MIND THE GAP - Kyle Surman
By Sally Griffiths
I will never forget the day I found out that you had left us Kyle. I was out walking with my friend and our dogs in the middle of one of the lockdowns in November 2020 and when I was told that you had died by suicide it felt like I had been physically punched in the stomach and I felt physically sick. I recall blindly crying out NO, I didn’t want to believe that you were no longer with us. I felt like I had failed you.
I knew you were struggling with your mental health as we talked about it and you would reach out to me. I even came with you to a psychiatric assessment and listened as you were told that you were not ill enough to be able to have professional help, that you were not ill enough with the demons that had tormented you and dragged you down for many years, that you were not ill enough despite the previous attempts you had made on your life and the release you said you found through self-harming. I watched as strong relationships faded as you battled more and more with the demons inside your head and you withdrew yourself just only giving us a glimpse when you were able to put on a brave face.
The shock of you leaving us will never go away. There were the weeks that we had to wait until we were able to see you, to see what we had been told was really true. It was heartbreaking to walk into that room to see you lying there in your coffin, to touch your cold body and to try to comprehend that you were no longer here with us. I see first hand the impact it has had on your children – your son and two daughters. The upset and confusion it has caused them in their young lives. Your eldest daughter was worried that you would be cold in heaven and wanted to leave her hat, scarf and gloves outside for you so you could keep warm. We then had to go through the pain of organising your funeral with numbers restricted at the time because of covid. Everything was so difficult as we wanted to ensure it all would have been something you would have chosen for yourself – the photos, the music, the words – all hitting home that you were no longer with us. I was kept busy doing the organising and then in January BOOM I was alone with my thoughts and my guilt. I don’t know how many ‘IF ONLYs’ I have come up with, if only I had checked in on you more, if only I had been able to get you better help then perhaps you would still be here today.
The guilt became too much and I knew I had to seek professional support. This is when I got in contact with a local suicide bereavement charity https://www.petesdragons.org.uk/ to seek professional help. Over time they have helped me to realise that the decision was yours. They have taught me how to compartmentalise the images I had, particularly at night.
I miss you every single day Kyle, we all do. I named a star after you – Daddy Kyle – for your children. Every night I find the brightest star in the sky and blow you a kiss and tell you how much I miss you and how much I love you. I talk about you to your children as I don’t want them to forget you. Every year on the anniversary of your death we remember you. Your son and I will eat some of your favourite things – steak – not blue how you liked it though!, Lucozade, Pringles and light a candle for you and your son always sends some balloons up to you in your red and white colours. I look for you in rainbows, I miss you so so much and it breaks my heart that I cannot tell you that.
If you are reading this and contemplating suicide I beg you, please reach out and get support. There are many charities out there, you do not have to be alone with whatever you are feeling. Please do not leave a star shaped hole in your loved ones life because it can never be filled.