Lucy’s partner, Darrell, committed suicide in 2005. He drove his car in front of a train. He had been depressed but his suicide was a complete shock to Lucy. She has found support through family and friends and via an online group, Widowed by Suicide.
Lucy and her partner, Darrell, had been together for almost 16 years. Darrell had seemed a little depressed for about six months before he died. He had been to see his GP and had asked her to arrange some counselling, but the GP had only prescribed anti-depressants, which Darrell did not want to take. The GP insisted that he should try tablets before she would consider any counselling. During the six weeks before Darrell died he had highs and lows and Lucy had to try to lift him out of his depressions. Two weeks before he died he had a panic attack and then felt worried and anxious.
In November 2005 a policeman called on Lucy while she was at home and told her that there had been an accident between a car and a train and that Darrell had been killed. This was a terrible shock to Lucy. About five days later she found a file on her computer from Darrell, called Goodbye Lucy, and a letter explaining that he was feeling depressed and that he did not want to continue worrying about her or himself. It then became obvious to Lucy that Darrell’s death had been a suicide. Lucy felt relieved when she read Darrell’s letter because he said that he knew that she loved him and cared about him.
A police woman, who acted as a family liaison officer, suggested that Lucy should go to stay with a friend because she said that Lucy would need support. She also pointed out that once the inquest had been opened and adjourned the news reporters might bother her for more information. The press did call at the door wanting details of what had happened so Lucy prepared a press statement from the whole family, so that the reporters would leave them alone.
After Darrell’s death Lucy rang as many members of the family as she could, to tell them what had happened. Darrell’s body was released a few days later. Darrell was cremated and his ashes were interred in his grandparents grave.
The family liaison officer acted as a go-between, between the family and the Rail Transport Police, who were also investigating the circumstances surrounding Darrell’s death. They wanted to make sure that the crossing had been safe and that the train had been in good working order. Lucy found that all these officials were very kind people.
The inquest was five months after Darrell’s death, during which other evidence was presented, and witnesses were asked to give statements. The jury concluded that Darrell had committed suicide. Lucy thinks that Darrell was brave to end his life in this manner. She also thinks that the verdict was correct. Darrell planned everything carefully when he was alive and so any other verdict, such as accidental death, would have been out of character. Darrell had always been very meticulous, and so Lucy thinks it was fitting that the jury concluded that he had carefully planned to end his life.
Lucy went back to work three weeks after Darrell died. She found that other people did not want to talk about Darrell’s death, and they felt uncomfortable when she mentioned the subject. However, Lucy found it easier to bring up the subject and talk about it openly. This is how she dealt with what had happened. After the inquest some people expected Lucy to be back to normal, but she says that Darrell’s death has changed her whole outlook on life and that she will never be back to normal.
A year after Darrell died Lucy went to Las Vegas, a place where she had spent a great deal of time with Darrell. She felt that his spirit was there in the casinos and that in Las Vegas she could say good-bye to him. After crying for three days she decided it was time to start a new life. She is now trying to find a new normal, but she says that starting life again as a single person without a partner is very, very difficult.
Darrell’s death has improved family interaction. Before Darrell’s death she and Darrell had very little contact with either family, but both families have pulled together and now Lucy feels that she is part of Darrell’s family rather than just a girlfriend or a partner. Both families have supported her. Thus she feels that some good has come out of a terrible situation.
Most of Lucy’s support has come from family and friends. She has also joined an online support group called Widowed by Suicide. By sharing experiences by email Lucy has found help and support and has been able to support others too. Lucy’s local vicar has asked Lucy to help others who live in the community who have also been bereaved. Lucy has found it helpful to help others in this way. This work has helped her to recover.
Lucy was interviewed in December 2007