Wednesday 22 November 2017

'Maybe it shows aching need for stigma of suicide to be broken' - Irish comedian Aisling Bea overwhelmed by tributes

Comedian Aisling Bea
Comedian Aisling Bea
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

Comedian Aisling Bea says she has been blown away by the reaction to her heart-felt piece about losing her dad to suicide when she was three-years-old.

The Kildare native (33) penned an article for a British newspaper chronicling how she learned to cope with losing her beloved father in such tragic circumstances 30 years ago.

She received thousands of responses to her beautifully written article, which went viral on social media over the weekend.

Writing afterwards, she said she was “so overwhelmed by the floods of stories/love from people, maybe it shows the aching need for the stigma of suicide to be broken”.

“When I was young, there seemed to be no stories about this often taboo and lonely subject,” she added.

“Share if you think it might connect with someone.”

Many well-known celebrities, who have also been honest about their struggles with mental health issues, sent Aisling messages about her piece.

Among them were Catastrophe star Rob Delaney and Niall Breslin, who said it was an “absolutely earth-shaking piece of writing. Every cell in my body felt it”.

In the article, Aisling chronicled how she and her sister grew up not knowing the circumstances surrounding his death, but on the 10th anniversary her mum sat them down to explain that he died by suicide.

“Once she had told us, I did not want to talk about him. Ever again. I now hated him,” she wrote.

“He had not been ‘taken’ from us, he had left. His suicide felt like the opposite of parenting. Abandonment. Selfishness. Taking us for granted.”

She was hurt that a letter he left behind never mentioned her or her sister.

But her family were recently given a box of his personal belongings from his previous employer, which included countless photos of her as a child.

“The photos in the box had been collected from his desk after he had died,” Aisling recalled.

“They were nearly all of me. He had all of these photos stuck on his desk.

“I was probably the last thing he looked at before he died.”

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