Simon took his own life in the early hours of the last Sunday before Christmas 2014, I don’t know why and I don’t know how, and while I sometimes wish I knew the former I’m glad I don’t know about the latter. I can’t tell you about either of those things, but what I can tell you about is who my older brother was.
When somebody passes away it seems traditional to eulogise them; to remember all their incredible achievements, the wonderful aspects of their character, and the miraculous person that they were.
While my brother was a remarkable person in many ways; he was a loving father to his beautiful son, a caring son himself to our parents, and the archetypal big brother to both myself and my sister in shaping the people we became and influencing us in ways that we may not have even realised. At the same time, and in many other ways, he was completely unremarkable; he was a 36 year old man, he worked behind a desk, he liked beer, he liked football, and he liked music. He was every man.
So why did I feel the need to tell you about my brother given that many outsiders might say there was nothing out the ordinary about him?
Well, quite simply, because he was relatively ordinary.
He was just a man. He was the man that you play 7-a-side with every week. The man that you meet at the pub for a few drinks after work. He was your best mate. He was you.
He was a normal man just like me or you, and he had the same sort of problems that me and you encounter.
And when my brother took his own life that December morning that’s when it truly hit me that if mental health issues can affect somebody like my brother then it really can impact on anybody no matter who they are, and we have the opportunity to speak about those issues when they strike so we should use it.
Unfortunately my brother didn’t talk to me about what had been on his mind leading up taking his own life. While over the last almost six months some people have suggested I should be angry about that, I disagree. It just made me realise how difficult speaking can be, how tough it can be to open up about things, how hard it is to put your shame or your pride to one side and tell someone how you are feeling.
Nobody should feel too ashamed to talk, nobody should feel too proud to speak, and thankfully we have the Campaign Against Living Miserably here to help us if we ever feel like Simon did. So let’s tell everyone about it; our brothers, our dads, our sons, our 7-a-side teammates, our friends at the pub, everyone. Every man.
If you’ve been bereaved by suicide, you can find information, resources and support HERE
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