DAN – 1990 to Sept 12 2018
Memories of the day we lost Dan – from Angie, his mother.
We were eating breakfast, an everyday event. I was starting a new job that day so I was a little nervous. The phone rings. The news we received changed our lives forever.
Our son Dan had taken his own life. I remember screaming. We drove over to his home. The police were outside. I screamed again. It was true. They took Freddie and me inside the house. I remember Cheri saying we still had her. Whilst we sat in the lounge, the coroner was upstairs in the room with Dan. I imagine checking his body etc. Freddie went into the garden to phone my workplace. He had to explain what had happened to my manager, also named Dan.
Then, while we all sat together the coroner took Dan’s body out to the vehicle, to take to the hospital morgue.
We were left with this terrible news, no information on what to do now. We had to search ourselves for advice, help etc. There was no immediate help. I looked for any information to do with suicide. I came across a phone number of a group which was newly set up. It was for support for those bereaved by suicide. Jane Pope was the Chaplin who set this up. She was brilliant and sent me information as well as arranged to visit us all in our homes. There was also a booklet named Help is at hand. We didn’t get this until much later.
Who was Dan?
Dan was a son, a brother, a stepson, a stepbrother, a loving boyfriend, a grandson, an uncle, a cousin and a best friend
He was a good-looking young man. He was well loved by many. Dan had a wicked sense of humour and loved his niece Rosie. She used to send him out of the room if he tried to sing a song from frozen. Dan loved his clothes and cars. He had ordered a new car, a BMW to his specific colour choice. He was very good at his job, and his boss Tim Spencer had him in mind to take over his job role. He was ‘our blue-eyed boy,’ he told me.
This is why nearly 4 years later we still can’t quite believe that this has happened. There was no warning at all.
You can read the full Eulogy on the link above.
A Letter to Dan, from his Step Sister shortly after his passing.
A note to the afterlife
In death, you became my brother.
Our parents had wed long before you died. But I had never called you brother, nor ever really considered that you were my brother. It was only in the last year of your life that I can recall us embracing. And I don’t believe we ever told one another we loved each other.
I could really have shone as a sister. We could’ve had Marvel movie nights. We could have done so much together. But now, we will never be able to.
Dwelling on this sends waves of sadness through my body. I run my finger along the digits etched into my skin. Like your absence, the ink there is permanent. A reminder of the loss that I feel each time I remember that you won’t be there on Christmas day, that you’ll never get to embarrass me in front of my Bill, and that we’ll never get to argue over DC again.
Other times, when I look at your birthday scribbled along my thigh, my mind fills with the darker images and memories; this is usually when vodka is coursing through my veins. The alcohol brings the macabre thoughts forward, and they overshadow anything positive. Suddenly all I have are the memories of the early hours train journey and the day that followed. I see flashes of your coffin. I hear your mother’s sobs. I see the programme with your face plastered on it as we all cry along to Elton John’s ‘Daniel’.
It is not only the numerical scars that trigger this tsunami of intense emotion. I meet someone with your name, and the loss hits me all over again. Chasing Cars will play, and I will see your face, smiling, content. Yet you must never have been as content as you seemed. Molly, the cat you claimed to hate, and yet, the cat that you spoilt rotten will sit on my bed, in what used to be your room. I’ll find myself walking through the streets, and someone will look like you.
My heart will stop.
I’ll break away from reality.
I rejoice that my brother is here.
I want to run up to you. I want to tell you all the things I never did. I want to have my brother.
But I don’t have a brother anymore. I have a tattoo. I have a desk chair, a television stand, and a whole lot of grief. I should have realised I had a brother when I had the chance. Because now I don’t have a brother. All I have is grief.
But, despite my pain, I hope that there is an after. I hope that somewhere, in some realm, or some universe, you are happy.
You deserve happiness.
Goodbye, Daniel. I love you.