Sunday, 27 December 2009

Tough times...

I naively thought the end of the school year would bring a time of relaxation and reflection. I was only half right and instead of relaxing I've learnt that exposure to the opposing ends of the life cycle brings out not only the most sadness but also the best in people.

Sadness as Paula's father, Paul, took his own life on the 21st. He'd struggled with severe depression for much of this decade and this wasn't his first attempt at ending his life. His sense of isolation was always worse in the winter and perhaps this was one year too many. He certainly didn't suffer from lack of love or family support... although when someone's under the power of depression it is hard for them to realise this.

Such terrible news brings home how hard life can be and how often unconditional love isn't enough to help people see the best and the good in life. However, despite the difficult years Paul's legacy will be his three wonderful daughters. All are highly successful and happy women who have a positive impact on society every day through their work. That doesn't happen by accident, it takes hard work by two committed and loving parents and Paul will certainly be remembered by Paula as a loving and hard working father.

I asked Paula whether she would mind if I was clear about how Paul died. People seem troubled by suicide but I think it's very important to directly address the stigma associated with mental illness and depression. Depression has touched me in many different ways and since it works so hard to suck the love and light out of people it's the hardest of all diseases to fight. Having watched how Paul struggled with his illness, and what an effect it had on his daughters, I don't want to belittle his efforts and the efforts of his family by not talking about how he died. He wasn't a coward or weak, he was just someone who felt, wrongly in my opinion, that he was alone and that life was simply too hard to endure.

Paul will be remembered by us at his best, as a loving and committed father.

From paulas family, cross and track

1 comment:

GeeTee said...

Big Hugs to P and her family. Lots of love from Riyadh,G.