By Mhari Farmer: While Christmas is considered a happy time for most, for some families the festive period can bring back painful memories.
For one Staffordshire man, who lost his father to an overdose on January 4, 1999, the joy of the season has been replaced by “a permanent ache”.
“We have no idea why he did it,” the man – who did not wish to be named – told StaffsLive. “My mum found him at the kitchen table when she came home from shopping. He waited for her to leave.
“It wasn’t even painful, it was so much more then that, I felt my heart break.
“I loved him to pieces, he was difficult but I loved him. I’ve never been the same since.”
The unexpected death of the 73-year-old left the family with painful memories.
“I always knew he was on the edge of depression,” he said. “I just never thought he’d go that far.
“I’ve never felt such devastation, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
“He seemed happy on Christmas Day. Maybe this was because he’d made the decision to end his life, I don’t know.
“I’ll never understand. I think he’d just had enough but he was only 73.”
Stafford Samaritan Alan Alecock explained that while Christmas Day itself was a quiet time for the charity, the period between December 1 and January 6 always sees a rise in calls.
And he appealed for people who are feeling low during the festive period to pick up the phone.
“We specialise in emotional maintenance,” Alan said. “I’m not sure where emotions are contained, you’ve got your brain in your skull and your heart and lungs in your rib cage, but where do emotions go?
“I like to think of us as a 24 hours a day, seven days a week confidential emotional sponge operation. The emotions fill the sponge, so we squeeze it by letting people talk, then there’s space for more.”
For more information visit the Samaritans website or call their hotline on 08457 90 90 90.
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