It was very early on a Sunday morning. I’d been out the night before and couldn’t sleep, so I went for a walk at about 6am. I walked to a park nearby and towards the park’s tennis courts. It took me a little while to process what I was seeing, then I realised that I was looking at someone who had died by suicide. It all felt very surreal, like I was watching a frightening film – it didn’t feel like it was happening to me.
The ambulance came very quickly, with three crew members. As they rushed by me to get to the scene, I remember one of them squeezed my shoulder as he passed. That moment was really important to me at the time, it was a very compassionate thing to do even when he was in an emergency situation.
They took my details and I was told I could go home, but first I just sat there for a bit and had a cry. I was living in a shared house at the time and it was still really early, so nobody was up yet. The next thing I can remember was waiting until it was a reasonable hour, then calling my mum. I cried down the phone to her.
I do remember having a very strong feeling about the place itself, which was very close to my house. It’s a popular park where we would go to play tennis and barbecue. And it did feel kind of haunted. I like walking, especially in the evenings, but now the park felt slightly off limits.
What happened that day opened my eyes to how fragile life can be. And to really try to offer opportunities to other people to talk and to share their feelings.
It’s quite difficult to ask for help when something like this happens. It might be easier to shy away from such tough emotions. But if it happens to someone you know, check in with them often, not just in the first days but in the weeks, months and even years after. It has been about six or seven years since all of this, but I can still feel emotional about it.