Former Yeppoon mum speaks out about family's 'suicide grief'
RIGHT before he "stepped off" the ledge, Yeppoon man Jaie Moran told his sister over the phone, "I love you. I'm sorry about everything, it's done already."
In the months leading up to that moment, Jaie was stuck in a downward spiral of despair; circling towards an empty and dark place Jaie's mum Sandra calls the abyss.
The former Yeppoon woman, who now lives on the Fraser Coast, spoke yesterday about her son's death by suicide last year on April 1... two days after Jaie turned 22.
Sandra was motivated to tell her story now to raise awareness about people at risk of self harm and is preparing to go on a 36,000km crusade from Tasmania and Queensland to spread her message.
Back in August 2010, when he was 18 years old, Jaie was admitted to hospital to have his appendix removed.
Doctors told him then they thought he might have bipolar. He was tested and the results were sent away.
"I said to him then, 'Well, we'll cross that bridge once we come to it'," Sandra said, as her voice started to break.
About two weeks later she called Jaie at his home on the Gold Coast and asked him if he had his results back. Jaie's reply was, "They said I didn't have it (bipolar)."
But over the following years his habits started becoming strange.
Her son, who often ducked out of the house to visit friends, started disappearing for the whole day. In the last instance when Jaie disappeared, he didn't return home for several days.
It got worse for Jaie when he started working in Gladstone; he started drinking heavily and became caught up in gambling.
"He was the new kid on the block down there so you do all these things to try to fit in with the rest of the crowd.
"I knew this was bad when I found out he was drinking heavily, because Jaie didn't like the way alcohol affected him... he never used to drink much at all."
The "penny dropped" when she discovered (four years later) he did not return to the doctor in 2010, after his initial check-up for bipolar, to find out his results or to follow up with treatment.
On his birthday last year, Jaie and a crew of mates drank heavily in Biloela for about four days straight.
At 4.30pm on April 1, just hours before he took his life, Jaie wrote a Facebook status saying what a great job he and his friends had accomplished.
After this post, he called his brother Deon and then his sister. It was his phone call to his sister when he "fell for the last time".
Deon called Triple 0 a few minutes before that, just after 11pm, and police officers found Jaie at a location in Biloela about 1am on April 2.
Jaie had died about 11.30pm. He had been staying at a motel for work.
Earlier, Jaie told his brother Deon he was still scared of a person who had hurt him more than 10 years ago, when he was still a child.
Sandra said she had told Jaie to seek counselling for his anger issues.
"He told his brother the night before he took his own life that he was always looking over his shoulder because he was that scared," Sandra said.
"Suicide grief is on a completely separate level to other forms of grief we go through... it's like walking into a room full of people (like your family) with a grenade strapped to your waist, and it explodes. It is that traumatic.
"We are all going through that suicide grief because of the guilt inside of us.
"Almost 14 months on and I still can't sleep because all I see is my youngest son in a body bag."
Jaie's family now struggles on a daily basis from that one traumatic night.
"We seek answers which will never be found. There is no definitive A + B equals C with a suicide," Sandra said.
"His fiancé is beautiful and they worshipped each other."
Sandra described her son as a loving father and partner to his then eight-month-old daughter and his partner Jade.
Jaie attended Yeppoon State High School until Year 9 before moving to Rockhampton. Jaie had only recently gained his intermediate scaffolder's ticket and loved his job.
"Jaie had so many avenues of support available to him but the depression and mental illness affects people's ability to see that help around them," Sandra said.
"There are people who are in 'that place' now and think suicide is the solution to their problems and suffering… there is support out there and there are people who will always love them."
Next week Sandra talks about her 36,000km suicide awareness mission from Tasmania to North Queensland to save lives. She plans to meet people from more than 300 towns, riding her motorbike to table a topic that is not being helped "by sweeping it under the carpet''.
If you would like to speak to Sandra, you can contact her on (03) 8488 6998. You can also email her on sandra@overdown under.com.au.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Headspace 1800 650 890
Beyondblue 1300 224 636
Suicide call back service 1300 659 467