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Hi, my name is Jennie

This happened to me...Jennie 400 X 482

‘Daddy had left a letter, he had gone’. June 2003, aged 11, in my last year at Primary School, I stepped off my school bus with my sister aged 7, walked half way up the garden path to find my Mum hurrying down the yard, screaming and carrying my brother, aged 18 months. I will never forget this day. Daddy, aged 43, was missing; I waited and prayed for four whole months, I moved to secondary school, turned 12, longed for his return. I used to dream of him meeting me from the school bus; Daddy was my idol. October 2003, returning from school, a very wet and miserable day, Mum’s face said it all, I knew, I never heard the words, I didn’t want to, Daddy had been found, he had shot himself. My world as I knew it, shattered.

I never missed a day of school; all I wanted was to be normal. I wondered ‘why me?’ The funeral was a blur, the support overwhelming. I shared my favourite memories, accompanied by my best friend.

One thing I’d like young Jennie to know is… 

Things DO get easier and some days will be hard, don’t be too tough on yourself. It is ok to cry. You have so much to look forward to, reasons to make Daddy proud. Enjoy every moment. It is OK to remove your ‘strong face’ sometimes. And remember, you can’t hold everyone together.

One thing I’d like you to know is…

Talk about your ‘someone special’, share your memories and write them down. I still do, I write to my Daddy to make sure he doesn’t miss out and I talk to him often. Save your special someone’s items and pictures to create a memory box. I raised money for the rescue team that went looking for my dad at my local singing group: it helped.

One thing I’d like the people who are caring for you to know is...

The child you are supporting may be scared of losing you too now. He or she will talk when they’re ready. Please don’t feel guilty, it isn’t your fault. They are likely to want life to remain normal, so if you can keep life as ‘normal’ – in routine as possible, this helps. Please speak to them and keep them informed. If they’re the same age I was (12), they’ll understand, they’ll want to protect you, and they’re likely to be feeling very anxious and uncertain. This helps reduce these feelings.