In 1996, Lucreta’s daughter, Dionne (also called Dominique), jumped to her death. She was 18 when she died. Lucreta had no idea that Dionne had been so unhappy, and was shocked by her death. Lucreta has found support from friends, her church, her GP, and counsellors.
In February 1996 Lucreta was shocked to hear that a young woman had killed herself by jumping from a block of flats. A policeman took Lucreta and her friend to identify the body in the mortury. Lucreta was devastated to see that the young woman was her 18 year old daughter, Dionne.
Lucreta tried to find out what had happened by visiting the place where she had died and by talking to the taxi driver who had seen her daughter before her death. She became a detective and talked to as many people as possible. She heard that Dionne had had a job interview and she wondered if this had anything to do with her daughter’s suicide.
Lucreta wished her daughter had asked her for help. Dionne had been living away from home with her father at the time of her death and Lucreta had no idea that her daughter had been so unhappy.
When Lucreta saw that Dionne was dead she felt both shocked and numb. She also experienced a mixture of feelings, including anger, sadness, fear, and guilt. She felt afraid to be alone and had a fear of the dark, and wondered if Dionne had taken her own life herself because of something she had done. She also felt a great weight on her back and a feeling that her daughter was following her as she ran the London Marathon. Lucreta found it hard to eat and lost a lot of weight. She found it hard to look after herself, and she cried and cried.
Lucreta had wonderful friends who she knew from church. These friends took care of her and helped her live from day to day. Lucreta’s faith in God also helped her to cope with her distress. However, Lucreta found that some other people expected her to recover from her loss very quickly and were not good listeners. Some blamed her for what had happened. This was very hurtful. At times Lucreta felt that she might die herself.
After Dionne died Lucreta found a note in Dionne’s diary about her love for her mother. Lucreta found this note comforting. The police also found a good-bye note with Dionne’s body. Dionne had asked for her things to be burnt with her body, so Lucreta felt obliged to arrange a cremation. She would have preferred a burial.
Dionne’s funeral was a very sad occasion. She was cremated and then her ashes were scattered in a memorial garden. For a while Lucreta used to visit the place two or three times a day.
The inquest was some time after the funeral. Lucreta found it a very distressing experience because she felt that other people were trying to blame her for what had happened. The coroner concluded that Dionne had committed suicide.
Lucreta was supported by a counsellor at work, who encouraged her to write down her feelings, which she found helpful, and she started writing a book. She has since started writing poetry again.
When the counsellor left her workplace Lucreta went to see her GP, who prescribed anti-depressants. These seemed to help but had side effects and made her feel as though she was not on this planet. Lucreta also saw a counsellor who worked at her GP’s practice. She still sees this counsellor from time to time. The counsellor helped her to see that she was not to blame for Dionne’s death. Lucreta also had some psychotherapy to help her cope with her grief and her memories of Dionne’s death and her fear of passing the building where the suicide took place.
Lucreta can now sleep with the light out, she can cook, and look after herself and is running again. She feels that life is good again, and she can make decisions about her life. She finds it easier to talk about suicide than she did in the past. Lucreta has been able to help other people who have been bereaved through her work with her church.
As the results of Dionne’s suicide Lucreta spends more time helping other young people in the area. She looks out for any signs of distress and she has set up a fund to help young people.
Special festivals, such as Christmas, are still difficult times for Lucreta. She particularly misses Dionne on these special occasions.
Lucreta was interviewed in January 2008.