Hello, my name is Donna and this is my story.
I was lucky enough to be a mum to one child and his name is Neil. My son sadly completed suicide on the 18th September 2011 age 32.
Neil's proudest moment in his life was becoming a daddy, followed closely by becoming a barber, He was a handsome, funny, articulate, loyal man. Neil would give people my telephone number if he found out they needed support. I loved spending time with him, especially when he was in a good place. When I think of him or talk about him I smile, I try to remember his life not his death I loved him more than life itself and if I could have taken his pain away I would have, If I could swap places with him now I would in a heart beat.
I am lucky to be Neil's Mum, That does not change because he is no longer on earth, He is always safe in my heart. I have founded this charity because I shared his journey, I believe I should do something in his memory to help families in similar circumstances to ours.
It is really hard for me to talk about myself and everything I went through before and after my son's death but here I go. I brought my son back to life on 2 occasions, I watched him lying in a hospital bed in a induced coma and did not know if my son would survive. I watched in horror as 2 hospitals allowed my son to leave with no support in place. I ran around hospitals attempting to get him admitted for help, I had to listen to him as he asked me why I had saved him as he did not want to live. I heard how he planned to take his life and was never sure when I left him if it would be the last time I saw him alive. He called me the morning he died and he knew I was working and could not get to him in time to save him.
I found my son when I arrived at his house and I could not do anything for him. I was in a daze, this could not be true, my beautiful boy in my arms, his beautiful brown eyes lifeless, No amount of attempts to resuscitate him would work this time, His dog trying to help him, licking him and still nothing. I called 999 and the rest was blur, people came and they took me away from my boy.
I phoned my husband and told him what had happened and heard him scream. We somehow managed to get things in place for Neil's funeral it was all about the music he loved, making sure as his mum I could do one last thing for him.
My world was shattered to pieces, I did not know who I was anymore, I was Neil's mum, where did I belong now? who was I? Would I survive my broken heart?
I went through all the emotions attached to grief as you can imagine. First was denial, this could not be true, my boy gone, how was that possible, I was his mum I would have saved him. Then came anger, how could this have happened, anger at the people who treated him badly in life, anger that he was not given the support he clearly needed, anger that peoples lives just carried on when mine was in tatters, the list is endless, Depression was fast on the heals of anger, I was lost, my grief was overwhelming, I could not function even making a cup of tea was a big issue. I was lucky that I was given support by an organization who knew me and offered me someone to talk to on a one to one basis (this type of loss was not what they dealt in but they could see I had limited support), I had a fantastic GP who supported me also or I don't know what would have happened to me. Family and friends rallied round but they had their own lives and grief.
I know people think you eventually accept the situation, I can't say I believe that but you do find a way of living each day and dealing with the changes. I have always tried to make something positive happen from the negative things life has thrown at me and this situation is no different, I was aware that I was lucky to have support, I know how many people don't and that it is desperately needed.
My son believed by him not being here I would have a better life, obviously that's not the case I have a different life, I have a hole in my heart that will never heal but I hope that by experiencing what my son Neil and I have both been through Neil's Hugs Foundation can help support others going through a similar experience.
I know all I needed was a safe space to talk about my boy, someone to listen and not judge I did not want people feeling uncomfortable and afraid to say his name. I am his mum, I love him and his death does not change that, I have my memories and I want to share them good and bad, we laughed, we had arguments, we celebrated things, the way he died is not what I focus on, it's the person who he was that keeps me going. I was blessed to have my son for 32 almost 33 years and that's what I remember, not his death that was just one minute of his life.
Neil William Paterson's Mum.
Founder of Neil's Hugs Foundation.