My husband was 56 when on 26 April 2003 my eldest daughter found him hanging in the shed behind our small store.
We briefly encountered the demons of depression in 1992 when Ian was treated badly in a business deal. He always thought a man’s word was his bond, the same with a handshake. But it wasn’t. He received counselling and we made it through. Though no one actually told us he had depression, I know that I didn’t know. How naive was I – I had never encountered it before.
Ten years later towards the end of 2002 Ian’s nerve deafness gradually started to become worse. He so badly wanted it corrected with the help of new technology in hearing aids, so he could hear everything at our daughters wedding in Feb 2003. Unfortunately it didn’t happen and all our expectations went out the door. For the first time since 1992 I could see him slipping away from me. For 2 weeks he withdrew from his friends, this wasn’t the happy, confident man I loved. Again it passed.
On our daughter’s wedding day it was a wonderful day, he said it was one of the best days of his life. As well as all this happening, we also were having trouble in our workplace. This incident was the final straw for Ian. Again he trusted someone, and again it backfired. No wonder I’m so cynical these days.
Ian’s first attempt at hanging was the day before Good Friday 2003, it was at work and the rope broke. He fell to the ground distraught and absolutely humiliated and ashamed that he could do this to his family. He said, “I love you all so much, how could I do this to you-” He could not remember the attempt nor feel the rope burn around his neck.
On being admitted to hospital for 48 hours I discovered Ian’s doctor knew he had suicidal tendencies, as he was advised of this by a psychologist who saw Ian only 4 days before. Yet nothing was done to advise Ian of this fact. Lack of duty of care as far as I’m concerned.
A week after the failed attempt he was successful, again at our shop. Like lots of people, I complained profusely about lack of follow up care for Ian. No-one to my knowledge rang him to check on his welfare, I was told nothing, about who to call should I need help, but then I suppose I shouldn’t find that totally surprising!!
The weekend Ian died, there were also 3 other hangings in our area. Maybe the tragedy of suicide has to affect those in control of our health system, before they really take it seriously.