When My Mother Found Out About My Suicide Attempt


When I disappeared after my suicide attempt in a foreign country, my parents tracked me down through Interpol, an international, non-governmental police cooperation. As soon as her visa was approved, my mother flew across the world from her home in Cape Town, South Africa, to my hospital bedside in London, England.

My mum sat with me for hours every day for four weeks as I recovered from losing my legs. I took out all my anger, irritation, disappointment, bitterness, frustration and grief on her. I was truly vile and hurtful, but she never once got angry or snapped back at me. Day after day she offered support and encouragement, holding my hand, bringing me gifts and letting me share all my fears. All the while, she silently and privately processed her own grief, her powerlessness to help me and her (unjustified) sense of failure as a mother for not protecting me from depression.

So this Thanksgiving month, I’d like to thank my mum, Roelda Brown. You’re a mum in a million.

Thank you for giving up your vacation days to drive me to the hospital every month, where we’d sit for six hours straight waiting to see physiotherapists, anesthesiologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists and every other kind of -ists.

Thank you for always taking the time to listen. Thank you for doing your best to understand my view of the world through the lens of my depression.

Thank you for all of the emotional, financial and social sacrifices you’ve made to give me security and comfort. Thank you for not showing any resentment to me for all you’ve given up.

Thank you for remembering my favorite chocolate, drink, food, fragrance and surprising me with small gifts when I least expect it.

Thank you for knowing when to meet me and when to challenge me to step out further. I would never made the breakthroughs I have in the past year without your love and support. I love you.

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If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

The Mighty is celebrating the people we don’t thank enough. If you’d like to participate, please submit a 400- to 800-word thank you note along with a photo and 1-2 sentence bio to [email protected].

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