Suicide of Young People: Elaine talks about the death of her son Lewis
DVD2002 26 Minutes
Elaine talks about the death of her son by hanging.
DVD no. 5
Elaine is the mother of Lewis, a 16-year old technical college student who took his own life by hanging, some 18-months prior to the interviews. Elaine was divorced some years ago and her ex-husband has re-married and had only limited contact with his previous family.
Lewis had done very poorly in his GCSE examinations in the summer and had refused to show his results to any member of the family. He expressed interest in carpentry and with his mother’s encouragement, signed on at the technical college for a carpentry course. In November, 1999, his brother rebuked him for taking and letting-off some of his fireworks. A few days later, his sister rebuked him for skipping classes and this led to a heated argument between them. Very shortly after this, Lewis took the cord from his sister’s dressing gown and hanged himself on playground monkey bars fairly close by. The family had nicknamed him, Stormin’
Norman because of his tendency to go off in a huff when things were not going in the way he wanted them to. Lewis’s death was totally unexpected and came as a great shock to the whole family. However they tend not to talk to one another.
Elaine was in a frozen state for a long time and remains very distressed. She wanted to see Lewis’s body to make the situation real for her. She is angry with him for taking his own life and carries a great deal of guilt. She feels undeserving and her self-image has taken a big knock. She worries for her other children, especially Gareth, yet resents others moving on. She tends to tell outsiders that she has two, not three, children and feels very guilty about doing this. It is not because she is ashamed of Lewis but because she cannot face the anticipated reactions. Elaine visits the grave regularly and prefers to go alone.
Part of the series The Suicide of Young People and its Impact on the Family.