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Making sense of suicide

A man and girl hiking
Warning: this story contains sensitive information. For support with any of the issues discussed below please visit the BBC Action Line or BBC Headroom.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 50*. Inevitably this means many children and young people are left struggling to cope with the sudden and tragic loss of a parent.  For sisters, Sienna and Emelia, facing a sudden bereavement has been really tough but thanks to your donations, they have found help and support from KEMP Hospice, who have offered them both counselling and the ability to understand their grief.

*source: NHS England

Sienna’s story

On the 15th March 2020 my dad passed away from suicide. I was only eleven years old and it came as a complete shock as he was the most kind and caring person.  When I found out that my dad had died everything around me went in slow motion and I felt like I couldn’t move. I found it hard to cry at first because my whole body went into complete shock. At the time I didn’t know what to call these feelings as they are things that I had never felt before. I remember seeing my family crying all around me and I felt paralysed.

I remember my mum telling me that my dad had taken his own life. It felt like I had been punched as I didn’t understand how or why this had happened. My dad was always smiling and we had so many happy times together, so why? I thought that for him to take suicide he must have been really sad. My dad danced a lot on my Tik Toks, we went running together all the time and we laughed a lot so it didn’t make sense.

My mum said that my dad had become worried about Covid and he felt that he couldn’t protect us. It’s really confusing but I now know that he must have been really ill for this to happen. This still makes me feel really angry sometimes.

For the first few months we went to live at my Nana and Grandad’s house. I got so low that it was hard to get up, wash my hair or be motivated to do anything. It was hard to see everyone sad and I was worried about my mum and sister. To make things even harder, lockdown started and we had nowhere to go. I felt trapped. I found myself feeling numb and I felt like I couldn’t speak to anybody as they had lost someone very important to them too. My family wanted me to talk but I just  didn’t want to make them upset.

During lockdown we began to speak to a counsellor from KEMP Hospice who gave us things to do as a family. When I started school I had my own counsellor that spoke to me over zoom. He has helped me to understand all the different feelings that I have. He listens when I tell him what I have researched about suicide and how it helps me to make sense about what happened to my dad. I find it really hard to trust that people won’t leave me and I get really anxious that something will happen to my mum and sister. I’m getting better at this and he has helped me to think of ways to handle my emotions, like if I am sad, anxious or angry etc.  I now speak to my counsellor face to face and I’m glad he’s there to support me.

When I look back on how I was when it happened, I can see how far I’ve come already. I know my dad would be proud of me and even though he’s not here we are happy still. It’s not ok what happened to him but we are ok and we will keep smiling and laughing!

Emelia’s story

Emelia is Sienna’s younger sister and also shares her memories of her Dad and how she’s coping now, thanks to your support.

Hi my name is Emelia, I’m nine years old and my dad died from suicide last year. I know how he died and I find it difficult to talk about but I know that’s ok. When I find things hard or if I’m scared of something I run away. I talk about dad with my therapist. I remember my dad’s brown chocolatey eyes, he was very funny and he made me laugh (a lot). Gareth (counsellor) helped me to handle him going. He helped me to be more confident and he is there if I need him.

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