 1 in 4 are affected by a mental illness. Because the awareness is there now it’s time to act on it. Our government cut the mental health budget by 20 million. That in itself is like death sentence for many people. Our government rely on charities such as pieta house and aware to fix their problems. It’s is so bad. In Ireland the average death rate by phychiatric problems is between 450-500 people per year. Now just imagine that was deaths by road accidents, it would be an outroar for our government and it would be classified as a national emergency. But mental Heath in this country seems to be forgotten. In 2016, 151 people died in adult phychiatric units in this country. It’s sickening.
While I’m delighted people are coming forward and highlighting the state of our mental health services in this country. If someone is suicidal they are given anti-depressants because the wait in the public system is 12 weeks. I’m sorry but 12 weeks is not enough. We need action now. People don’t have 60 euro a week for private counselling because this country can’t provide a good standard of mental health treatment. In Britain if you feel suicidal they have 24/7 walk in suicide crisis centres provided by the NHS. I just can’t understand why this isn’t standard here. I got to a point of feeling so low that I didn’t think I could go on in this life, I truely believed that everyone would be better off without me, I didn’t sleep at all. My boyfriend got me to go to private counselling and he paid for it for me. If I didn’t have this support and be able to provide it financially, I don’t even want to know where I’d be right now. It has helped me to understand my feelings a lot more and helped me deal with the situations I face much better with a clearer understanding of life. I also think the media have a massive affect on people getting help because when you see the horror stories, sure why would you want help in this country if that’s how bad it is.
Due to a suicide it has a massive affect on a family and friends. Every single person I spoke to are all the same. They had no understanding of why my dad died by suicide. His friend told me that she saw him that day and he was buzzing to go to a party that night and that was the same night he was found.
Tomorrow marks the 19th anniversary of my Dads Death. He was just 26 when it happened. Just a message to say I know I was very young when you died, I think about you everyday and I wish you were here to see us when we were growing up and to meet you’re first grandchild. I truely hope you found happiness and peace wherever you are. Miss you every day. Ray Mulligan a name not to forget.