For Alex: A father’s plea to weather the storm

Sophie ElliottBusselton Dunsborough Times

Jon Eddy is still trying to make sense of the events of July 4 and what led to them.

Deep down, he knows he will never get the answers he so desperately seeks to the questions he knows he will have forever.

In spite of this, he is determined to turn his pain into something positive so no other family feels the despair his family do right now.

Three weeks ago, Mr Eddy’s eldest son, Alex, took his own life.

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Last Tuesday, Alex was farewelled and remembered as a charming, kind and peaceful soul, who always put the happiness of others before his own.

That being said, there were no visible signs that Alex wasn’t happy, or that anything was wrong.

For his father Jon, mother Liisa, brother Tommi, his friends and colleagues, his passing was “completely out of the blue”, with “no warning” and “no reason”. As far as anyone could see, Alex was his “normal self”.

The 20-year-old was working hard to achieve his goals — including completing his apprenticeship as a chef, and travelling the world.

Alex Eddy loved to travel and had travelled extensively in his short life.
Camera IconAlex Eddy loved to travel and had travelled extensively in his short life.

Just two days before his death, Alex had dinner with his family and booked a trip to Lombok.

Mourners were encouraged to wear colours on Tuesday to celebrate Alex’s life, but for the family it is difficult to see when the world will ever have bright hues again.

At the service, Mr Eddy addressed the crowd and urged them, if they were contemplating taking their life, to remember his face, and his pain, in that moment.

“Your pain will be ending, but the pain for those who love you will be only just beginning and it will never end,” he said.

“Don’t pass this pain on to the ones you love and who love you.”

Jon Eddy at the Busselton Foreshore Circle of Life memorial. The family plan to place a plaque here for Alex.
Camera IconJon Eddy at the Busselton Foreshore Circle of Life memorial. The family plan to place a plaque here for Alex.
Alex was becoming a chef.
Camera IconAlex was becoming a chef.

In the midst of his own shock and grief, Mr Eddy bravely reached out to the Times to put a face to the pain of those left behind by suicide.

He plans to use his family’s experience to raise awareness about suicide prevention, in what he describes as his “life mission”.

“I’ve got to make sure this isn’t for no reason,” he said. “It has to be to try and save other people’s lives.

“If we can stop one person doing this, then that’s a win. That is the only good thing I can see coming out of it.

“I need to get this message out. It is important to talk about it and I honestly think this is the only thing that will get me through this, spreading the word about this, to stop people from this moment of madness. It feels like something I have to do really urgently.”

Alex Eddy as a child
Camera IconAlex Eddy as a child

Mr Eddy will never know what his son was going through, or if he made a split second decision with permanent consequences.

He is struggling to comprehend his son’s “senseless death”, especially because it isn’t the first time he has been struck by a tragedy of this kind. Mr Eddy’s mother took her life when he was 15, his grandfather took his life when he was 27.

He wants those who may be having a bad day or feeling like they need support to speak up and reach out.

“You can’t see into someone’s head unless they open it to you and you just never know,” he said.

“You have to be kind to people, you don’t know what battles they are fighting.

“Please talk to people, and stop for a moment. That 20 minutes in your life can change everyone’s life around you, and in 25 minutes everything is fine — it has blown over. That storm is gone, you’ve just got to weather that storm.”

How to talk about it?

#YouCanTalk is a collaborative campaign by Australia’s leading mental health and suicide prevention organisations. The movement aims to increase community confidence when it comes to talking about suicide. Their message is anyone can start the conversation, not just health professionals, and if you need to talk, you can start by talking to those who are close to you. For resources that support starting the conversation, visit lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/youcantalk.

Lifeline 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

MensLine Australia 1300 789 978 www.mensline.org.au

Beyond Blue1300 224 636 www.beyondblue.org.au

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 www.kidshelpline.com.au

headspace 1800 650 890 www.headspace.org.au

ReachOut www.reachout.com

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