In 1972, when Mike was aged 18, his father took his own life. He died in his car by inhaling fumes from the exhaust. His death has had a huge impact on Mike’s life. Mike has done much to help others bereaved due to suicide, which has also helped him.
In 1972, when Mike was aged 18, his father took his own life. He died in his car by inhaling fumes from the exhaust. Mike thinks that his father was feeling depressed at the time partly because of an unhappy second marriage and partly because he had recently been made redundant. His father took his life three days after this happened.
When Mike heard the terrible news about his father’s death he was away staying with his sister, recovering from a motor bike accident. Mike felt a great sense of shock, despair and perplexity. He also felt a sense of guilt and wondered if he could have done something to prevent the suicide. His whole world seemed to disintegrate around him. Mike described the situation as his personal holocaust.
The funeral was a dreadful experience. Mike felt shattered in body, mind and spirit. Mike did not have a religious conviction at the time and so did not find any support from the church. There was little other support available to him or his sister. His GP offered him medication but that is all. Mike and his sister had to support each other. At one time his sister became depressed but the psychiatrist only offered her medication. Counselling was not offered as an option.
After his father’s death Mike buried himself in his work and found it hard get emotionally close to other people. He feared rejection once more. It was a lonely time for him.
In 1990 Mike joined a local group of people who had all been bereaved due to suicide and he later helped to facilitate the group. He also helped to develop the booklet called Help is at Hand, which is a resource for people bereaved by suicide and other sudden, traumatic death. Mike has done a great deal to help others bereaved due to suicide and he sees this as a positive thing that has come out of his dreadful experience of losing is father in this manner.
Mike’s mother died when he was only 16. He says that he has come to terms with her death because it was a natural death but his father’s death can not be healed. His father’s death still has an impact on his life, though the passage of time has helped.
Mike was interviewedin August 2007.