How does a father cope with the loss of a dear son?

It is difficult to know how anyone feels when they lose a child, especially when they choose to take their own life.  You can never think anything like that will happen to you.  I am very fortunate in that as a family we are very loving, we show our feelings and we can talk to one another.

Our son Malcolm chose to take his own life on 19 March 2000, he was 23.  He suffered from depression for two years.  He went on holiday the previous August with his girlfriend and her parents, they had a great time.  He had put his weight back on and returned to his old self.  He was fun loving, outgoing, life and soul of the party, always cracking jokes and oozed confidence.  He returned to work in October and appeared to be doing well.  We started going out playing snooker and to the local again.  He was not only my son but my best mate as well.

At the end of October he did an abseil down the side of the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool and proposed to his girlfriend when he reached the bottom.  In January he bought the car of his dreams.  All seemed to be going well.

Then the nightmare began, my world was falling apart.  I felt pain like I have never felt before, it was an ordeal to do anything and the guilt was tearing me apart.  I had counselling through work and that seemed to help.

We contacted SOBS and attended a Conference at the Daresbury Park Hotel last October.  Since then my wife and I started attending the support group in Lymm.  We realised we were not on our own.  We met others who had suffered the same pain and they understood and emphasised with us.  These people have now become our friends.  If it was not for SOBS I do not think I could cope as well as I have done.  The pain is still there and I am adjusting to a new way of life.

There are days when I hear a tune, visit a place, go to a function or just have a thought and the pain returns.

Some men find it difficult to talk or show emotions because men are not supposed to cry, it is not macho, their ego is tarnished, all I can say is “Does it matter what others think?  Women can show their emotions why can’t men”.

We have gained a lot from attending the Lymm group and had so much support, comfort and friendship.  It encouraged my wife and I to open up our own group in Bolton with the help of Lewis who works with my wife, at Bolton hospital.

There are not enough groups to cope with the demand and we have people coming from a vast area.

If I could give buckets of time to the loved ones left behind, I would, although time does not release you of the pain you feel.

There is not a day goes by that I don’t think of Malcolm, I cope by remembering the good times and keeping busy.  It is the quiet times that are worse, when I have time to think and reflect.

A Father’s account by Noel Taylor (Bolton Group)