I posted this out on Facebook a short time after we lost our 19yr old son Johnathon. Today we are still fighting for answers, fighting a system which is broken, a system that is set up to blame an individual and a system which in many cases either sends you away or turns a blind eye because of cost.
As parents the loss of our son has destroyed us, we will never recover and our health has taken a turn for the worse. We are riddled with guilt and can’t work out where we went wrong if we went wrong at all. We are now on a side of a fence we had know idea about, a world that only those touched by suicide will understand, a world that is riddled with unanswered questions and daily heart ache.
All we can do now is continue to look for those answers and help to fix that which is broken and stop more people taking their lives in a way that is familiar to us. What happened to our son in the few days leading up to his death he should have never endured at such a vulnerable age. But the destruction to his body by drivers was who preferred to drive around him or continue on their journeys after hitting his body in our opinion was unlawful and beyond belief. Sadly no-one wants to know our story as it shows fault in others, this besides our loss is, how the events arose and the aftermath of our son is the most traumatic.
There has been speculation about our sons death. Rumours, gossip, heartache. Family and friends have been clutching for answers to understand why he did this.
To not know where your son is, find a suicide note, and then find out via social media whilst out searching a river that an unidentified body had been found on the M1 is utterly soul destroying and a lonely place.
Up until the 3rd of January Johnathon had everything to live for. A ‘typical” teenager and a caring and loving son. On the 3rd he received a random message that his girlfriend had been cheating on him over the Christmas period. Johnathon came to us and was absolutely devastated, we had never seen him like this. He was in so much pain and hurt. Six years of my life wasted he screamed.
Over the next 4 days his head and heart became shattered and we know why. We now have the facts and timings from the ongoing police investigation. Ultimately our son is the one who made the choice and we are annoyed with him for leaving us, but the chain of events and catalyst that drove him to this came from others.
Trying to understand why our son would take his own life has been difficult enough, but worst of all is the manner in which he ended it and the thing we have daily nightmares about. At approximately 22:20 on the night of 7th January our son not only threw himself off the bridge at the M1 service station, but our sons body was then crushed by a large number of vehicles for some time afterwards, many of which are still being traced. All we have left is a pair of trainers one of which was found in lane one and the other found in lane 3. Johnathon was not only unrecognisable but they couldn’t even use his organs to do DNA tests.
No parent should go through this kind of pain, torment or self blaming with daily questions of “if only” and “what if”. No child should have to endure the humiliation of a cheat and have their heart broken through lies and deceit at such a vulnerable age either.
Just four days is all it took to change our son, four days of torment for our boy. Four days of not knowing how to deal with the pain of seeing the love of his life with an older man who was also in a relationship.
As parents we offered support, space, love and understanding but in the end our son saw no future unless he had her in his life which is very clear to us. This same person has not only hurt our son but hurt myself and Debbie. They had been living with us for over 2 years and we took her into our lives. This same person was the only one who knew of his suicidal thoughts and possible actions as it was mentioned, it was also stated in his last note to her for which he warned her. However that was not passed on to the people who really cared for him.
So now that we have the facts and time of events we now understand why our son died on that particular evening and that particular bridge. It was not long after seeing, and knowing that that same love was in the service station hotel with another man and had moved on with her life. Johnathon clearly could not accept it. This man knew of Johnathon, was older and was also in his own relationship.
Johnathon was only just 19 and been in this 6 year relationship. He was too young to deal with this and although it’s common that relationships change and partners wish to move on (which we understand). It does not change the fact that there is always one person who gets hurt the most.
Ultimately Johnathon made the decision to end his life after failed attempts to reconcile. From statements it is clear to see he was suffering and could not accept the ending of his relationship. At that point Johnathon was in a dark place and his family, his friends, his good life and future became distant and he made the most horrendous mistake. His broken heart overruled his young head.
As parents we are very angry, not angry with him but angry with the pain selfish others have caused him and ourselves. However blaming others won’t bring our son back, we will need to live with the loss of our youngest and only son. Those others will have to live with themselves also. However as another young person we wish them no harm and hope their parents don’t miss that which we could not see with our son. We simply want nothing to do with them and they need to keep away now.
We miss our son, our life will never be the same. Our house feels empty. His sisters, his family and his very close friends are suffering and in shock. Why son? Why? When we told you it wasn’t worth ruining your life over.
Ultimately the act of suicide know-one could have seen and was totally out of character. Today we go to see his body bag as we are not able to see him. Today will be the next difficult stage. But we need to do it and move forward. His funeral can then be arranged for which family, friends and well wishers will be welcome.
Our brave boy we love you and miss you dearly. Sleep tight son you will never ever leave our heart.
Mum & Dad X
Since creating the above post our pain has not diminished. We could not work due to our anxiety, our minds are traumatised and sadly in the same year Debbie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Our business suffered as a result of a burglary which happened the day before we lost our son and a second one when we took time out before Debbie’s breast surgery. It didn’t help also that the Sun newspaper wrote an article on us ripped from my personal Facebook page, this then caused upset to the driver (and owner of the only video evidence, and last images of our son) deciding to withhold it from us. This we are still fighting for as it is proof of our son’s demise and proof that he was a full and visible body on the M1 at the time the driver and others drove around him leaving him there. In our view it was vital evidence which was withheld from the inquest because they wanted to say it was dark and unusual, however our son was very very visable. We have seen the video and upsetting as it is no-one should have the right to withhold it from us as it’s our son on it, it’s also evidence which was submitted freely by the driver at the time.
When our son died there were inconsistencies in what we were told. To this day we are not actually 100% sure he took his own life as the people involved were close by to where he ended up. His clothing was not were the police said it was. The police refused to check video footage or speak to the person involved with the girlfriend even though they said to our face they would.
On the scene 2 key eye witness statements were never taken, and there is no information about a off duty officer who took over the scene that night. Why certain elements are being withheld is in our view a violation of our rights as parents and simply creates more anger and questions.
Our experience of the systems in place were at the start very poor. Citizens advice sent us away saying there was no help financially, the council have been un-helpful too. Getting help from our doctor was difficult to start due to the restrictions on NHS support and time. The NHS ASTI (Assessment and Short Term Intervention) team were dreadful and a time when we were suicidal ourselves. To sum up every avenue we tried we hit a brick wall. We took things to the CPS over the police investigation and they only look to blame and individual. We took things to the IPPC over the news papers intrusion and they let us down even though law was broken. The council gave no help, our MP was unhelpful and needed pushing at a very difficult time. We were even told that our son was the one breaking the law which was shocking how only one side of the law applied to someone who could no longer defend themselves. The list goes on.
However amongst the bureaucracy what we did receive was the most amazing support from family and friends (at times like this you soon find out who your friends are). We were also issued the most amazing police liaison officer, and a compassionate investigation officer. Did you know that you do not get police help after a suicide and that the only reason we got a liaison officer who was invaluable was because it was originally classed as a road traffic accident.
We also had a superb coroner department who spent 4 hours gluing and patched our sons arm together so that we could identify something of our son rather than just his clothing. This they deserve an award for. We also got some amazing support from Macmillan and the NHS breast cancer treatment centre after Debbie was diagnosed. The other support we found of great benefit at the very start was SOBS. Were some orginasations only dealt with grief what SOBS did was put us face to face with others suffering with this unique type of loss.
For anyone suffering we would strongly recommend SOBS, talking to others who understand. Contact support groups that fit your needs. It’s a long road and there is no instant fix or magic wand as self help is the best remedy. However to self heal you need to be able to Face Suicide head on and talk about it free from the stigma. The more we talk, the more we can understand and prevent that which is destroying lives minute my minute.
This is our story. What is yours?