I was so saddened to hear that Liam Treadwell had taken his life. It’s a tragic fact that young men seeing no way out but suicide is so prevalent, each time I hear of one it hurts despite not affecting me directly. Thankfully, there is huge awareness these days. People are always there to help if someone finds themselves in in such a desperate place and want to seek help or just talk.
This isn’t about before, but after, and the people left behind. 22 years ago, a friend of mine committed suicide. He had been staying with me after the break-up of his young marriage and was separated from his small child. He was upset, sad and in a bad place. In the few months he lived with me we talked and talked, and he opened his heart to me. There’s little anyone can do but listen and be there, he appeared to be at least coming to terms with things.
We lived directly opposite the pub, it was Thursday night, I asked if he wanted to pop over the road for a pint. He replied that he didn’t fancy it that night. I remember it distinctly, I got halfway down the stairs and for whatever reason, went back up and asked if he was sure. He was sat down by the music centre putting a Carl Perkins CD on. He looked to where I was on the landing, smiled and replied, ‘Not tonight mate’. I can see him now.
When I came home, he’d already gone to bed, the CD case was on the sofa and an empty bottle of wine on the table. The next morning after he’d not gotten up for work and he’d not answered my knocks. Eventually, desperately worried, I managed to get into his bedroom, he’d taken his own life with painkillers and booze, but not before writing a note to his wife and placing his feet against the door so I couldn’t just walk in.
His last words, ‘Not tonight mate’ have haunted me ever since, they haunt me every time I hear of another suicide. What if I’d stayed in, badgered him a bit more to come out, gone into his room that night to see if he was all right, what if, what if, what if?
The reality is for those that loved and cared for someone who makes that choice to leave us. Don’t blame yourselves. Ultimately, at that intimate moment they chose to end their suffering there was nothing you could do. That is because they made sure you weren’t there. It wasn’t your fault.