A letter to Shane.

A letter to Shane.                                                                                                                               06/Dec/2010

Hi gorgeous. What can I say? We miss you so very much. Our lives will never be the same without you and our hearts are permanently sore. How did this happen to you?

Everyone has been so good and they all try to help and say things like “you have to let it go” or “it will heal in time” but I can’t and I know it won’t!  I’ve also been told “you have to get on with your life for your other children”…What?  Did they know you Shane? Did they know how ridiculous this is? I’m doing this as much for you as for Lucy and the lads. I hope in years to come, they will know that we did everything in our power to find the reasons behind this and did all we could to make people aware, so that no other family will ever be in the same situation! Your aunts and uncles have been fantastic and Nick has been brilliant (never realised how handy it is to have a barrister in the family). And of course your favourite, Shauna and Detective Colm.

We still have good times you know, when the lads make us laugh, we still have chocolate and popcorn feasts and we still make snowmen in the garden. We still laugh at Tony’s snowman attempts! (Still terrible). I miss you, Liam, Jake and myself Laughing at Tony (not with him. at him). He misses it too. He was always so good natured at taking it, besides he got fed up sulking and was eventually getting quite good at retaliating (which surprised us). He’s still mad about us… poor man! He goes up to your grave a lot, but I suppose you know that already. He has lost 3 stone, can tell me the exact number of days, how many weeks since our lives were turned upside down and sometimes I can’t even bear to look at him, the pain in his face is so raw. But don’t worry, he will be ok, we’ll mind him!

We have spent the last 16 months stuck to the internet trying to make out how the Pharmaceutical companies are getting away with lying about the side effects of ssri’s. I wish I knew, when I made you go to the doctor that you are between 2 and 5 times more likely to kill yourself when you first take antidepressants than if I had kept you at home! I never heard of akathisia or that suicide, violence, somnolence, aggression can be a side effect of antidepressants. I had never associated the school shootings around the world with antidepressants. You were our Shane, the happy confident one who shocked us all with your broken heart. Your friends have been great and still come down to play with the lads. They are getting on with their lives now and I’m thankful for that because it really affected them more than you would have thought possible.  I have lots of lovely letters from people who knew you, saying what an amazingly kind person you were (I know you’d like that).

You wouldn’t believe the amazing people that we have met since you’ve gone. The people that have stuck their necks out for you and put their own reputation on the line, despite the majority of psychiatrists in Ireland and a few nasty priests trying to make us out to be liars. But hey, you know me…that kind of thing keeps me going! I wonder if you’ve met Dr. Michael Corry up there. He was our saviour and within a few days of Aug 16th had come out in the papers and said he would stake his reputation on the fact that ssri’s had been involved. Darina’s friend Caroline had sent her the article and she told us about him. He was amazing! He was also hounded by psychiatry Ireland who made a complaint about what he said, to the Irish Medical Council. He could have been struck off  had he lost, but he was a stronger man than they thought and he didn’t backtrack! He died on Feb 22. Is that a coincidence or what? Your birthday! He gave us one piece of advice which I will always remember. He said, make sure to let positive people surround you and never let negative people into your lives. That’s exactly what we have done and is probably the reason why I have never got angry. It’s a negative emotion and will not help anyone.

Then we came across Professor David Healy who is an Irish guy and an expert on antidepressants. He is reported to be the best expert in the world on ssri’s and he is called as a medical expert in a lot of the big ssri cases around the world. I talked to him on the phone and by e-mail a few times. I pestered the poor man about doing a report for your inquest. He says for every one report he does, he declines to comment or else finds that the antidepressant was not the cause in 100 other cases. We were amazed when he said he would come to the inquest. He is such a nice man and not a bit professorish (my word). He was trying to get the message to the Irish people about the possible side effects of these drugs, but I was happier that he could explain it in detail to your friends, cousins, brothers, granny and granddad that were also there. Anyway he was brilliant and we will never be able to repay him for what he did for you!

It’s hard to say what I want to say because of the other people involved in this and I know you would be so heartbroken that you brought this tragedy upon other people. Believe me, if it was just our family involved, I would happily chain myself to the Dail or to the gates of the Irish Medicines Board to find out how and why these drugs are licenced and at least why warnings are not put on the packs.  But there are other people affected so I will have to behave myself and do it by the proper channels and try not to cause any more hurt to anybody.

Christmas is strange without you. Do you remember when I had the Christmas tape in my car and we’d give George (name change here but you know who you are) a lift home on my way from work? The craic and the singsongs we had on the way home! We kept rewinding it and replaying Wham, (Last Christmas) all the way home. It was when you and Liam went through that phase of trying to annoy each other by saying, you’re gay, No you’re gay. You were both dumbfounded when I said so what? Sure George is gay! That shut you both up. You were both fascinated for a while and I’m sure he was wondering what you were staring at but it thought you both a lesson and I never heard either of you saying it again.

Then you learned to drive at 17 (it’s a culchié thing) and you wrote off my car on your 18th birthday. Rolled 3 times and you walked away with a scratch on your leg and a big dent in your pride. (Sorry about that but hey…you didn’t turn into an angel overnight just because you’re dead you know).  You hated it when Tony slagged you about it every time you were in the car with us and we rounded that bend. Hilarious though and he was entitled to get a comeback the odd time.

Do you remember he bought you the Titanic video which was your favourite and you still kept it even though nobody has a video player anymore.  And the time Cosmas and Diane came to stay with us for a while in Newcastle and you gave up your room. I don’t remember you giving out. Perhaps because you were in the gaelteacht for a few weeks and then when you came back Cosmas always gave you a jaunt on the back of his motorbike.

Liam, Jake and Jack miss you the most I think, because they know what happened and the reasons behind it. Jack misses his weekend trips out and his lovely cool big brother (and probably Eddie rockets).They each have one of your teddies that you wouldn’t let me throw out and Liam says he doesn’t need one because he has one of his own. (Sorry Liam). I miss the lectures and the elocution lessons… (It’s I saw and not I seen! And professorish is not a word). Henry and Lucy think you are minding them from heaven but also think heaven is near Australia and you will be back at some stage. Tony just wishes he could have minded you better and stopped you from leaving us. I just wish I had you back for 5 minutes so I could give you a big hug and tell you how much we all love you, but I suppose you know that too.

Love Mum xx

4 thoughts on “A letter to Shane.

  1. Really touching letter Leonie. Can’t believe we’re coming up to the second Christmas without him now. I know it’s no use in saying it, but what ya wouldn’t do to go back and fix it, but I mean nobody ever dreamed of this. I started finding some of the post-its that we used to write back n forth to each other in the library, so funny the crap we used to talk about. One of them, he’d just written “you’re a man” on it, to which I’d repled, “I have ovaries.” Such stupid stuff, but it used to be the highlight of my day seeing him. It’s weird how these post-its just started turning up in old handbags n stuff that I’ve been using a while but never saw the little scrunched up post its in the pockets n that. He really made a career out of ripping the piss out of me, n unlike Tony, I never had any good come-backs, so I’d just laugh – and then he’d say I’d laugh at anything he said, n it was true. I’m always thinking about yas, and the kids too. x

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  2. Was BARELY holding it together throughout..but that last paragraph, not a chance.. just broke me!
    Know what ya mean Chrissy..have some notes from class and the library that are destroyed with doodles and notes! Found one where he has highlighted half the page on me. I’ve written “Shane!Stop feckin highlighting!!” ….which he then highlighted.
    Have some decent come-backs on them but when I tried keepin a straight face/saying ‘that’s not funny’, I failed miserably.

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