Colin & Barbara’s son, Matt, found his first job as a junior doctor very stressful. In 1992 Matt was found dead in a crashed car; probably due to suicide. He was aged 24. Colin & Barbara were devastated. Colin found help from friends and family.
Colin and Barbara’s son, Matt, was very talented (see interview number 23 for Barbara’s interview). Matt was a high achiever and a good sportsman. He studied medicine at university and seemed to enjoy his days as a student. In 1991 he started his first house job, which he found stressful. He was living in a house on his own and he felt unsupported by senior colleagues. After about five months he left his job and returned home, feeling unhappy, inadequate and depressed. Matt started working for a medical publishing firm and moved to another town.
One night two police officers arrived at Colin and Barbara’s house. The policemen said that there had been an accident, and they asked Colin and Barbara to drive for over an hour to identify a young man who had been found dead in a wrecked car. Feeling shocked Colin and Barbara drove to the hospital mortuary and found their son, dead at the age of 24.
Colin felt devastated. The pain he felt from losing his son left him almost speechless. He found it quite hard to talk for a while and had a series of nightmares. He felt slightly responsible for Matt’s unhappiness because he had encouraged Matt to study medicine. Colin’s GP explained that he was suffering from an unnatural grief, which Colin found helpful.
Matt’s funeral was held at a crematorium about 10 days after he died. Some of his favorite music as played, such as A Whiter Shade of Pale. His ashes were scattered at the crematorium. Later Colin and Barbara planted at tree in Matt’s memory, at a local arboretum.
The inquest was about four months later, which Colin described as a painful experience. Colin thought that the coroner lacked kindness and compassion. The coroner delivered an open verdict, because even though Matt had left notes before he died there was still some uncertainty surrounding the circumstances of his death. Colin thought that this was the right verdict.
Colin never sought professional help or counselling to help him with his grief, nor did he join a support group.
Over the years since Matt’s death Colin says that some memories have become a little less painful. For example, from 1992 until this year Colin could not listen to New Orleans piano jazz because he associated it with his son. Now he can listen to that particular music again. Colin says that time does not heal all things but something’s get slightly better. Colin often thinks of Matt, especially at certain times, such as when playing golf, because he used to enjoy his company on the golf course.
Colin was interviewedin October 2007