A year ago today, I was pottering around the garage when I heard the sad news that Gary Speed had died. Over the course of the afternoon and evening it became clear that the person who everyone saw enjoying banter on the previous day’s TV, the person who had arranged golf with his friends for the following week had in fact gone home and killed himself. In an unprecedented way, the death of a celebrity, of someone that I did not know, hit me very hard. Having suffered from depression myself in the past, I could comprehend how someone could go from outwardly bubbly and focussed to an inward resolve to kill oneself within a few hours. I struggled at that point more with the raft of unanswered questions. Questions that maybe he needed answers to, questions around why he had taken such a course and then the questions for his family and friends around whether they perhaps had always had the answers he was seeking. I shed tears and did much inward reflection as to whether he had achieved what he had aimed for and how others would cope
I wasn’t to know of course at that stage that just six months later one of my closest friends would also take a similar course. The questions once that happens are overwhelming. Constant analysis of how long she had been unhappy, whether she truly believed that this was the best way out and whether anything one of her friends could say would have made any difference. Wondering whether she had doubts or whether she indeed felt that this was the best course of action (and felt relief at that thought). Repeatedly going over the last conversations, meetings and emails to try and understand whether you could pick up any clues or could have acted any differently to create a different outcome. The real difficulty is aligning the fact that a close friend was in this position, a close friend who you thought you ‘got’ but who, as it turned out, was going through something in her head that you were never party to.
The knowledge that you can never find out the answers to any of these questions is extremely difficult to accept. We live in a world today where we can find out anything. You want to become an expert in any particular subject or event and research through the internet, books or courses will give you the answer. This is different. The answers are gone and will never be found. That mindset is tough to get to.
I guess over time it gets easier but six months on the slightest trigger, be it a song on the radio or at a concert, an event jointly attended in the past or just a news story like todays all bring back the same feeling. Not just the loss associated with losing someone close to you but the hopelessness of knowing that you will never know the answers that could possibly have changed a very sad course of events.