Copyright 2017 Charlotte Underwood
Published by Charlotte Underwood at Shakespir
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Table of Contents
To my daddy who I miss and love each moment of the day, to Corrie who has been my rock through this whole journey and to my husband who keeps me going.
I would also like to give a special thanks to everyone who has helped make this book a reality.
Suicide is something that you see in movies or on TV, the kind of drama that you never expect to happen to yourself or someone you know. I hate to break it to you but we are suffering a major mental health crisis, with suicide rates going up each year and a huge lack of support to help prevent it. I know this on a personal level as well as knowing many others having the same problem.
I remember reading a news article once, about a young boy who took his own life and his mother found him, it stung me, how can someone so young be pushed to make such a big decision and how must his family be feeling? When we are young we are so pure and innocent, so what happened to that boy for him to make such a major decision?
Not long after I read that article, my father decided to take his own life, so I can tell you that the child’s family, my family and every family, including friends, who have gone through losing someone to suicide have probably felt their own heart shatter and have forgotten how to feel alive, at least for a time. It also shows you a very ugly side to the modern world.
It’s been three years since my father took his life and a lot has changed with how I live my life and how my feelings, as well as my mental health, have developed since the event.
So how do you grieve and move on after someone you love takes their own life? That’s what I want to talk about as I have found so many people sharing the same stories and yet very few ever got the support they needed, many including myself have ended up without any form of support when the suicide happened, which is the most crucial time.
This is my story, this is my father’s story and this is my advice to you as someone who understands. This is my way, to help you and I understand how someone can completely disappear from your life without any warning.
December 30th 2013 was a day like any other, for me at least. I had spent the day with friends and had planned for my ‘date’ to come round my house to stay the night, so I started to panic when my mum had texted me to come home right away. I was hoping this was one of my mum’s silly over reaction moments, sadly I was completely wrong. After running half way across town to get home, my mum had told me that my dad had not turned up to work and the police were informed. Due to the nature of his job I was extremely worried that he had been kidnapped, not in a million years did I ever consider that my dad had driven miles away to his hometown to attempt to take his own life. Although at this point I did not know that as my dad had come home a little after 5pm, he was acting strange but I was just glad he was safe so I put my fears to bed.
My mother told me she had to take him to the hospital but for some reason I didn’t question it. I was later informed that my dad had asked my mum not to tell us as he wanted to stay at home, rather than in the hospital so he could be with all of us at home, his family.
For a month my dad wouldn’t eat much food, because of this he lost a lot of weight. He was vomiting often and had to live in a sleeping bag because he was always cold. You could tell something was wrong as my dad, who I knew, seemed to have gone and I was left with a shell. You would have thought that this would be a clue that he needed help? I however believed that he was just under the weather and that my mum was looking after him, so it would pass and I would have nothing to worry about.
It was at about 7am on January 31st, when my mum came screaming into my room that my dad had gone missing. My natural reaction was that he must have gone for a walk into town, as he often did that, she then told me the truth about when he went missing the previous month. I felt sick and shocked, my emotions couldn’t and didn’t want to understand, my dad would never take his own life, he had shown no signs of mental illness and then it hit.
The night before he had told me that “Tomorrow is an important day, please keep your music down”, the Monday before he told me “You are the only person who really understands me” and the Christmas before that he told us all “This is the last Christmas like this, next year will be different” as he passed us presents which we all knew we couldn’t afford. His OCD, his lack of eating and energy, his little outbursts, it all made sense. I was so angry at myself that I did not pick up on the signs, as I myself suffer from mental illness. How could I have let him down?
So I put on the first clothes I could find and ran out the door. I walked to the park as fast as I could; I was hoping that I would bump into him, that he was just heading to town and that we were all over-reacting. My dad wasn’t in the park so as a quick decision, I headed to the river to check for any sign of him there, halfway on route my mum called and asked me to come home, she was in a state so I headed back. I still ask myself that if I made it to the river, would I have found something of his? A shoe? Backpack? Him?
When I got back home, a friend of my dad’s was there and we were informed that a car as well as a helicopter was checking the river for him; I relaxed a little in hopes that it wasn’t too late, that there was a simple explanation.
This was my chance of quiet before the storm to find my own clues after all, my dad was very smart. His bike was the first clue, it had not moved but there was a plain piece of paper on it, was there supposed to be a note? The car was still in the drive so he couldn’t have gotten far. He had put the bins out and sent my sibling to school, so maybe that means that he doesn’t intend to take his life. I ran to his room and pulled apart his dresser and his wardrobe, nothing had gone other than his keys, was this to let himself back in? Why wouldn’t he take his wallet or his I.D? I also found £500 worth of cash and 2 receipts of when my dad had snuck out in the week to take it out, we had no idea but then I had a sudden hit of realization. He had cleared his bank out, could this money be a parting gift? Could he have left this cash so we could eat, it was exactly enough for a month, maybe he wasn’t coming back.
I told the police what I had found, so they could add it to the case. I told my mum, she knew this was a bad sign but she was in shock so she could not anything about it. My mum only managed to contact my siblings and inform them of the situation.
The police took all my dad’s important belongings, his laptop and phone, anything that may hold a clue. They tore the whole house apart. To this day I do not believe they found anything that we didn’t already, he had wiped his laptop clean and somehow no one, not even the police, could break into his phone.
For a month we had a police van outside with PCSOs practically living with us, we had interviews with the detective and many people were coming over to show their support. It was overwhelming and didn’t feel like reality, more like a horrible sitcom, everyone had questions, so many questions.
I took to the internet and made the most of media to get people out looking for my dad, I would do anything to bring him home, even if it meant I didn’t sleep, it was pretty successful and I managed to reach over a thousand people, the local media and some people even went out to search themselves. We even tried a medium in hopes she could see something we couldn’t, although deep down I knew what he had done, from the start I had this horrible vision of him jumping in the river and on May 3rd that is where he was found by a passerby.
All I know is that a woman saw some other women causing a bit of a commotion so she went over to have a look and saw what seemed to be a body floating head first down the river, the kind woman then called the police, the police then spent the night trying to recover the body, it felt like a lifetime as we just wanted to know if it was him.
The dreaded solemn knock on the door came at about 11pm, I knew exactly what had happened, I slowly walked down the stairs and braced myself, I opened the door to hear my mum wailing and I knew, no words had to be spoken. I walked up to my room and told my boyfriend at the time, “I think they found my dad’s body”.
You would have thought I would be hyperventilating or screaming at that point but my body just shut down, I asked to be left alone and just kept talking to my boyfriend like nothing had happened, all I knew is that I didn’t feel alive, I felt like I was living in my worst ever nightmare. Still I was hoping that he would walk through that front door.
The next day was the worst, phone calls. How do you tell someone that a person has died when you can’t breathe and you’ve forgotten how to speak? How could I tell his parents that their son had died, he had only just got back in contact with one of his parents after so many years. How could I tell my own family, our close friends, his colleagues, his patients from his business? How can you tell someone that someone they love, look up to and go to for support is gone and they will never get to see them again or tell him goodbye while he can hear it.
Luckily a family friend came to help but hearing the words, “I am so sorry but his body’s been found”, seemed like poison, like chalk on a chalkboard. The same way when I found my mum listening to his voice recordings, I made her turn it off because each word felt like someone was ripping me apart.
Later that day the police came over with the body’s belongings, before they made it over to me I saw the clear bag with the keys in it, my dad’s keys. I think my heart stopped for a moment, I nodded and said they were his; my mum was so broken at this point she couldn’t recognize them herself and looked at me for confirmation. The police had to confirm that they were his and sure enough the key slipped so well into the keyhole, a perfect fit. Those keys should have been used by my dad to come home, with me on the stairs waiting to give him a huge hug. The worst part was that the media had published about dad way before this even happened. We hadn’t even told people that it was definitely my dad, yet it was on the news and people were already asking us, it didn’t give us any time to process the loss we had just experienced or the release of a month of uncertainty.
Still somehow I carried on, I had forgotten how to cry, I didn’t have time to grieve as I was trying too hard to keep all of the strings that made my family together but sadly as more time went on the strings got loose.
I had to walk miles to get food to feed us although we didn’t really want to eat, we were given coupons for the supermarket which I used to pay for the shopping and it made me feel so uncomfortable. I am so glad however the food bank exists as when things got really bad they sympathized with our situation and gave us a large amount of food, I encourage you all to donate to your local food bank as much as you can, you never know when you will be the one in need. Since the event I have donated a large amount to my food bank.
I had to encourage Mum to move house and support her with the process since she could not move around the house without thinking of my dad, every day since the day he had gone missing was extremely hard work, from the time we woke up till we eventually got some sleep, if we got any. The worst part of it all was that I had to make a lot of the decisions on my dad’s funeral; I had to communicate with the funeral director whilst sitting next to my mum and ask people for requests since she needed the extra help. I was only 18; no teenager deserves to go through all of that, no teenager deserves to have to plan a funeral.
On the 28th March we said our final goodbyes, I found it so easy in the morning to get dressed in my only black dress, to curl my hair the way my dad always loved, to keep people informed and respond to sympathies. I remember the moment when I headed outside towards the car and in front of me I saw a black hearse, my dad’s coffin trapped inside, with an arrangement of flowers made to spell “Dad” and his name. In that second it clicked, I wasn’t in a nightmare, this was real life and the most important person in my life was lying in a coffin in front of me, I broke, my heart shattered and my lungs gave up, I was gasping for air between tears. My boyfriend at the time and my best friend got me into the car but I couldn’t look forward because he was there. It took me back to the time at a relative’s funeral when my dad said “Isn’t it funny that the closer you get to the front of the church, the closer you get to the coffin”; this was only about a year before.
The funeral was beautiful, the sendoff that my dad deserved. We had chosen our family friend as the rector, who made his speech a celebration of life rather than death. I learnt so much when his friends stood up to say their goodbyes, I however couldn’t move let alone use my voice to make a speech. I had so many words to say.
Hundreds of people filled inside the church and poured outside, right up to the road. Each and every person, some young and some old, took a piece of my dad’s heart with them. I wish he could see how loved he was, see each tear and hear each heart break. Friends he had many years ago travelled hours to say goodbye. He even had a motor bike gang saying their goodbyes which put a smile on our faces. He got the respect any man who worked in the army deserves when he got the guards of honor on entry to the church.
Then it was over. My dad had no idea how loved he was, I remember not long before he went missing he was upset and exclaimed that his friends didn’t care, if only he knew.
I ran into the car as soon as he was put to rest in the cold ground, a beautiful meadow in which he would have loved. It was sunny and we were surrounded by nothing but wildlife. I know that my mum saw a butterfly and it made the worst day a little bit easier, to her it was a sign that my dad was with us in spirit and he approved off his funeral.
As soon as we got home I tore off my makeup and put on a onesie and I smoked, a lot. I did not care about the judgmental looks I might get, although I didn’t get any as people seemed to understand. Almost two months of grief hit me all at once and it is why, not long after I decided to attempt taking my own life and evidently I survived.
So I really can say that I understand when someone talks about suicide, I have been on both sides of the coin and neither side are one that I want to experience ever again.
So now you know my dad’s story from my perspective and a bit more about why I have come to write this book. Now I would like you to learn more about me and how I have made it through the last three years without my best friend, my first real love.
The first few days
The first few days are the hardest, you may find that the littlest of things take a lot of your energy and the best part of you is starting to slip away, it’s very easy at this point to slip into depression or develop something like PTSD. However In most cases, like mine, there are a lot of people around you, offering support where you need it, like help getting food or sorting out the important things. I would suggest that you make the most of this and use everyone you can to help you carry on with your life, that is, if they are ok with it, try to not to push them away.
It is the worst idea to give up, although it is the most tempting path, it was the path I took, as mentioned I tried to take my own life, though I also dropped out of college in which I was doing something I loved and was doing so well at, this is something that I regret to this day. My health and hygiene suffered due to my lack of care for this new world I was living in, I was drunk most of the time and didn’t care who I hurt or what I did, this toxic path has caused me so much drama which could have been avoided.
It’s likely that one of your biggest worries is financial; this was a huge problem for us and something that is very stressful to do when you are grieving. Sadly the businesses don’t always care about you or the death; they just care about the money. Please don’t get bullied, try to take the time to go through all of the contracts or ask someone to help you so that you aren’t taken advantage of. You may get a solicitor like we did, it will take a lot of stress off your hands; just make sure you go with someone you can trust. It’s a good idea to go online and see if you can get any benefits to help with paying bills, this is especially important if the deceased was the chief income earner, like my dad was. Even the smallest amount of money can make a big difference.
You may have people telling you a million different things, which can be so overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask for space and time alone, your mental health is so important and you are vulnerable right now. Please consider talking to someone about your feelings and get support such as therapy or medicine to help you cope with each day. I didn’t have that support and I believe it is why it has taken me a while to start the grieving process. There are also a lot of hotlines that you can call for support if you don’t have anyone else to talk to, I myself have used them and I do recommend it!
When it comes to work, be open with your workplace, communicate with your manager and colleagues, they can’t fire you because you are grieving. Take all the time you are allowed off to get your thoughts together and recover as much as you can. When you go back make sure that you talk to your manager about making adjustments where you can, there are occupational therapists with most jobs and other workplaces may be able to be lenient with work times and the level of work you are required to do. Try your best to keep a normal and routine life but don’t push yourself to breaking point, this was a big mistake of mine and it has taken me over half a year to recover from it. If it ever gets too much, take a small break and let those tears out.
I have found that talking to people that have also lost someone to suicide helps, I remember reading a lot of stories on the internet so that I didn’t feel alone or like an alien, it’s good to remind yourself that you are not alone and although you have gone through such a horrible event, other people have as well and together you can create a support network. There are forums and groups all over the internet, some community’s even hold meetings for people in similar situations. Remember that losing someone to suicide is so different to losing someone from an illness as you do not get to say goodbye and it is often very sudden, though grieving over any death is very difficult.
Use the first few days to focus purely on yourself and your mental health, find out what you need to do as well as what you want to do and start to make a list in your mind. Just take it easy when you do this and don’t try to do everything at once.
A few weeks later
So those first incredibly painful days have passed and it’s now been a few weeks. The longest weeks of your life I expect. At this stage I felt like I found out who my real friends were and which family members really cared. This is because almost all of the people there for me during the time dad was missing and attended funeral, have lost contact with me or don’t want anything to do with me. I have spoken to others who have had similar situations and I don’t know why this is, I think maybe it is because people want to feel part of something and when the initial drama ends they become less interested, but this is my own personal guess. It’s very disheartening, as you need people now more than ever.
So this is the time where you need to make sure that you focus on the people who are genuine and who you know love you, they are the people who will keep you steady, who will hold your hand and keep you afloat. I would not recommend chasing after those people who left, or who don’t seem to be making an effort with you; it will take up your energy and can make you feel even worse, so it’s best to let it go. However it may be that they are hurting so much that they cannot bare to be around you, that they would rather grieve by removing themselves completely from the situation, everyone reacts different, for example, one of my dad’s friends kept making plans to spend time with me and then kept cancelling, she has made every excuse possible and now hasn’t spoke to me in over 2 and a half years, I do not think this person hates me, I just think it hurts them to see me because I am so much like my father.
Appreciate those who stay by your side and let them know how grateful you are, consider also that they might be grieving too, especially if they loved the person as well, so look after them as much as you can.
With less people around it means there will be more alone time which is great when you need space but it does highlight how empty the house is without that loved one. This is such a hard feeling to shake, so fill up that time with doing something you like to do, or at least attempt it. Try finding distractions where you can and try and look on the positive side of things. It was so hard staying in my home after my dad died, as he put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into making this house into our little home, he had refused any help so the house became his piece of work, his masterpiece, every inch of the house was a memory of him, though I learnt to appreciate the house and love all the detail and time he put into it, rather than cry over the loss. I have visited the house since, well I walked past it a few times, by the looks of it the new owners have kept the house very similar to the way my dad left it, including keeping the hedge in the front garden styled like the way my dad liked, this gives me joy as they didn’t need to do that, but they have and I appreciate it so much. The little things are so important.
It would be a good idea to use the time to write down a list of those thoughts you made, of the things you need and want to do. Once you have made the list you can decide which of the things you feel you can handle doing and cross them off as you go. Start with the smaller and most urgent tasks and work your way up to the bigger things, like packing away the persons belongings as it is a very mentally and physically exhausting task.
Financially you may still be waiting for the money left by the loved one if there is any, I know this can be so stressful when you feel so helpless, it will be reassuring to know that things will be getting sorted out, things are in progress and it won’t be for much longer. All of this is temporary and eventually your life will come back into balance, remember that!
It may be beneficial if you start to process the situation in your head, try to understand the situation, In my experience my mind was all jumbled and I kept slipping in and out of reality, sort of set on automatic, life felt like a very long dream, a bad one at that. If you can manage it, taking the time to process the situation will help you with clarity and a better chance of moving forward with your life. Let yourself feel angry, hurt, upset, the sooner you get through the stages of grief then the sooner you will start to feel a little bit more human.
I decided to do the opposite and I acted out a lot, doing things that were not what I would usually do, being a worse version of myself. I was drinking all the time, so much that the shop keepers near my house started to know me by name and would joke about me drinking alone; alcohol makes me relax so I would use that as an excuse. Alcohol is not the way forward, temporarily it may make you feel good, but you are forgetting about the hangover and the damage to your body. If you are drinking a lot, consider replacing alcohol with other things to make you feel happy.
I also created a lot of drama as a distraction, I used and hurt people just so I could feel something other than the grief, as a result of this I lost friends and got myself in some bad situations, so please do not do what I did, don’t follow me down that route as it has taken me a while to recover from it.
As months go by
After a few months you might feel a little less broken, a little more human, it is still very hard but you may find you do have some moments of happiness and that is ok, don’t feel bad for starting to enjoy life again, I think that if someone loved you then they would rather you be happy, even if they are no longer around. Don’t ever feel guilty for starting to move on with your life, you are so lucky if you are managing to get back into a routine within months of losing a loved one, embrace it in the most respectful way that you can.
We all process a death in different ways, I know some people reacted to my father’s death calmly, some it shocked and some it broke. Some people moved on in weeks, some months and some, like me it took a few years. You don’t need to be at the same pace as anyone else, your body will naturally get through this in its own time.
At this point I started to come slowly back into reality, I realized that I couldn’t sit around doing nothing, I also couldn’t continue spending money on material objects as an attempt to make myself happy. I realized how much damage I had done to my body, to my relationships and to my bank account. I decided to take responsibility of my actions and figure out how to change my life and make the changes to benefit my future, as my future at the time looked bleak and even fatal. One of the big decisions I made was that I decided to re-apply for college, which worked very well with us moving to a home closer to a college with more options than my previous, it even offered university courses, so my future started to look a lot brighter.
An issue I did have though, which I kept avoiding to address, was using my ex-boyfriend as a way to cope with the loss of my dad, I was so scared of losing someone again and needed someone who I knew would be there, a sure thing. So I went back to my ex and I did love him however our relationship was very toxic so the decision to go back to him was a bad decision. I was doing harm to both of us by staying in the relationship for the sake of feeling safe and comfortable. Naturally our relationship quickly went rocky, I was so over emotional due to my fear of abandonment, I would fight with him and then spoil him just to keep him around, It’s very important to know that just because you love someone, it doesn’t mean that you are meant to be together, sometimes is so easy to go to a safe space than face the truth and that Is what I did. That relationship did crumble quickly and it did lead to complications and drama in the future. Stay true to yourself and follow your gut, the path less travelled by can be scary and make you anxious, but sometimes it is the best path with the most rewards. I cannot emphasize how much you need to look after your mental health, get out of toxic situations and surround yourself with love, learn from the loss of your loved one and live your life fully.
I know that I really enjoyed college, I’m actually a pretty good student and I enjoy the reward of getting a good grade. Losing my dad did stunt my confidence however so I didn’t have any friends on the course other than my ex-boyfriend, though being in a social environment kept me out of my shell and encouraged me to be myself and not hide in my anxieties. I also found that talking to the tutors helped because they understood with what I went through, they made changes and gave exceptions so I could study with ease, I really do encourage you to be open with people so that they can adapt things for you.
In honesty not long into the course my ex-boyfriend had upset me and was causing my damaged heart and mind to crack once again, so I just left one lunchtime and never went back, it was the worst decision that I made, never let people ruin what you want to do. I lost my motivation when I lost dad, if things didn’t work out for me then I would stop trying as I felt like life was against me, this is where I went so wrong. If I carried on and didn’t let my ex and my emotions get to me, I would have finished my course and possibly gone to University, now I’m an adult who is still at GCSE level, finding whatever way I can to get back on track, other people my age are managers and doing well because they didn’t give up.
It is so easy to give up, I do know that but when you want to do something, take a breath, think about your life now and decide what you want in the long run. A little bit of effort can have a large reward.
However on the polar opposite of that, if you do make a mistake, it doesn’t mean your life is over and that your loved one isn’t proud of you, there is always another route to take, you just need to find it. Your loved one will be proud of you for not giving up.
The first year
The first year goes by so fast, despite feeling like each day never ends. You will find yourself wondering where the time has gone and feeling disbelief with the fact the suicide was a whole year ago.
I remember when it came to the anniversary of my dad’s death. I couldn’t understand where all the time had gone; at this point I had only just started grieving. I was grieving because for the first time, I allowed myself to, which is very important.
I ended a dead end relationship and embraced the single life, sleeping with different boys every other day, not caring about my health and the damage I could do to myself. After all they couldn’t leave me if we were never together in the first place. My emotions were all over the place and it’s like my body knew when the day was coming up as I just felt so drained. All the progress I had made was crumbling away and I felt like I was in a never ending cycle, every time that my life got good and I was happy, the world would crap on me. I felt cursed.
It wasn’t until the anniversary of his death that I decided to visit his grave for the first time, some people they like to visit the grave often and talk to the person, for me it doesn’t help me, I just wanted to see the state of the grave and leave a flower. Making sure that his grave is not destroyed is my way of showing him that I still care.
I put a rose on his grave and tidied up the weeds to make his grave a lot prettier, after all my dad was a keen gardener and hated mess. I could tell that people had been visiting him so that made me feel so happy that he is not forgotten. It’s refreshing to know that people still love and miss my dad, so for all those saying that no one will care when you are gone, remember this book.
I was smoking more than ever and drinking what I could, for some reason dealing with his annual death date, funeral date and then father’s day, It made all the feelings so raw like I was going through losing him again. Every single event that he should have been at, every single conversation that I didn’t get to have with him, every person I wish he had met, it was all running through my head like a badly made mixed tape.
If there was any advice I could give to you, is try to take a day to remember them each year, if you can’t get the day off then maybe do it on your weekend, or any time you can find. Get loved ones together and celebrate who the person was and their life, share stories, eat and do things that they loved, keep the happy memories of them alive. Don’t let the grief consume you. Let the person live through yourself and the others who miss him.
This is what I did part way through the year and it helped, I became more open with what happened, I talked about my feelings and made the most of the memories I did have of my dad. I decided to look after number one, who is me. I know my dad wouldn’t want me depressed as it always broke his heart when I suffered. It was when I started looking after myself and living my life that my life started to reward me. I gained more friends, had an amazing work opportunity and met the love of my life.
Life is what you make it, remember that.
As years have passed
Fast forward to a few years later, three to be exact; I am in a much better place. My life has completely changed some things for better and some for worse. Obviously you need to remember that people grieve at their own pace, it’s not something you can put a time limit on. For me it’s taken three very long years to grieve, understand the situation and move on from it, although I will never fully move on.
I do not believe I am grieving anymore although I do have moments when I do. I have times when I look up all the news articles about his death, I re-read all the comments from people who knew my dad, find pages dedicated to him, I go back to the river where he was found. I watch his memorial video and look at every photo ever taken of him. However I do not think about my dad every moment of every day anymore but he is always at the back of my mind, giving me advice, he is the voice in my head reminding me of who I am, repeating the same advice he gave me years ago, like my very own guardian angel.
I hear him telling me off when I do things that he hates; like leaving empty loo rolls in the bathroom and to remember to use masking tape to avoid mess when I paint. I see his eyes in my mum’s dog, those beautiful brown eyes full of soul and I even see people who look the spit of him, except they look nothing alike, like a mirage in the form of a human. I feel like this is completely normal as despite my moments of feeling crazy, he was such an important part of my life and he still to this day runs in my blood and of course I miss him. It’s just now I can live my own life and start to think of my future rather live in the past. Do not think you are crazy or mad when you see your loved one in things; sometimes you just love someone so much that you create situations in your head to make them alive.
Losing someone will never be easy and It never fully goes away, especially with big events, for example I recently got married and it was so hard for me to walk down the aisle without him, I was a daddy’s girl, I wanted him to walk me down the aisle, cry at seeing me in my dress and put up a fight when he had to hand me to my husband. I wanted my dad to interrogate my fiancé to make sure he would look after me before he handed me over and give permission for the wedding to go ahead. I am confident that my dad would have approved of my husband; it breaks my heart that they never had the chance to meet.
I wanted my dad to help me decorate my first home, show me the ropes and dance with me while we paint the house, to cheesy 80s music. I wanted him to be the best grandad the world had ever known. I know that with all the other big events in life that he should be included in, it will sting and I think I have every right to find it hard. He would have been an important part of the memories.
I’ve also taken a big look at the affect that his suicide has had on me, my anxiety is through the roof and on some levels maybe I do suffer from the trauma of it. I have a fear of death and illness that I never had before, I think of the worst situation and get so wound up mentally that symptoms become real.
However it has also made me determined to advocate for people with mental health, my eyes have been opened to how bad health care is in regards to mental health and how something has to change, I refuse to let the story of my dad become a common thing, my dad himself dedicated a good portion of his life to helping people with their mental health and treating people with respect and dignity, regardless of who they are, this is who I aim to be. By writing this book, even if it only helps one person, then I’ve done my job. The stigma needs to be destroyed and we need to fill people suffering with mental health issues with love and not medicine alone.
I promise you that losing someone you love to suicide Is probably the hardest thing you will go through and I do not wish it on anyone, however it will get easier, which sounds so typical to say to someone who is suffering but I have been through it, every tear, panic attack and scream, I have been there and I understand.
You are loved and you must understand that mental health can take over a person and kill them from the inside so even though they are breathing, they are not alive, they cannot feel or think. Suicide is a final answer to end never ending pain and it is not something I want anyone to do but I completely understand it.
Please do not see it as selfish or spiteful, the person probably didn’t want to hurt you but mental illness can make you feel so dead that life just isn’t worth it.
The person who was once happy had ended their life way before the suicide, some people play with the idea for years until it gets too much. This is a good opportunity to check on the people around you, let them know daily that they are loved and you are there for them.
I have full faith in you, the reader, I know you can get through this; this book is my hand reached out for you to hold and support you through this. You are not alone.
About the Author
Charlotte Underwood is a young adult from Norfolk in the United Kingdom.
After losing her father to suicide at 18 years old, she promised herself that she would do whatever she could to change the way that the modern world sees mental health and to encourage society to make a change, to support those in need.
‘After Suicide’ is Charlotte’s first published book and is only available as a free E-Book.
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After Suicide is Charlotte's personal account of her fathers suicide, including before and after the event. This books main purpose is to be a support aid for people in a similar situation or people wanting to understand more about suicide and how it affects the survivor, it is not however meant to be a replacement for your doctors recommendations. This book is help from someone that understands. In this book, Charlotte will take you through the her version of her fathers suicide, she talks about the time he got ill, the time he went missing and the time his body was found, through to his funeral. Charlotte then goes on to talk about her own recovery and battle with grief, she explains how she coped with the utmost honestly, the things that helped her and the things she wishes she never did. Charlotte also talks about ideas in which she thinks would benefit a person grieving a suicide such as things that she would have done if she could re do it all. This is Charlotte's first ever published book, a book that may not be of literary perfection but comes straight from the heart.