Jacqui’s husband, Mike, had had mental health problems for some time. In 2006 Jacqui came home to find that Mike had died by suicide. He had hung himself. Jacqui has had counselling and has started her own email support group, Widowed by Suicide Support.
Jacqui’s husband, Mike, had had mental health problems for a number of years. He had attempted suicide in 1994, when he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
In January 2006 Mike went off to work. Jacqui thought he seemed a bit flustered and she felt a little worried, but decided that because this was not particularly unusual she would go to work herself.
When Jacqui returned from work she found she could not open the front door. She returned to her place of work to get some help and returned to the house with a colleague. They managed to enter the house via the back door and there they found a suicide note. Upstairs they found that Mike had hung himself. They called the emergency services, and they also called friends, who were medically trained and who tried resuscitation, but this was not successful. The police, the GP and Mike’s boss arrived soon afterwards.
Jacqui was taken to her children’s school by the police. There she had the difficult job of telling her children, aged 11 and 15, that their father had died.
Mike’s body was taken to the hospital for a post-mortem examination. He was then taken to a chapel of rest, where Jacqui went to see him. The funeral director contacted the procurator fiscal. He had to wait until the paper work was ready before allowing the memorial service and cremation to go ahead. There was no need for an inquest because there was no doubt that Mike had taken his own life.
The memorial service was an informal event. People were encouraged to talk about Mike and to share their happy memories. Jacqui chose music that Mike had liked and told people to come informally dressed. Jacqui wrote a piece about Mike which was given to everyone, so that they could have an idea of what Mike was really like, a quiet guy with a sense of humour, who wore a pony tail and shorts.
After Mike’s death Jacqui felt quite depressed and her self- esteem was at rock bottom. Her GP gave her some anti-depressants and arranged for her to have some cognitive behavioural therapy. This therapy was with a Community Psychiatric Nurse. It helped to boost her self- esteem and helped her to challenge negative thoughts.
Jacqui thought of joining SOBS but decided that she only wanted contact with others who had their lost their partners. She was desperate to finds others in the same situation. She did not want group meetings with others who had lost children, parents or brothers or sisters.
Jacqui also joined the WAY foundationand she looked at a web site called Merry Widow but she wanted more contact with other widows bereaved by suicide. Eventually she started her own support group, which is called Widowed by Suicide, for those bereaved by suicide. Jacqui says that she finds it helps her to feel she is helping others, and if she can help others in this manner then Mike’s death has not been in vain.
Jacqui’s children have been supported by friends and have not used a professional counselling service. Her son saw a counsellor from Cruse but decided it was not for him.
Jacqui feels sad that Mike took his own life and felt so low that he felt that he was doing others a favour by ending his life. Jacqui says that he had so much going for him. She does not feel angry about what happened, just a great sadness.
Jacqui was interviewed in November 2007.