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.