Seamus Hennessy: For people who have lost a loved one to suicide, the word ‘why’ never truly leaves us

Seamus Hennessy

Reporter:

Seamus Hennessy

Email:

runningforjosie@gmail.com

Seamus Hennessy: For people who have lost a loved one to suicide, the word ‘why’ never truly leaves us

Seamus Hennessy, who was conferred with a Master of Science (International Management) at NUI Galway in November 2012, is pictured here alongside Professor Eamon O’Shea.

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how” - Friedrich Nietzsche

Hi there and welcome to the third instalment of the RunningforJosie column.

The majority of this column is going to deal with a single word: ‘why’.

Towards the end of the column, I’ll give you an update on the latest news with the RunningforJosie campaign.

If, God forbid, someone you cared about has died, through illness for example, the fact that you can understand why they died, i.e. the illness, can sometimes help to lessen the grief involved even just by a very small amount. This understanding can help with the immediate aftermath and the gradual return to normal life again after the trauma that comes with death for a person.

Unfortunately for people who have lost a friend or family member to suicide, the word ‘why’ never truly leaves us.

Why didn’t I do more to help them? Why didn’t I see the signs? Why wasn’t I a better son, husband, father, mother, friend? Why didn’t I do more to help?

These are questions that reside us with a for a long, long time and unfortunately no matter how much time or effort we spend in thinking about them, we can never receive the answer as we cannot speak with that person again. It’s a heart-breaking, sinking realisation to come to terms with and it’s one that takes a lot of time to accept and deal with.

In addition to these unanswerable questions, there’s another powerful emotion that can consume people: blame. Those friends and family members left behind begin to blame themselves for what has happened and how it’s their fault for not being more aware of what was going on with the person who took their life and that if they were, this might never have happened. And, this cycle of self-blame can go on and on often with severe consequences for the person attempting to cope and come to terms with the loss of someone they cared about to suicide.

Having spent plenty of time grappling with the above experiences myself over the last eighteen years, I am absolutely determined to do what I can to avoid other people facing a similar life experiences.

That’s the thing you see. For every person who is struggling but seeks out and receives the help they need, it’s not just that individual who gains. It’s that person’s family, friends, schoolmates, teammates, work colleagues who do not have to grapple with ‘why’. Who don’t have to spend hours, days, weeks, months and years in some cases wrecking their heads wondering why they didn’t do more when there may well have been very little more they could do.

As Nietzsche said: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” And, in this world we all have a why worth living for if we can only uncover what it is. But for those left behind in the aftermath of losing a loved one to suicide, that ‘why’ can be a heart-breaking ordeal.

In terms of the RunningforJosie campaign, things are progressing really well and I am continuously blown away by people’s support and generosity. To date over €53,000 has been raised for Pieta House and Living Links Tipperary which is fantastic.

Kilruane MacDonagh’s GAA Camogie Club ran a very successful car wash in Nenagh on behalf of the campaign, Kiladangan GAA made a very generous donation out of their fundraising efforts in climbing Keeper Hill towards the campaign whilst every Monday night, over seventy people are training in Toomevara GAA Club to prepare for completing a 5K run in early October and are donating €2 per person at each session to RunningforJosie. They would be delighted to see more and more numbers join them on a Monday night.

Over sixty fundraising events have now been completed or are planned to support the campaign and this is something I am so proud of with the campaign. That people have seen something they want to support and are taking on a physical fundraising challenge of their own in order to raise funds and awareness for two fantastic charities which deserve as much support as possible.

Again, I just want to say a huge thank you to everybody who is supporting the fundraising efforts. Much like I couldn’t deal with the grief of losing my Mam on my own, I can’t raise all of the money alone so I really do appreciate when others get involved to share the load and work together to realise the aims of RunningforJosie.

STAY IN TOUCH

In the meantime, if you would like to follow or keep in touch with the RunningforJosie campaign, you can follow the social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter (@runningforjosie) or Instagram (@runningforjosie).

In the meantime, if you would like to follow or keep in touch with the RunningforJosie campaign, you can follow the social media accounts on Facebook (RunningforJosie), Twitter (@runningforjosie) and Instagram (@runningforjosie).

If you have any thoughts, suggestions or fundraising ideas to support my reaching the target of €200,000, I would be delighted to hear from you and do please contact me at runningforjosie@gmail.com.

Finally, if you would like to donate to the campaign, that can be done using the RunningforJosie GoFundMe page on the following link. Alternatively you can use the following bank details for direct transfer - account number: 01657492, sort code: 935271, IBAN: IE77AIBK93527101657492, BIC: AIBKIE2D.

Beir bua agus beannacht, Seamus.