Kate Spades Sister – Making Sense of ‘That’ Email

As a Suicide attempt and loss survivor, I understand the sisters words.  And in many ways her action of emailing the media.

Since losing my youngest son and child to Suicide in 2014, I have done nothing but research mental illness, health and Suicide as my second job.

I do recall telling my eldest son when the police were searching for Jaie, that if his little brother was serious about taking his own life, then until or unless Jaie accepted professional help, it was not an ‘if’ that he would kill him self. It was a when.

This is after working with various clients suffering from mental illness and having the opportunity to observe the difference between a client accepting help and one who refuses to and just thinks they can cope alone.

I also realised immediately, by what my eldest son was telling me, meant he was already starting to blame himself for what his little brother was about to do.

These comments are not made to remove hope. They are to create an environment of where people understand that research and education are invaluable to people helping loved ones through their struggles.

It tells survivors that their efforts to help are being recognised, but that there comes a time when the person who is unwell needs to step up and accept that they need to get professional assistance of some form.

I don’t understand why a family member speaking from a place of shock, loss and trauma would not be understood and recognised for their efforts to help their loved one.

The media are portraying this Suicide of Kate as a ‘shock’ and unexpected by everyone.

Well apologies dear media, but just because a person is famous, does not automatically give you rights to all of their personal issues and private struggles.

Kate’s sister is in shock.

She’s struggling to comprehend that her sister is deceased. She is struggling to understand why the media have to list who found Kate, where Kate was found and what method Kate used. She is trying to make some sense of an event which she had worked hard for years, to prevent.

So now, not only will Kate’s sister be overwhelmed with emotions of self-blame and guilt, the poor woman is now facing intense scrutiny from millions of strangers who will be making uneducated and judgmental statements about her immediate reaction in the face of immense shock, trauma and grief.

This poor sister is struggling to fathom that not only is her sister dead at her own hand, but the media is sharing every single detail of Kate’s death. The how, where and who found her.

The media should once again be the group being judged here, not a grieving family.

I now say to my eldest son, you did whatever was humanly possible with limited resources and experience with mental health skills.

Ask yourself, “Was there any malice in what you did? No there wasn’t because you know and I know that you would have taken a bullet to save your baby brother. There was no malice on your part.”

It appears now, that Kate’s sister is taking a rhetorical bullet for her sister, by sending out this email.

Kate Schuster from The Mighty also wrote and article on this email. The link is below.


‘Sometimes Love Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

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I Don’t Choose Depression… Depression Chooses me …

Well meaning loved ones and people with the very best intentions ask me if I am alright often, which makes me feel worse than I already feel because I cannot find the words or reasons why I feel so down.
This puts me into a cycle of feeling guilty for not being more productive and being in a better headspace than what I am. So I begin to feel even worse and eventually I end up crying or withdrawing even further into myself so that I will stop impacting those I love with my negativity.
Depression is not something I can just switch on or off. It is not something I choose to feel or not feel. It simply is what it is and I struggle everyday to some degree with feeling like crap …
Suicidal thoughts still cross my mind and suicide is most certainly not something I would ever want to do to my children, family and friends or followers … But it is my reality and by being aware and mindful of these thoughts and depressive states, is what helps me get through them safely …
Learning to speak with someone who I can trust and tell them the truth about what my depression and anxiety tells me and why I might be so quiet and not talking all that much. But it is still difficult to do this. I still stumble over telling them what is making me awkward and difficult to interact with …
I wish this was not how it is. I wish that none of this was real and that my brain could go back to where it once was and working how it once was …

‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’


April Fool’s day. A day when many of us allow ourselves to be pranksters and playful with those around us…

1st of April 2014, we lost that ability to be playful on this day.

We lost our innocence.

By 4.30am, the morning following that night, our entire world imploded and we began to be immersed into an unknown world of eternal turmoil, guilt, disbelief and shock.

By 8.30am all of my remaining children knew that Jaie was gone and we had begun to notify immediate family of his death.

Death by suicide.

Jaie took his own life and no one could even begin to comprehend why. Jaie has a beautiful fiancée and 7 month old baby girl, both of which he adored. He has a big brother who was one of his closest friends and confidantes. His big sister is a ferocious protector of her little brother no matter what. Then there was me, his mum, who no matter how difficult things were, I would always be there for him, when push came to shove. Jaie has his maternal grandparents who love him dearly and his best friends of whom all think he is an absolute treasure (a ratbag but you know :D). And Jaie knew all of this. Yet still he killed himself.

We, his family and loved ones, are left behind with the eternal questions;

  • WHY? Why didn’t he? Why didn’t I? Why didn’t???
  • What could I have done to prevent this?
  • How can we survive this?
  • Will I lose another to suicide now?
  • How did it get to this?
  • Didn’t he know I loved him?
  • Didn’t he love me/us?

And these are only a few of the incessant and cruel questions. Then there is also that lovely little friend who works amazingly well when combined with guilt … Hindsight … Which turns completely innocent historical discussions or incidents into a full on blame game with ourselves.

Almost 30 months into our journey and I can say that our minds and souls learn to manage the pain differently. We learn how to wear a mask and function like ‘normal’ folks. Meanwhile, inside our chests our hearts are tearing apart and in our skulls, our minds are constantly processing information received for potential triggers and emotional potholes.

Example: on the weekend while riding I saw a number plate with the year ‘93’ on it. My instant thought was “The driver is a year younger than Jaie.” Immediate thought after was “He is already a year older than Jaie was when he died.” And I had to pull over to make myself breathe and to stop myself wailing.

Individually, we are slowly learning to live with the constantly shifting sands, under our feet. As a family unit we are still struggling in many ways. Simply because of how close we were and are. Family gatherings are flawed now with the absence of a vibrant and energetic young character that was irrepressible and made the room fill with energy.

And his little daughter is full of that identical energy and we all try to take turns of getting a dose of her, like we are machines in need of a new battery to refill us with some vitality and desire, to continue to live in this messed up world.

Baby steps I keep saying is what we must do to survive. So we tip toe and try to find a suitable path back into life.




‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

Jaie’s Journey Inc… IA55787 …. We did it!!!

Well friends, we have finally gained official Not For Profit status. Took some time but better late than never. 


Loose ends are being tied up and slowly but surely, the momentum is gathering to create something which will truly help those at risk of suicide and to provide postvention support for families impacted by suicide.

We have several large corporations/businesses coming on board supporting us for our future journey and the only way is up from here … positive vibes and positive ripples. With the communities being the people who benefit from it, which is the desire from ALL involved.

As I have previously discussed, I have attended a 2.5 day training program ‘Train the Trainer’ – Lived Experience with Suicide Prevention Australia and Roses in the Ocean (November 2015). Recently I completed event training with the Queensland Mental Health Commission & Roses In The Ocean in Brisbane (April 26th, 2016). On April the 27th, 2016, I also attended training in Postvention support with Standby Response (United Synergies) in Maryborough and a networking / renewing the partnership session. After meeting the Queensland Mental Health Commissioner (Lesley) on April the 26th, it was encouraging to see and hear how much dedication for a better mental health system, Queenslands own Commissioner has. Bronwen from Roses in the Ocean is still another amazing and inspiring person involved with this battle on suicide.

Olwen, our suicide support group Coordinator, has been carrying this banner for suicide prevention and awareness for 25 years (this year). Owen lost her youngest son Chris in 1991 to suicide and has been battling the systems and the stigma around suicide. Owen is inspirational and does not mince words. She is genuinely kind, generous and empathetic. I am so very grateful, Standby Response forwarded my contact details to Olwen. Between them all, they quite literally saved my life and have supported me (and my family) through this horrific journey. Owen is a wealth of experience, ideas and information and will be involved with planning certain areas of Jaie’s journey (I must advise Olwen is not a fan of my bike, so I just do not speak about it with her lol). However  the wealth of knowledge Olwen can contribute toward the prevention of suicide, is immeasurable.

Anyway, thank you to all of our dedicated followers and all who have helped us reach this pinnacle moment and I hope that you are able to stick with us for the rest of the journey to help others ❤ … For those who are new to our journey, welcome and we hope that Jaie’s Journey can help to make a positive influence in your own life ❤ …


‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’


‘It is what it is’ …


Whenever I look at a photo of Jaie, I instantly reach toward it as if I can brush his eyebrow into a neat shape. When he was a baby and a little boy, this was one of our rituals if he was hyped up or just wanted mommy love ❤ …

He had the most amazing eyelashes (compliments of his fathers genes) and the most unusual green coloured eyes (normally), which were chameleon eyes and could change colour with his moods … No one in my family or his father’s family, have the same coloured eyes as Jaie … So we have lost this individual and unique part of him, with his death …

I am struggling to keep my emotions in line. Some days are harder than others. The motivation behind what is proving to be an ongoing journey,  which I should have begun decades ago, is cruel and relentless.

‘It is what it is’

I spend days sourcing so many options of support and activities to promote awareness of suicide and prevention in the long term and once I confirm certain events, I can then promote and make them public.

One week, and the offical work will begin to take shape … Six weeks and the backbone component of Jaie’s Journey, will commence … In 10-12 weeks, new connections will be made on a scale that I understand at this moment, is immeasurable until then … 24-26 weeks, let us hope that the growth and connections are continuing to grow firstly within the local community and outwards from there.


‘Love sometimes comes like a dream & leaves like a nightmare’



Stumble in my Shoes for a Day …

A persons grief journey is as individual as the person. I cannot walk another’s path and they cannot walk mine. Although there will be similarities in the journeys, they will NEVER be exactly the same.
Much of this has to do with the individuals own emotional and mental makeup, as well as their relationship with the person who has died. With a loss of a loved one to suicide, it is a grief which is unexplainable, until or unless, it is experienced by another directly. (This is NOT a wish I have for anyone).

I have been bad mouthed, harassed, accused of being a thief and slandered for being a grieving mother, who has made a conscious decision to stand up and speak out, simply to try and raise awareness of suicide, mental health and depression.

Specifically from a Survivor of Suicide and grieving persons perspective.

Yes, this means I have also had to discuss and decide to place my children and family/friends, in the public eye, to a degree. This does not mean I am slathering their photos for attention. It is to show that Jaie has a loving and close relationship with his family. That Jaie has several close friends and they too have been traumatised by his death.

It is to show that many of those lost to suicide have every reason to live, but that something went terribly wrong and they were unable to ask for help. That we, as a society are responsible for helping to remove the stigma attached to depression, suicide and people (males especially) asking for help.
Also to advocate for others who are bereaved by suicide and they simply are unable to speak up publicly, about the trauma and devastation the loss of their loved one to suicide, has caused them and their families and friends.


Still Fighting and Will Keep Fighting60717_10151218898288473_1041787761_n


I have also been told I am brave and inspirational. I do not see this or feel this at all, even though I do understand the emotions behind such positive words. I do not feel brave and inspirational… I simply feel broken and sad and very lost, while I try to navigate a rough and treacherous path, which has no maps or bearings to help.

However, by contacting other survivors of suicide, the path has been made less lonely, then if I tried walking it alone. They may not be able to tell me which way to go, or how I should do things, but these tortured and brave souls are there at least to lean upon when I am exhausted and to remind me to practice mindfulness and self-care. Importantly, I am also here for them to vent or lean on in their hours of crushing grief and frustration or anger. This helps us all; so we know we are not alone, that we have others who ‘get’ how this truly feels and it helps us to find our way through a dark and despairing grief journey.

There are also many amazing and special friends and family who have stood by our sides without wavering and without any question.

Only to reassure us that “We are we here for you all.”
We are entering into our 2nd year Thanoversary (1st April) for Jaie​ and his 2nd birthday as an Angel (30th March). I struggle to move from my bed and room, simply because the emotions and grief I am experiencing, are so heavy.


People who spew hatred and anger at people who are bereaved deserve a special kind of punishment. And it is with true faith and belief that I will see this occur. Get this through your thick skulls, those who feel they have a ‘right’ to attack myself or my family…

You are nothing, to attack a grieving family.

You are nothing, when you bad mouth people who trusted you implicitly and you then broke that trust.

Not only broke our trust, but you abused it. Along with the trust of many others. I, as an individual took a stand on behalf of those who were/are unaware of everything and for those who were/are unable to protect themselves.
And I shall continue to do so, because protecting the vulnerable and at risk, is far more important than gaining anything in a financial manner and in a public arena.
As a survivor of suicide I shall protect those left behind as best I can, so that their trauma is lessened at least to any small degree. And why do I do this you may ask? Because I too am a survivor and I too understand the complexities of this grief from suicide. I understand the triggers are never simple or easy to navigate.

So before you (and this means ANYONE) judge me and my grieving children, family and friends, you come stumble a day in OUR shoes, to see just how difficult it is to find any form of solid ground, when it continually shifts from under our feet.


Jaie’s Journey Our New Normal After Death By Suicide – Facebook


#jaiesjourney #restinlove #stampoutstigma #educationisthekey #exerciseandnaturehelp #gracedurbin #kidsmatterok
#depressionawareness #suicideprevention #differentbattlesamewar


Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare