A letter to... my son who killed himself – and apologised for doing it
Don’t be sorry. You go to great lengths in your suicide note to apologise. You tell me, “Mom, I’m so, so sorry.” You tell us that no one is to blame for this, that it’s all on you. You say your entire letter is really just a giant apology.
You don’t have to apologise. You were as perfect a son as
I could have hoped for. You were my hero. You were loved and adored. We shared so many perfect times. I’ll always be especially grateful for our regular meals out over the past few years, just the two of us. You were the food-lover who researched the new and best places.
Everyone liked you and you were kind to people, because you cared about them and their feelings – maybe too much. Your kindness was always on display, but your sensitivity, its depths and impact, was less visible.
As a boy, you completed a school assignment that had to include photos that represented you, and you chose one from when you were eight. You stood beside the water, a wary half-smile on your face, showing off your new fishing rod, fresh catch dangling from it. You said it was one of the worst days of your life. You were smiling because a family friend had bought you the rod and you didn’t want to disappoint him. You found looking at the hooked fish unbearable: you could feel their pain and fear. Another time, you told your girlfriend that you felt other people’s pain – and I understand now that you really did. It was real for you.
Those were the only times you revealed to me the degree of your sensitivity. Your way was to hide it. And once you thought you had found a way out of the darkness, once you decided to end your life, you hid that, too. You couldn’t bear for us to have to feel pain the way that you did.
That you carried a dark side that you felt you couldn’t share, that the burden became so great you saw no other way out from it is nothing to be sorry for. If anything, we failed you – the world, your family, me. We owe you an apology.
Thinking about the strength it took to be you overwhelms me. Surviving that required superhuman strength. And you were just a human, a son, a brother, a friend, and the sweetest, loveliest man I’ll ever know. Don’t be sorry. Be at rest. In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email email@example.com.