Ann’s friend died in 2003. It appears that her friend died from an overdose and exposure. Ann has found support through her faith in God, from counselling & from her GP. She has set up a support group for others, linked to SOBS. She finds this comforting.
Ann’s close friend and business colleague died in September 2003. Ann had known her friend for over 20 years. One day she disappeared. She left a note to say that she could not cope with life anymore. She was missing for a month and was found in a field by a man and his dog. It appeared that she had either died of an overdose or due to exposure.
While her friend was missing there was a great deal of media attention, which Ann found quite intrusive. However, the police needed to put pictures up everywhere to make the public aware that Ann’s friend was missing.
Ann suspected that her friend would not be found alive because she had taken a serious overdose 25 years previously. Her friend had had certain unresolved difficulties since childhood. She had also had to cope with chronic fatigue syndrome for many years and felt she was a burden to others.
Ann understood that her friend had been in great mental distress and so she understood why her friend wanted to die. However, although Ann felt glad that her friend was at peace she felt devastated by her friend’s death. She felt shocked and let down and terribly frustrated. At one stage Ann screamed and screamed until she lost her voice.
About three weeks after her friend’s body had been found Ann was able to arrange a church funeral. This was followed by a cremation. Ann also arranged a memorial service. Many friends and business colleagues attended that service.
An inquest was held sometime later. The coroner delivered an open verdict because although Ann thinks her friend meant to die she did not make it clear that she was going to commit suicide and it is possible that she died of exposure. However, the papers reported the death as suicide.
By November, two months after her friend’s death, Ann was feeling very depressed. Her GP prescribed anti-depressants, which she took for 18 months. The medication seemed to help. Ann also talked to many friends. One friend, who was a trained counsellor, offered her counselling skills free. Ann was grateful for her support and found this counselling valuable. However, she also longed to talk to others who had also been bereaved due to suicide, so in February 2006 she set up a self-help group, linked to Survivors of Bereavement through Suicide [SOBS]. Ann says that she find these meetings a comfort because she can share her experiences with others who have been through the same type of bereavement. Ann has a deep sense of the presence of God, which has also been a great comfort to her.
Now, four years later, Ann finds it comforting to go and sit quietly in the crematorium beside the memorial plaque that she had made for her friend. She feels happy at times, but she says that the passage of time never takes away the sorrow she feels about her friend’s death. She will never forget the person she loved.
Ann was interviewed on 15th August 2007.