He was talking about suicide all that week and had actually threatened suicide…that was the most terrible thing of all and I just couldn't cope with it, I just couldn't handle it at all…I can remember saying, 'But you couldn't love me if you're saying you're going to leave me'… and to me it wasn't a reality, you see, that's the awful thing, to me he was just talking, I never really believed it, that's the terrible thing. (Lois)
You think, well, how could you be there and…it happen despite you being there? On the other hand, you're not almighty, and can't control everybody and everything. (Marie)
At times, people will take their own lives seemingly unexpectedly. Survivors may have been aware that the person had problems, but the death still comes as a complete surprise, as was the case with Caroline's family. To Robert and Pat, their daughter was 'a twenty-year-old who thought she should have a boyfriend and thought she should be thinner'; the weekend before she died, Caroline had said she felt unwell and had spent time in bed, but, as Robert explained, it never entered their heads that 'she was in trouble that way'.
For other survivors, despite the fact that the suicide is unexpected, when it happens it is as though all along they had been half expecting something like that. When Jane heard the news from America that her brother, Christopher, had died she remembers thinking that it had probably been a stroke or something similar: 'I was bracing myself to hear "coronary thrombosis" or "stroke"…I was summoning all my strength to hear something coming from a direction I expected it to come from.' But what she heard was that Christopher had taken his own life with a gun:
and it had never entered my head. He had never mentioned anything of this sort, never mentioned suicide. It was never a thought I had