Three Mothers

Our names are Paula, Turi and Mel. We each lost a beautiful child to suicide. Paula’s son Kingston and Mel’s son Brook, ended their lives in 2013. Turi’s son Flaun ended his life in 2014.

After the shock of losing our sons, we were left with not only guilt, pain, grief but we also had to try manage our families grieving. We shut down, over compensated with our surviving children, self medicated, cried, anger consumed us. We lived in fear of it happening again, thought about doing it ourselves…a gamut of emotions all revolving around having had to bury our sons. We couldn’t talk to anyone. People, not knowing how to respond to us, changed the subject, or ignored us. We didn’t want to talk to those closest to us as our grief was like a virus, it infected everyone.

As mothers, our instinct is to protect our loved ones from pain and talking about losing our boys, caused pain. The three of us were a club no one wants to be in but we could talk to each other freely about our boys, and were there, anytime to lend an ear or to vent, day or night. This sparked the Other Side of Silence. If we felt comfortable talking to each other about our losses, maybe creating a group might work for our parents, our partners, our children. We spoke to them and they agreed, they could talk freely to their peer group so this is what we created. 

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A safe space to talk

The idea of the Other Side of Silence forum started as a way for us to connect with and support one another and has expanded to encompass anyone throughout New Zealand and Australia who has also lost someone to suicide. There are so many people who feel isolated and alone in their experience of pain and grief. It was important to us to be able to create a space where anyone who felt isolated, alone, overwhelmed could share within a community who understood first-hand what it felt like to lose someone you love to suicide. The forum isn’t about experts, facts, figures, research..It is about real people, real families, who have been there and who can talk to one another freely about their thoughts and experiences and how theyre feeling on any given day.

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Other Side of Silence Forum is a community support group, for people who want to talk , listen and share their coping stories after losing someone to suicide. We are not councillors, we are not professionals. We are whanau/family and friends providing a platform to support each other and share the way we have coped.

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Everybody experiences the loss of a loved one to suicide differently. Emotions can range from shock, excruciating pain to numbness, anger and even resignation. Some people shut down and go into action mode and others struggle daily. Read the words of people who have bravely shared their experience of suicide loss and are navigating the grief journey.