The Gallery — Family

Seems very appropriate that the theme today is “Family” as we have just spent a long over due weekend just hanging out at home with my parents.   And also because it is five years ago today that we lost a member of our family.   Rog, Mr B’s elder brother took his own life in the early hours of the morning and the Barrow family was never quite the same again.

A text forwarded to us from Rog’s very dear friend had alerted us to the fact that something might not be right and we then spent a few hours trying to get hold of Rog ourselves, both us in the south and his parents in the north.   Family coming together in the middle of the night as they franctically try and reach a loved one.     It was to that family that Mr B headed the following morning when we got the phone call that confirmed our worst fears.   I cannot imagine how that journey up the M6 must have felt for Mr B.   Alone and trying to come to terms with what on earth had just happened.

I do remember, very clearly, having to phone Jonnie’s house master as he had started at boarding school two weeks before.   Sobbing down the phone that I didn’t know what to do but I felt I had to come and get Jonnie and tell him.    I had, stupidly, taken the girls to school that morning thinking it was the right thing to do.   By 10am I was realising it wasn’t and I just wanted them home.    I wanted my family here and under my roof so I could explain what had happened.

Not the first sudden my death my kids had to deal with either.  A half brother who died at birth, my best friend’s baby who had also died the same way, a very good friend of Mr B’s had lost their 12 year old son.   It seemed we had dealt with more than our fair share of deaths but never one in these circumstances.   Never one in the family.

I raced to Jonnie’s school and scooped him up and blurted out to him in the car what had happened and why I was there.   He knew something wasn’t right.   Why else would I be there.    We drove the 40 odd miles to get the girls.   I had also called their school and they had got the girls our of lessons and had given us an empty lounge with tea and biscuits so I could tell them why I was there.

Together we drove home.  I don’t remember much else about that day to be honest.   I just knew that the Barrow family had been shattered by the loss of a very important part of it.

The funeral and inquest where hard but the Barrow family pulled together and along with friends were there when it mattered.   And are still there today.

Rog isn’t though.    And boy do we miss him.   I only knew him for a few years so my pain is not as great as that of his parents and Bruce, or the aunts and uncles and close family friends who had known him his whole life.    But I know not many days go buy where I don’t think of him.   Or wonder what he would be up to if he was still around.

A sharp, witty, incredibly intelligent man who gave the best man’s speech at our wedding.   The naughty uncle to my kids.  Not a blood relative but an uncle they were closer to and saw more of than the biological aunts and uncles they have.    The kids who are closer to their “step” grandparents than to the biological grandparents who live just up the road but whom they havent seen in years and who never send them a card on their birthdays or at Christmas.   Who we don’t even view as step grandparents but simply as “granny Pat and Papa Jim”.   Who we view as family

Family is important.   It doesn’t have to be a blood connection.   It just has to be a family that you feel a part of.   Some bloggers might say that the blog community is a family, and that it is the only family they have ever really felt a part of.   Or it might be a group of work colleagues that make you feel included and part of a family.   Family doesnt have to just be about your brothers and sisters or aunts and uncles.   Well I don’t think it does anyway.

Depression remains a bastard.   And a dirty word that people don’t want to talk about.  There is still a massive taboo around the subject in our society and though it is getting better there is still a long way to go.  There still seems to be a real stigma attached to people who are depressed meaning they feel they can’t talk about it openly and nor can society.

Not a day goes by where we don’t hear another story of somebody taking their own life.    And it’s their family that I always think about.  The family about to get that phone call.    The family that will never quite be the same again.

Sorry this isn’t the usual bouncy post for The Gallery today but then today is not a normal day.   But family is important.  And Rog is important.  Even if he isnt here for us to tell him in person.

RIP Rog.

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  • This brought tears to my eyes. Family is indeed so important. Most of us unfortunately will have lost someone we loved and although sometimes it’s in an expected way – old age etc. It doesn’t make it any easier. My family WILL always be my priority because I honestly don’t know what I will do if lose any of them. Depression is an awful illness and should be treated with the utmost importance and this is a reminder to me to check in with anyone I know who may be suffering. Thanks for writing this and I’m so sorry to hear about your loss.

  • Should not have read this at work…….sobbing like a bairn! Thinking of you all today especially Mr B.

    Your post struck a real chord with me today T, you’re absolutely right depression is a bastard, I HATE it, I HATE that it ruins so many people’s lives and I HATE that I have it and can’t control it. There is still a stigma attached to it and a feeling of people are “putting it on” and guess what? I HATE that too!

    Mucho hugs n love for you and the rest of the clan

    Amanda xxxx

  • A heart-wrenching post and one which has such important messages to share. I read somewhere else on The Gallery about family not just being blood relations: so true in this case.
    Thinking of you and your family x

  • What is there to add?
    Not much except to say thankyou for a most generous post.
    And for all the support you gave Pat and me at a time when we really needed it. And for the strength you showed in St Bartholomew’s on the day of Rog’s funeral when you remembered him so eloquently. And for the support you gave the three remaining Bs at the graveside. Not much? It was everything!

    • Sort of sums up what family is about really doesnt it?

      Thank you for adopting us 4 Bs into the Barrow fold. It’s an honour. We shall raise a small glass of something to Rog later on, as I am sure you will be too. Much love to you both today

  • Thank you for the kindness you’ve always shown me , when some shunned me through my depression of which I’m still going through you were there.

    You are a wonderful lady with a kind heart and you’ve a wonderful family.

  • You’re so right with your claim of “depression is a bastard”. For reasons won’t go into on here, we’ve had our fair share of depression-related near-misses. I have no idea what it is like to lose someone in that respect and there is no right/wrong length of bereavement. There’s a huge hole in your heart after losing Rog – it’s very obvious.

  • I hate depression, it robs people of life and as you have sadly experienced, it robs people of people. Thinking of you. Emma xx

  • Lots of love to you all today. I hope that despite the pain and sorrow you’re feeling, you find comfort in your memories of Rog. He sounds like a wonderful man and although he might not be with you anymore, you’ll have him in your hearts forever – no one will ever be able to take that away from you x

  • So sad, and you’re right, it is of course most sad for the family, whether they are blood related or not. The people who you connect with, who you don’t want to see go through that anguish 🙁 take care xx

  • Oh T I am so sorry to read this. I have rewritten this comment several times now as I just can’t seem to say what I mean in the right way, so I am just going to say thank you for bravely writing such an honest post and you are so right, family is more than blood relationships and depression really is a bitch. Thinking of you and your family x