Gutted father seeks answers after loss of son
CONNOR Daly was your typical teenager.
He loved football and computer games.
A high academic achiever, he enjoyed school and had a tight-knit group of friends.
He had a great sense of humour, was generous and thoughtful.
He was 13 years old when, inexplicably, he took his own life.
Connor's death in March this year has devastated his family.
His father Joe searches for words to describe the gut-wrenching tide of emotion that swamped them after their tragic loss.
He settles on three.
Inconsolable. Unfathomable. Unbelievable.
"The obvious question after you get over the initial shock and the immediate grief is 'Why?'
"We were at a complete loss. We had no answers and we had no Connor.
"I'm not a psychologist, I'm just a dad.
"For me to move on, for me to start healing after the loss of my child, I needed to find those answers."
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Connor's teachers and classmates confirmed that he was not being bullied. Police forensics failed to find anything out of the ordinary on his computer.
All the obvious reasons that came to mind came up blank.
Joe said he did notice changes in Connor in the weeks leading up to his death. He seemed pre-occupied, he had trouble concentrating, his grades were slipping and he was rebelling against authority.
"Given he had such an insight into the way other people felt, I found it very unusual that he couldn't articulate his own feelings... why he couldn't sit down and talk to us and tell us what he was feeling."
Joe did consult a psychologist about his son just days before that fateful day in March.
Desperate for some rational explanation, he then reached out to Youth Beyond Blue.
"Finally, things started to fall into place," Joe says. "I didn't realise the pressures that we sometimes take for granted can be perceived by a young mind as insurmountable.
"Connor obviously felt he was stuck and he couldn't get out.
"If a child finds themself in a corner and can see no way out, when they are looking at life from a completely different perspective, the idea of suicide does seem like a logical avenue."
It's cold comfort for a loving father but Joe says the insight has helped.
"Connor was such a caring child. If he had realised what the repercussions of his actions would be, he certainly wouldn't have done it. He would never have wanted to cause his family so much pain."
- Lifeline 24-hour crisis support: 13 11 14
- If a life is in danger: Call 000
- Hold On To Life @ the Australian Suicide Prevention Foundation: 1800 465 366
- Suicide Callback: 1300 659 467