Hi Ada, would you like to share your story with me?

I lost my dad to suicide when I was three years old. At first, I did not know he had died by suicide. I learned more about it when I was 11, which brought on new and tricky thoughts and feelings.

I’m so sorry, I can’t imagine how hard that was for you.

Thank you. It still affects me, and while I am coping, I do continue to struggle with it. At first, it was really hard and awkward to reveal the true circumstances of his death to my friends and other people while trying to work my way through this new truth.

What was that time like for you?

On top of my own feelings, I was confused and wondered about how he was feeling at the time. My sister really helped me to come to an understanding of it.

I’m glad you had someone close to support you.

She was great. Mum and Mum’s family have been so open about talking about dad and the subject of suicide and have provided a safe space in our family.

That sounds like it has been helpful. Is there anything that makes things harder for you?

People chucking out comments at school like “I want to die,” or “I want to kill myself,” over little things such as a math test or having to wear a blazer. These flippant comments take a horrible event like suicide and make a complete joke or mockery out of it.

That is awful and must be horrible to hear.

When people laugh about suicide or speak about it in a joking manner, it is like my dad and his life do not matter at all. It makes me feel like my feelings of bereavement do not matter. It makes a difficult situation even harder.

What do you wish people understood about your story?

People with lived experience can share their stories so that others know we are here, we are not in the shadows. We are actual people and suicide is not just an idea, it is something real that has happened to us. We can help connect the dots about what they’re saying can affect people.

How are you doing now? How do you honour your dad’s memory?

Being able to talk about everything with mum and my sister at any time helps. It feels normal to talk about dad. I don’t want to just associate my dad with the sad stuff, it is nice to hear other parts of him and share happy stories with other people who knew him and were close with him.

It helps to be able to talk about it openly and be validated and not feel like you should be over it because some time or a lot of time has passed.