Perhaps it's partly because he was so full of life, that it seems impossible that he's gone. And I really do hope that he is at peace now in a better place. Perhaps because I always adored Dead Poets Society, about the power and passion of words. Something I get. Perhaps because he may have died as a result of depression and addiction, both of which have touched my life in different ways.
I admitted to feeling very low last year. I'm reluctant to say I was depressed, as I regard myself as fundamentally optimistic, but situations can take me to dark places. There are days when I miss my Dad so much that I wonder what I would do if I didn't have three children who need my care so much. And other days when the needs of two of them become so overwhelming and I see no hope of that changing and I feel I'm failing as a parent anyway, and I wonder what is the point of my life? But I do find comfort, mainly from cheesy quotes from books and songs...
What will happen now?
Will friends take the difficult decision to reach out and contact those they know are struggling?
Will the often orphaned mental health services finally get the funding and support that they need?
Will his death help those whose lives look good from the outside to admit that they are depressed despite having the trappings of a perfect life?
Will people stop using the cliches?
“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”
That's fine if you're not feeling suicidal. If you are, it may just feel like another slap in the face, as though no-one understands you at all. And some problems are not temporary, they're long term, or they're terminal. So please, stop saying that.
Negative things could happen too.
Will some be jealous that in death he is almost universally being praised for his achievements in life, where others contemplating suicide know that they would just be condemned as selfish when they leave loved ones behind? Which could make them feel worse?
Will the manner of his death give others 'permission' to finally take that dreadful step that they have been considering, perhaps for years?
Will there be lots of tweets and blogs and a 24 hour marathon of on-line mourning, and then we'll all go back to talking about house prices?
Will more people come forward, will they finally find the courage to ring a help-line, tell a friend, or a stranger, and find a way through the dark tunnel until they can see the light at the end. Until they can find reasons to live and love again.
If you love someone who is struggling with depression, watch out for them in the days ahead, they may need you, or they may need services like these:
Follow #depressionhurts on twitter
Finglas Suicide Network
Samaritans - which now has a new FREE phone number in Ireland — 116123