Most people will know someone who committed suicide or know someone who knows someone.
When I finished my MSc in Medical Microbiology at university I got a job in a renowned London hospital’s microbiology laboratory and it was there that I met him. He wasn’t that tall and was balding, slightly built and told me once that he bought some of his trousers in the children’s section of clothing shops. He took me under his wing and taught me the difference between studying Medical Microbiology and working in a laboratory where I could put my theory into practice. He used to wind me up by calling me ‘Gladiola’ instead of Gladys – he told me it was the name of a beautiful flower and I believed him (we didn’t have Google back then for me to check if it was true or not).
I worked with him for nearly seven years; two of those years were spent on maternity leave having my children. When I went back to work each time he brought me up to speed and made sure that I was okay with all the new methods.
The things I remember most are his willingness to always help me when I needed help at work, how when we had a misunderstanding I would frown at him, and he would frown in return then things would somehow go back to normal.
Once, I identified something in a patient’s sample; something that was quite rare and he confirmed what it was then got everyone’s attention and made everyone aware that I had found it and he heaped so much praise on me that I was really chuffed.
I don’t know why he decided to take his own life, I don’t know what was going on in his mind, what led to things happening the way they did. I do know that even now, even fifteen years after the event, I still miss him. I named one of the male characters in my first novel after him and while I was writing it, it was as if he was still alive.
To Be Continued . . . .
Taken from U Murder U (Suicide) by Gladys Lawson