Ross, my big brother.
Ross was third son out of five sons that my mother had. I am the fourth so Ross would have been about 36 when he took his own life. He lived in France for most of his married life with his two daughters and one son. Admittedly i barely spoke to him unless he would come back on rare visits to the UK.
I don’t remember the specific date but it was sometime in April 2013 when I had received a phone call from another of my older brothers. I was out with a friend in the nearest town to us and we had to pick up a package and hoped to get some lunch and enjoy a little road trip. We were just arriving into town when i answered my phone and brother told me that Ross had hung himself and had only 2 hours to live.
I could barely make out his voice through his tears and crying. I sort of froze. It just didn’t compute. My friend asked me in an innocent caring way if everything was ok. I simply replied, “um..no, o dont think so…actually.” That was all i could say.
My friend went to pick up her package after we parked up and i went to the nearest pub to have a really strong drink and numb the growing despair and shock. I ordered my drink, sat down and just stared at it. I don’t know how long i sat there. Probably not more than 20 minutes when i realised that i had to tell my Mum. I knew that nobody else would even consider her in this knowing my family. I also knew that by telling her I would be tearing her whole world apart. My head was all over the place by that point and just didnt think about what i was doing except that i knew that i had to do it so nobody else had to. I had to spare family and anyone else from doing this.
I told her.
She begged me that it wasn’t true.
We said our goodbyes and she was screaming and crying as we hung up.
The most horrible thing I have ever had to do.
In the months afterwards, I would stay with my Mum for a little while and see some of my family.
He had to be cremated in France as we could not afford to bring him back home. Instead we held a service for him attended by his family and friends.
I will never forget my Mum crying by his grave stone as the rain came down. I stood there just back a little from her. My grandfather stood the same distance away and i heard him say (mostly so nobody could hear him) “Oh Ross. My boy.” He then walked away so as to not show his tears to my Mum. I said nothing. I stood there gradually getting soaked. I felt myself really welling up. I took my Grandfather’s approach and walked away so as my Mum didn’t see me. I needed to be strong like I had been already.
This is the most horrible story I have ever had to tell and the worst part is, it is all true. This happened in the spring of 2013 and it will stay with me forever.
Let’s reach out to people together. This does not need to happen anymore.