Friday 18 August 2017

Julie's agony shows why suicide is never answer to depression

Picture posed
Picture posed
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

Julie Burchill has been, since the 1980s, the very embodiment of a fearless, witty, hedonistic and confident female voice in the British media: a celebrity figure around whom a fan club developed because of her affirmative view that a woman must live the life she wants and the life she loves, undaunted by convention or social hypocrisies.

She has often written openly about her life choices, and always, boldly and courageously, stood by them. But her most recent public message, put on her Facebook page last week, was heart-wrenchingly sad: she announced the death of her son Jack, aged 29, by suicide. "My beloved son Jack Landesman killed himself earlier this week. Look after the people you love, as I tried to and failed." She who had always been so open and so public about her life, now sought privacy in grief, and asked friends not to be in touch. "Thank you for all your good wishes and offers of support, but I have my Dan [her husband Daniel Raven]….the love of my friends is a wonderful source of fun in my life, but excuse me if I don't need it right now."

Heaven knows any mother - or father - who has been through the loss of a child will sympathise with her: and will have full understanding that this is the worst emotional sorrow a parent can experience. Jack Landesman was a bass guitarist in a rock band, and had suffered from depression. His father, Cosmo Landesman, Julie's second husband, is a witty writer whose parents, Jay and Fran Landesman were an adorable American bohemian couple, veterans of the Jack Kerouac beat generation, and habitués of Soho whom I knew.

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