A let­ter to... my son who killed him­self – and apol­o­gised for do­ing it

The Guardian - Weekend - - Family -

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 jo@sa­mar­i­tans.org.

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