Try explaining suicide to children.

From:    S
Date:    Friday, September 06, 2002 09:00
To:      J

Oh J,

Life just doesn’t get any more fucked up than this.

Barry’s mother killed herself on Tuesday morning.

It’s all so strange, I’m struggling to understand any of it. The phone rang just after 3am, phone is on Barry’s side of the bed, he answered it, groggy and said “Hello, Oh, Yes, I understand. Yes, ok.” and he hung up.

I asked who it was, he said Paul [his step-father].  I asked what on earth does he want at 3am? “Mum just killed herself” he said as he rolled over and went to sleep! I thought I’d misunderstood – I shook him and he repeated himself.  J, I was so shocked. I didn’t understand what had happened, I didn’t understand his response, I didn’t understand if it was real. I asked him to please get up. He said “No” that we’d “Deal with it in the morning”. I didn’t know what to do, I went downstairs and just sat in a daze. I didn’t understand, I don’t understand J.

Barry got up as normal and at 9am we drove to Olney. The whole day was just bizarre. Paul was carrying on strangely. He had marked across the top of his diary for the day, underlined in a squiggly line, Lottie killed herself, which is an odd fucking thing to do just hours after it happens if you ask me.  There were handwritten envelopes on the table one for Barry, one for his sister, one for his brother, and one for Paul.

Lottie was larger than life – you met her, you know, a little bit selfish, a big bit zany but I just didn’t realise capable of this.  Barry and everyone were like “we’re just not surprised, it was always going to happen.”  What the fuck?! When you came out to me on email, I was taken aback mostly because I didn’t realise or know, had no inkling so to speak. When I thought about it though I just never considered your sexuality – it just makes no difference to me whatsoever, it was more that you were going through something so big and I had no idea.  Anyway Barry at the time said he wasn’t surprised his words were “I thought it was an open secret in your family.” (What the fuck is an open secret, I don’t get it) so it seems that Lottie’s instability was an open secret – just one I wasn’t in on.

Get this, she has left instructions for her funeral, a big old English Church and burial and her request for Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ to be played loud and in full will be honoured. Bloody hell J have you listened to the words of that song?

I’ll say it again life just doesn’t get any more fucked up than this. I can’t help the kids understand cause I just don’t understand any of it myself, fuck!



From:    J
Date:    08 September 2002 06:16
To:      S

Of course life can get worse – I haven’t sent you a birthday present!  I was gonna send you a big bunch of fuck-off flowers, then Mum told me about Lottie and I cancelled the order cos I thought it might be a bit weird, you getting flowers when Barry’s Mum has killed herself.  So I’ve got my head working and I’m gonna send you something soon.

How’s Barry doing? Poor bugger.  I was gonna ring, but what do you say?  I dunno, I’m not the best when it comes to giving sympathy.  I feel it, I just don’t communicate it well. Nothing ever comes out in a genuine fashion from me, I’m too sarcastic and ridiculing. People don’t know how to take it when I try to be genuine. (It’s all about me.) How are YOU coping with it?  So what did you tell the kids? When is the funeral? Do you think Barry will go? How is Paul?

Life might suck, but at least you’re not in at work on a Sunday like me.

Happy Birthday for today.












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