The truth: What it's like to be left behind by suicide.

Trish and Ruby.





Editor’s note: This post deals with suicide. Some readers may find this article triggering.


Words really can’t explain the range of emotions you experience when you lose someone, in any situation. But especially by suicide.

The pain is so strong. I feel broken. I shake uncontrollably. My whole body feels like it’s shutting down. The pain of disbelief, loss, sadness and emptiness is unbearable.

I do not wish anyone to go through what I have gone through.

Grief is an interesting companion.

Not being able to eat, drink or feel. I feel like an empty shell, wounded, lost and alone.

Does grief ever go away?  I am not sure. It’s only been nine months since the tragic loss of my husband.

I was dreading Father’s Day, so Ruby and I packed up and went away for the weekend, thinking if I don’t hear it or see it, I will be OK.

But the lead up to Fathers Day was hard, with all the talk and media around, it was like a constant reminder that we no longer had a Daddy.

I sat in the beautiful surrounds of the getaway and thought, who was I kidding? You can’t run away from your feelings. They came too. Driving around and exploring is not the same, everything we did as a family, is no longer.

Trish and her late husband Nick with their daughter.

As I push Ruby on the swings and see happy families I break inside. My daughter and I are missing the one person we both love the most.


Once the numbness of the grief and loss, settled a little, I managed to juggle my new role as a single mother and throw myself into work.

Denial, maybe. But for me it worked: I needed to keep being busy.

Weekends were and still are the hardest to deal with. It was our family time; the time Ruby had quality time with her Daddy and also with the three of us, family time.

With family interstate; I now rely on my friends and just pray that I can meet up with someone on the weekends. It’s hard though because my friends have their family and weekends are their family time too. And I respect that. And encourage that. Life is unpredictable, and uncertain so you really need to appreciate every minute we have.

My new life without my beautiful husband is really hard; it’s hard being a single mum. It’s hard when your daughter asks every day when is Daddy coming home? It’s a heart breaking emptiness without your best friend by your side, no one to share, laugh, hug and cry with.

It breaks me, Ruby will never get to know her Daddy, and she will never have a father figure. She will never remember the way he tickled her, loved her, cuddled her, and idolised her. She will never see her Daddy hug and kiss me nor hear him tell me how much he loves me.

With that raw emotion still bubbling inside me I jumped into a project. A project to create awareness about suicide, depression, and mental illness. They’re not dirty words, this is a serious issue – and I can’t let any one go through what I am going through.


The surprising fact is the highest percentages of suicide in Australia are men 33 – 45. How do we help these men talk to each other and seek help? How do I change the stigma attached to depression and suicide?

How can I help people who are suffering from depression to get help, or realise they are not alone?

How can I get the government to assist in funding and take these subjects seriously?

How can we help our children get access to education about depression?

I recently approached Suicide Prevention Australia with an idea for a television commercial. Once I got the go ahead, I contacted a few amazing people who are also just as passionate as me. And in just four weeks, got this TV commercial made and aired.

Now I want everyone to LIKE this on You Tube and help us to raise awareness and get media attention. Not just for September 10 World Suicide Prevention day, but always.

Suicide happens everywhere: 800,000 people commit suicide in the world every year.

This is just one of many projects I have in mind to make a difference. We all have bad days. And some days are harder than others.

I myself have experienced suicidal thoughts, I understand the force depression can have if you don’t reach out and get help.

Let’s all get connected, and make a difference.


If you or a loved one need help, please take a look at the following websites:

Lifeline Australia for crisis support and suicide prevention:

Beyondblue, for depression and anxiety:

SANE, the national mental health charity:

Moodgym, for free online cognitive behaviour therapy:

Headspace, for online counseling:


PANDA, the post and antenatal depression association:




Trish is a 41-year-old Freelance Food and Interior Stylist and mum to a beautiful two-year-old. She lives in Sydney with her daughter. Visit her website here.