Episode 5 – Losing a Mum in Your Teens

In episode 5 our guest is a wonderful woman called Lucy who lost her mum to suicide when she was a teenager. Lizzie and Lucy met up last year to chat about their experiences and the impact that losing a mum in childhood has had on the rest of their lives.

Show Notes:

  • The website for Project 84, the campaign to raise awareness about the high rate of male suicide in the UK, can be found here
  • Here’s the site for TV presenter Zoe Ball’s bike ride for charity, Hardest Road Home
  • And the Radio Times article where Zoe talks about losing Billy
  • For the resource of the week, Lizzie recommends the app Next Door

Important Numbers:

Content note for Lizzie and Lucy’s conversation

Please bear in mind some topics might be difficult to listen to. You don’t have to listen all at once. You can take breaks. Please take care and treat yourself to something nice afterwards. The helplines (or a friend or family member) are there if you need them to talk to.

Lizzie and Lucy mention:

  • losing parents when they were teenagers
  • the impact that had on the remaining teenage years
  • how their mums died, finding the body, suicide notes, PTSD
  • there’s no better way of being bereaved, but they discuss the finality of finding the body  vs. not having a sense of closure
  • not having an anniversary of death if don’t know exactly when person died
  • going back to the place where someone has killed themselves
  • for Lucy, going on to be a parent yourself
  • experience of post-natal depression
  • when your children reach the age you were when your parent died
  • getting counseling
  • what it’s like to talk to other people about your mother’s suicide
  • how they both talk about something sad and upsetting, ends up being through laughter when you mention a horrific thing – bizarre coping mechanism!
  • issues with trusting other people throughout your life
  • feeling that nothing in life could ever be as bad as what you’ve already been through as a teen
  • happy memories of your childhood – are there but can often take time to resurface after a suicide
  • the longing to know them as an adult and a person, but will never get that chance
  • is it better not to?
  • joy of having/living with kids – looking forward to future

And finally when you meet other people who are further along the line – and you know it’s gonna be fine!

Lucy’s Advice:

  • take it day by day
  • talk to people – whatever you’re able to say
  • try to ignore other people’s judgements of you and how they think you should grieve, find your own way of dealing with it

Thank you for listening


Lizzie’s Anniversaries

In Episode 3 Lizzie spoke about how the anniversaries of her mum’s death have been for her over time. Here you can find all of the blog posts she has written from years 1 – 6, and then year 12. Follow the page numbers at the bottom of the post to view each one.

Year 1 – January 2005 – Age 17

I can’t believe it’s been a year since she died. Do I feel any better? In some ways I do, the pain isn’t as raw anymore and I do feel like a normal human being again sometimes. But despite the nice phrase, time doesn’t heal that much.

I still feel hurt that she left me without even saying goodbye, and sometimes I still have “angry days” where I’m furious with mum for putting us all through this. One change I have noticed is that the hurt and anger have faded a bit, but that feeling of missing her seems to get worse with every day. I just miss her, I really miss her.

I’ve found the rejection caused by the suicide one of the toughest things to deal with in this bereavement. Why wasn’t I enough to keep her alive, why didn’t she want to stay alive for me?

One of the hardest things to accept with a mental illness and suicide is that even if you give them all the love and care in the world, you can’t make them better, and the happy endings that you dream for don’t always happen.

It still shocks me how it doesn’t really get any easier, and it makes me really mad. Why can’t it get any easier, why does grieving take so long!?

Most of the time I feel that even though mum took her life, she isn’t going to take mine, so I try to look forward now and focus on what’s ahead.


Me at sixth form aged 17/18.