In 1981 Rachel’s mother took her own life. She was probably ill with depression when she used a gun to kill herself. Rachel was 15 at the time and was not offered any professional support. Since then she has had some counselling, which has been helpful.
After Rachel’s birth her mother experienced post-natal depression. This happened again after her next daughter was born. This depressive illness seemed to last for the rest of her life. When Rachel was aged 12 or 13 her mother took an overdose of tablets and was admitted to hospital but recovered.
In 1981, when Rachel was aged 15, her mother took her own life by using a gun to shoot herself. This was a huge shock to all the family. Rachel’s father was traveling overseas at the time and came home immediately. Rachel’s mother was cremated and her ashes were placed in a churchyard near to the family home. Rachel remembers the memorial service and the vast number of people who came to remember and honour her mother. Rachel did not attend the inquest but thinks that the verdict was death due to suicide.
When Rachel’s mother died Rachel found it hard to believe that her mother was dead. She felt that other people did not know what to do so they tried to carry on life as normal. Her grand-mother, other relatives and nannies looked after the children when her father was working overseas.
Rachel was not offered any professional help or counselling at the time of her mother’s death and over the years the family has found it hard to talk about what happened. Ten years after her mother’s death Rachel sought some professional counselling, which she found helpful.
Rachel still feels upset and sad when she remembers what happened to her mother. She also feels annoyed that others seem to judge her differently because her mother took her own life. Rachel objects to the stigma attached to suicide and thinks that perhaps her mother took a brave step by ending her life and by giving up so much.
Rachel’s confidence was affected by her mother’s death but over the years her confidence has returned. She is glad that she has built a good life for her husband and children. She feels that it is important to tell people when she is happy or when she has had a lovely day. She realises that life is too short and wants to make the most of it.
Rachel was interviewed in September 2007.