Halewood employee, James Wynn who works in Manufacturing Engineering, is dedicated to raising awareness of suicide following the loss of his dad when James was only 14 years old. He has spoken at a Knowsley Council event about the importance of talking about mental health, and he today shares his moving story with us.
This is James’ story, in his own words:
“I’m 42 years of age and I’ve lived nearly 28 years without my dad. To lose a parent at any time in your life is difficult. But to lose your dad in your early teens to suicide will turn your world upside down.
“It was like a tornado - a force 10 hurricane tearing up my emotions and what I understood life was about, and then scattering them into the wind. It was a huge effort to find and pick the pieces up that were left behind and, with the first few attempts, I failed.
“There will always be a small part of me that remains the 14-year-old boy listening to my mum telling me what my dad had decided to do.
“My dad was Jimmy Wynn, my hero, the one to teach me about life, my go-to person. Most of you have stood at the bar with your dad as an adult, I never have. I would try to stop the earth from turning, if succeeding meant I could have a few pints with him. Just a couple of hours to stand at the bar as men, as fathers, dad and lad, but most importantly, as friends.
“I didn’t even get the opportunity to win one of our spectacular play fights. His record still stands at 1,359 wins, 0 losses. He did always tell me I’d never be big enough to beat him, and even if I got big enough, I’d be too old.
“He was average in height but a giant in character. Warm, tough, funny, a friend to many, resilient and fearless – and I’ve heard the stories to prove it.
“To quote him: ‘I’m Jimmy Wynn, I don’t go to people for help, people come to me.’ But maybe that was his flaw, his Achilles’ heel.
“He had a dark side that was different to the public perception of all these things he was. No one could see it coming; whatever forced his hand. All he had to do was reach out, but something stopped him. This, for me brings his sadness into it; the side no one really knew or understood.
“The years without him have brought every emotion and feeling you could imagine. As you get older, you think differently, you gain the ability to put things into perspective. So, the feelings of loneliness, anger, even hatred for him and the situation I found myself in, at times, turned to his loneliness.
“He must have been extremely lonely to decide that this was his only option, that he’d had enough? Or was it that he’d had enough? Did he think we’d be better off without him? Was it guilt that forced him to do it? Was it something I’d done, even hadn’t done? The questions are endless. All of them are unanswerable.
“My point is that, neither I, nor anyone else will never know why or when he’d decided or how he decided. One thing that I do know, or I’m pretty certain of, is that he must not have known the devastation he would cause.
“It wasn’t about what anyone had specifically done, it’s about how he felt, no one forced him, he wanted to. It’s an illness, and suicide was his cure.
“It is one of the harshest lessons life will teach you, nothing could ever prepare you for it. The only thing that’s made it bearable is time. On the same hand though, time does not stop me missing him, loving him or wanting to share the things that a father and son should.
“I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt now because it does. I found a strength to deal with it. I now understand and accept his decision. But it's taken a long time.’
This Thursday (2 February, 2023) in the UK is Time to Talk Day. This is a day dedicated to creating supportive communities by having conversations with family, friends and colleagues about mental health. We all have mental health, by talking about it we can support ourselves and others, just as James has done.
For more information about Time to Talk Day, you can visit the website here.