Suicide is one of those words we pretend does not exist it’s a taboo word you only read about it in the news papers, it never happens to you.
Well this is a story about suicide and how it can affect people when someone takes their own life and what is left after.
Well my story starts in about 1985 a different world from today, my name is Robert and my baby sister’s name was Annette and this is what happened.
In my eyes Annette was the best sister anyone could ever have, we looked after each other which was a big deal living in our house, we always new things should not be the way they were with our parents but that’s the cards we were dealt.
It’s funny but talking with Samantha about her child hood – her mother and father had split up and a lot of her friends at school were in the same situation. Samantha is 18 years younger than me and my generation are completely different; I can think back to my school friends - and as far as I can remember both parents were still at home. That could have been because it was a majority of catholic families or people just stayed together what-ever. I don’t know if that’s for the best or not?
Our parents were alcoholics, now when you think of people with drink problems you may think they never worked and just sat round getting drunk – as I said it was a different time in the 60s & 70s, both mum and dad worked full time, dad was a electrician and mum worked as a sewing machinists at home, being drunks was one thing but there was a lot of violence as well, which was directed at mum but ended up with me and Annette being in the firing line.
Me and Annette just got on with our lives, it’s amazing how you can get used to really bad environments and the worse things are the more you just accept the pain. Our mother was just drinking constantly and loosing her mind, she suffered with mental health problems but the constant abuse both physical and mental had just left her a shell. Annette always had love for our mother and witnessing the beatings really affected her & the stepping in to help mum was one of the reasons she was getting hit herself.
For the last few years of Annette’s life she was alone as I had gone into the army just before my 16th birthday so she was just there with mum.
I was considered the enemy now, I had my own life and family so my parents some how found some moral high ground and disapproved of my wife and son. And I was not even allowed to visits with their grand child. When my battalion was deployed to Northern Ireland I had to go to Annette’s school and ask could I see her and say goodbye.
Basically in the next few years things got really bad at home for my sister and she was alone, watching the abuse and sometimes being abused. I would see Annette when I was home on leave. And she seemed to be coping with all the pain she was seeing and getting.
Mum one day had, had enough and the split up with dad. She said all the right things to Annette and me and for the first time things were looking good, Annette was happy she was having a nice mother daughter relationship; you know the thing going shopping – going for a meal. She had not really got to know Annette, she was a young lady now and mum had missed all those years with being drunk.
I can remember being home on leave from the army and getting a phone call. It was one of those times when the phone rings or someone comes to the door late at night and you know its bad news. Well my bad news was Annette was in hospital after taking an overdose of my mother’s anti-depressants. Twelve 20 mg tablets are all she had taken. Well to cut a long story short the hospital staff did everything they could to the point of opening her chest and massaging her heart by hand. But she was gone, what a waste.
The point of my story is this. Annette killed herself because she came home from shopping and found mum in bed with dad, empty wine bottles all over the place. My father had come round to plead his innocents and basically my mother had him back. That decision may seem innocent in its self but look what happened. It was deemed by professionals that Annette’s death was an accident. A 15 year old girl seeking attention not Suicide. People who have lost loved ones to suicide may understand this. It was not an accident it was being let down, being let down by the person you had loved and tried to protect. She was 15 years old and tired, tired of being punched and kicked.
My parents could not accept their part in this murder; yes I have used the word murder, because they had caused this little beautiful girl so much pain, she could not take it another day. My mother had the chance to choose she chose pain and hate for herself and her children.
When my father turned up that day with his wine and insecurities & his inability to see what he had done and was going to do. He may as well of turned up with a loaded gun. There is no moral to this story - Annette was not a victim, she made the bravest choice anyone ever can, to go to sleep and never wake up.
My parents spent the next years of their lives drinking to the memory of there child, drinking to the memory of what a beautiful baby she was, drinking for any reason they could find. SORRY THERE ARE VICTIMS IN THIS STORY & HERE THEY ARE. Two victims of each other – two selfish people who should never have been allowed near children, hiding behind a verdict of accidental death. Well my mother you’ll be glad to hear drunk herself to death and as far as I know my father wonders the streets of Manchester having lost his mind, his own little private hell. Gods Good.
As for me well I spent the next 20 years blaming myself and thinking I could have done this and I could have done that. I was ashamed of myself for maybe not being the big brother I could have been. Its funny I look at the world now and she would have loved it, but she will never know it. I was sad and upset for years playing the, I am a victim role. But with help from God and a lot of close friends I am the luckiest person alive. I got to know Annette for 15 years and I would not change that for the world.