LETTER – Getting through a son’s death by suicide, a half hour at a time

Re: Mel Rothenburger column, ‘We’ve got to talk about suicide, but how do we do it?’

I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your article on suicide.  I am so sorry for the loss of your Daughter & Grandson. You are so correct in saying that losing someone to suicide is in a class all its own.  I lost my son almost 11 months ago to suicide.  He jumped off Peterson Creek Bridge on April 17.  He just couldn’t live with the mental torment anymore. He needed help and the medical system failed.

Since his death, I have been connected with many families in Kamloops that have lost someone to suicide on that bridge, over the past couple decades.  I started a petition for some sort of suicide barrier on that bridge, and Peter Milobar presented it to Legislature in November. Still awaiting the outcome of that.

I put signs up on all sides of the bridge, hoping to prevent someone else from doing the same. That maybe one of those signs will shed a fragment of light into a darkened mind, before it’s too late.  I do need to redo the signs in a way that they won’t disintegrate so quickly in the weather.  We are going to be putting weather resistant stickers on the railings of the bridge, once Spring comes, with the crisis number on them.  Hopefully that will help someone in that dark, hopeless moment.

I do somewhat understand how your daughter would have been feeling after losing her son.  Austin was 17 and is now Forever 17. His birthday was just yesterday. He should have been 18 and graduating with the rest of his friends this year. I should be planning Grad, seeing his Grad pictures. I have two older children and one younger child that is 16.

There have definitely been times that I wanted to join my son and wondered how life is suppose to go on, without that part of me. I feel incomplete daily and know that I have to continue and be strong for my other children, and now Grandchild on the way.  It is hard though.

Some days, I just get through it, half an hour at a time. I have learned a lot about the after life since Austin’s death. He does let me know that he is still with me, in various ways.  I am thankful for that and it helps me get through this life without him, a bit easier.

When reading your article, I felt that I should reach out. Let you know that I empathize with you and your family’s situation. Again, thank you so much for your article. If there is anything I can do to help in changing the stigma around mental health and suicide, please feel free to reach out.

Thank you,

NOTE: Kym Gallagher’s petition can be found at here. A story on her petition was also published by last August.

About Mel Rothenburger (7035 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on LETTER – Getting through a son’s death by suicide, a half hour at a time

  1. Tony Brumell // March 20, 2019 at 4:55 PM // Reply

    was not aware of these actions that hit you so hard.I was not aware because it was non of my buisness. I am an outsider .Even with the recent celebration of life we attended I was an outsider and could not talk of my feelings .Therein may lie the reason we don’t talk of suicide.It is far to intimate for anyone outside the family.or circle of close friends.Even within the family it may beyond any known level of perceived intimacy.
    Suicide does not have to be caused by imbalance or grief or dispair .It can be a rational decision based on the perception of what lies ahead.In some cases the decision to end ones own life can be a form of closure that can’t achieved otherwise because the rest of your world does not understand or agree with your rational.So many people get it all twisted with religion or even spirituality.It needn’t be either. In some case it may even be caused by them.
    While my grief is heartfelt ( though distant ) for your loss it is also heartfelt for theirs.,but I do not question their motives or goals.
    I don’t know if we need to talk about suicide.It could cause some to rationalise an ill thought out decision.An individual who has even one truly intimate contact may well discuss it with them.If not then the decision is soley theirs.And not to be questioned or condemend by those who were not intimates and would judge them according to their own lights.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 1d

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