It’s a Monday night and the mood is upbeat, sitting in the briefing cakes floating about the room, giggles all round. We finish up the briefing and the skipper as usual tells us to be safe out there and make sure that if we need any help we let them know.
I log onto the box and have a look at what’s going on, there’s a person that’s threatening to take their own life and as I read the details I get shout out from control on my call sign to attend the address and make sure they’re okay.
I arrive at the address promptly within 6 minutes, no sign of anyone there. Banging and banging on the door and finally this little outline of a body comes towards the front. It’s a kid, probably 10 years old telling me off for waking his mummy up, I apologised and asked if his father was around as I needed to speak to him. The boy said he was at work and hasn’t seen him today, the mum comes down the stairs confused as to why I’m there and has said the same. 5 minutes later once the situation is explained comes the frantic scared look on her face.
I was told where I might find him, but also that he would never ever take his own life. He wouldn’t leave his little boy and his soul mate behind it’s just a misunderstanding.
Sadly, after just 15 minutes I find his body, hanging in the woods for what must’ve been a few hours by now. Unfortunately his friend who told us of the texts was asleep at the time and had only just woken up and told us.
I then had to go and inform his wife that he had indeed taken his own life and that his body has been found. Can you imagine the pain and suffering that she will endure with her son, it might sound selfish but I have to suffer delivering the message too. It’s not nice and it’s not easy, I’m about to shatter their world into a thousand pieces.
I delivered the death message, had a family liaison officer in touch and that was that. Job done and off I go to the next one (after some paper work of course).
Two weeks later we get a call from a concerned neighbour about the address this now widow lives at. I was the only unit available, single crewed, to attend and check all is in order. I arrive and the lights are on, TV is on and everything is as you would expect.
BANG BANG BANG on the door as I try to get the attention of whoever is inside. BANG BANG BANG.
I see a shadow moving in the hallway but not coming to the door, I didn’t like this one bit and considering what has happened recently I decided to force entry.
It’s the kid, that 10 year old little boy. He’s crying, not your usual crying, the crying where you can’t actually breathe. White in the face. What’s happened? I ask, where’s your mum?
He points upstairs, I run up there and I know what you’re thinking, because I was too.
There she was, on the bed, motionless. Boxes upon boxes of tablets and medication all empty, all sorts of liquid out of her mouth that seems to have dried.
My heart broke, I called for the ambulance but I couldn’t see any life saving opportunities. This poor kid downstairs is mortified. He whole world has ended in the space of two weeks. I have to go home knowing that I couldn’t have done any more than I did before but now that little boy doesn’t have any parents.
I went home that evening, sat down and had dinner with my family, I have a wife and a son who is 11 years old. I sat there and looked at her, looked at him and just broke down into tears. They have no idea what I’ve had to go through that day or the one two weeks before. The thought of losing my wife or my son not having any parents breaks my heart and the job really got to me that day.