Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Time3to remember

Regular readers will no doubt remember some research I did just over a year ago on behalf of a friend concerning her mother’s death. I managed to unearth old records and autopsy reports and a copy of her death certificate. Her daughter, being only six years old at the time, was shielded by the news on the radio and in the local papers and grew up without any knowledge of how and why her mother died. I undertook to find out all the salient information for her but warned her that the end result may prove to be very traumatic. She told me that she would sooner know the truth, however painful, than remain ignorant of what had happened.

It was a very tragic incident and the more I got involved with it, the more I found myself being affected as the story unfolded. The mother, Mandy, had been suffering from severe depression for a considerable time. She began to think that nobody cared, nobody bothered. As the days went by, she drifted more and more into a state of absolute melancholy with the ultimate result of her taking her own life.
As I unearthed further details of her life, I began to see the problems that she was faced with. Although she had children, she had not enjoyed a happy married life. She had rushed into marriage at the earliest opportunity to escape parental abuse at home.

After her marriage breakdown, Mandy entered into a partnership that resulted in the birth of a daughter whom she dearly loved. That partnership, however, didn’t last. It was a sort of off-on affair with little or no commitment from her partner. He was living in a 2-bedroomed house he had recently bought and was reluctant to take on Mandy and her two children with another one on the way. The father of her daughter abandoned her instead of staying with her through her difficulties. She was now struggling to bring up three children on her own. What social life she tried to enjoy was fraught with broken promises and neglect by those on whom she depended.
It was ten years ago that she decided to end her torment. She walked away from everyone and went alone to a quiet spot where she died from a tranquilliser overdose and hypothermia.
I compiled a dossier containing coroner’s findings, pathological reports and a selection of letters that Mandy had written immediately prior to her death. These
letters are among some of the most poignant farewells I have ever read. She had also written a poem in which she expressed her innermost sadness.

I never knew Mandy but I have discovered quite a lot about her and I now know that she deserved much better treatment than that which she had to live with. Far from being the drudge and the hopeless schizophrenic that she was painted by some, I found she was a caring mother and possessed a high level of intelligence. Had she been given a little more love and understanding, her life need not have been unbearable. Admittedly, she was ill but she should never have been driven to the point of suicide. She was only 35 at the time.

Further investigation revealed that someone she was close to at the time, a doctor, betrayed her and diagnosed her as schizophrenic before moving away from the area. It would appear that he was very worried that he may have been accused of professional misconduct. A patient with a serious mental disorder would not be given much credence had there been an investigation!

I think that those who deserted Mandy were fully responsible for her death and were also indirectly responsible for the tragic and traumatic suffering of her daughter at the hands of her abusers in the years to come. Had Mandy lived, her daughter would have grown up in a family full of love and care. There would have been no abuse, no neglect and no suffering.
Her daughter grew up thinking her mother had betrayed her and left her all alone. It was only recently that she found out the truth. Now that she realises how much her mother really did love her, she has come to terms with her death and found for her, a special place in h
er heart.

Mandy died around March 25th 1997. Today, I visited her grave today and placed some flowers there; red carnations on behalf of her daughter, Sarah and a single red rose from me as a token of respect for her memory.
I’m not a religious man but I wish that I could offer up some sort of prayer where I could express my deep regret for her having to die at such an early age and to hope that she has found the peace and love she was denied in her life. I’m not much good at this sort of thing but over the next few days, I shall be remembering her as I know those who knew and loved her will also be remembering.

(The cards attached to the flowers reads "Dearest Mum, you are not forgotten. I love you. Sarah"
and "A simple token of my respect, Griff.")

1 comment:

Sarah Cain said...

You have written this article well, and appreciate the care that you used whilst obtaining my mothers' records. Thank you for all the work that you put into this.