My name is Hayleigh.I am 28 years old.
I am from Melbourne, Australia.
I am now also, forever broken.
4 weeks ago part of me died along with my brother, Ben. On Sunday, May 15th my world was turned upside down forever. We had only just lost Mum, 19 months earlier. What else did life think we could possibly handle?
Who would be so lucky to watch a movie with their brother before he passed?
Who would be so lucky that their final words to their brother were ‘I love you’?
Ben left the house that night and seemed totally normal. He told me he was going around to his best mate Nicks house for a chat. About 20 minutes later I received a call from he’s partner (they were having some troubles at the time and Ben had been living at home for the past 3 weeks) saying did I know where Ben went? He had called her and said he’s goodbyes but didn’t elaborate as to where he was. Only saying that he was in ‘the middle of nowhere’. I rang around to my siblings and Dad to get the word out quickly.
Another 5 minutes passed and we found his phone on Find my Phone app. My sisters, their partners, Ben’s partner and her brother, Dad and his partner and myself all fly to where the app had picked up Ben’s location. All of us coming from our respective areas.
We all expected to find Ben crying in his car. Honestly, we did because that’s the kind of sensitive soul Ben was. Ben had intentionally driven his car into a tree, very close to the farm us children had grown up on. Ben was killed instantly. Getting out of the car the lights of the ambulance were blinding. I was held tightly as I was screaming uncontrollably. Exactly like you see in the movies. I felt my body collapse and I kept asking if there was anything the ambo’s could do. Surely they could do something?
The warm, innocent caring boy that helped bind us all together was suddenly gone.
Ben was 22 years old.
Ben was employed full time.
Ben loved his boss and job.
Ben was a third year apprentice plumber.
Ben had three loving sisters.
Ben’s family were all very close.
Ben had enough savings for a house deposit.
Ben had a beautiful daughter who is 19 months old.
Ben was waiting for his brand new ute to arrive.
Ben only drank occasionally.
Ben wasn’t involved in drugs.
Ben was always happy.
Or so it seemed.
There were no signs.
Last week I got my Semi Colon tattoo because everyday it would be easy for me to chose to go and be with my Brother and Mother. But I choose not to. I choose to now help break the stigma of mental illness. If I help one person in this world, then that is enough, and I’ve done my job. So their family won’t have to wake up each morning to the living, breathing hell that my family and I have to face.
Choosing to try and help people understand that it’s okay, not to be okay.
I know I’ll meet them both again when it’s my time to go to heaven but not yet, not yet.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide get help immediately. Choose life not suicide.
Call Lifeline 13 11 14 or 000 if life is in danger.
Hayleigh- Thank you for your submission. Our hearts go out to you and we know there is nothing anyone can say to fix what’s happened to make the pain subside. Not only have you lost your brother, but you are still reeling from the death of your Mother. That is such a burden for any person to have to try to carry.
Why people choose to take their own lives when everything seems to be going well on the surface can be such a heartbreaking question to have to live with. While we may never know what was going on with sweet Ben to make him decide that meeting an early end was his only way out- what we do know is that he loved you and his family and certainly didn’t want to leave a legacy of pain behind. You are brave and courageous to take upon yourself the daunting task of trying to break the stigma surrounding mental illness. We applaud you and support you in your endeavors. Please know that we are thinking about you and your family during this time and it is certain that Ben’s death will not have been in vain. There will be some positives that will rise from the ashes of this tragedy. Until then- may you have the strength to keep pressing forward and may you find joy in your journey along the way. – Kate