Wednesday 13 December 2017

'I'll never understand why he did it' - Mum-of-three left heartbroken after husband's sudden death

Yvonne and Keith Kelleher with their young kids
Yvonne and Keith Kelleher with their young kids
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A devastated mum-of-three is pleading for help after her husband died suddenly earlier this month.

Yvonne Kelleher (37) from Cork was left heartbroken when her husband Keith (39) died by suicide on May 17.

Yvonne and Keith were childhood sweethearts who grew up as neighbours and fell in love at 16-years-old. They were 11 years married and were together for 21 years.

The couple had three kids, aged 10, nine and six-years-old.

"I've spent more of my life with Keith than without. I'm absolutely destroyed. We were so close and did everything together.

"It was very unexpected. There were no signs of depression. He was a very hands-on dad and was so young," Yvonne told

Yvonne believes that her husband took his own life because of stress.

"He didn't have any big debts but I think the stress of everything just got to him in the end," she said.

The mum-of-three recalls the last time she saw her husband alive and said she'll never understand why he died.

"He went out the door that morning and was dead by 10:30am. I was speaking with him at around half nine on the phone and there was absolutely no indication that anything was wrong. The night before we had the kids at a confirmation party and we all had a great time. We put the kids to bed together and stayed up talking and there were no signs," she said.

"I think he did what he did in a minute of madness. I think he decided in a short space of time to take his own life. I'll never know or understand what happened."

Yvonne got a call from her daughter's school to say that she wasn't feeling well and tried to contact Keith to tell him.

"I knew when he didn't answer his phone or ring me back that something was wrong. I had that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach."

Keith's garage was just around the corner from his parent's home, where he was found dead by his father on the morning of May 17.

"I just can't believe it. We're destroyed. Keith did everything for us. We are so lost without him.

"If only he knew how much he was loved and how much support he had."

The mum-of-three said that her main focus now is her three young kids.

"We're living in a nightmare. We had no mortgage protection, no life insurance, I don't drive. I don't know where I stand on losing the house. My kids can't lose the house as well as their dad," she said.

Yvonne said she's not working at the moment but will try find a job to support her young family.

"Keith was self employed so we always had a wage coming in. Now we have nothing," she said.

She praised Pieta House for their help and is arranging counselling through them for herself and her kids.

"They are fantastic. They're so welcoming. I was surprised by how many people were in the waiting room.

"The stigma around mental health led to Keith keeping it to himself. He was a quiet, proud man. There aren't enough mental health facilities in Cork. There's very few place for people to turn to when they need help."

Yvonne's friends set up a fundraising page to help the young family pay their mortgage, bills and living expenses.

"Nobody around me has the money to get me out of this rut so I need some help.

"My mum died five years ago from cervical cancer so she's not here to help me out. I don't know what the future holds for my kids."

She said the kids are doing fine but one day she will have to explain to them what happened.

"They miss their dad. He did everything for them. He dropped them off at school and picked them up. He was very hands-on.

"I never pictured my life without him. He gave us so much over his lifetime and we're finding things very hard."

You can donate to Yvonne's family here

If you have been affected by this issue you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

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