Wexford People

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The late Mikey Shiel.

The late Mikey Shiel.

Mareva, left, with children Josh and Megan.

Mareva, left, with children Josh and Megan.


The late Mikey Shiel.

THE heartbroken widow of much-missed Wexford man Mikey Shiel has spoken publicly for the first time about the devastation and loss she and her children have suffered as a result of his suicide.

'It has been a very difficult year and I think it's probably something that I will never get my head around,' said Mareva Shiel.

She said that if just one person contemplating suicide, instead seeks help after reading her words, 'I will have achieved something'.

'I think it's something that I will never accept, but I suppose I've kind of learned to adapt to a different way of life.'

'It's devastating for those left behind. Nothing can compare to it, your whole life is shattered into a million pieces,' said Mareva.

No-one had any clue that Mikey was considering suicide.

No-one knew that he had financial issues.

Echoing the words of Ask campaigner Frank Staples, Mareva said 'he had the mask up'.

Mikey took his own life the day before he was due to be audited by the Revenue.

He had kept that from his family as well.

'If he had said anything. If he had told me or any of his friends, he would have got help and I would still have a husband and his children would still have their dad,' Mareva told this newspaper in a frank and hard-hitting interview, just two weeks from the first anniversary of Mikey's untimely death.

It is a brave thing to do, speaking about a loved one's suicide, but Mareva has resolved to get the message out there - that people need to talk, that people thinking about taking their own lives should speak to a friend, a relative, a counsellor before they act.. before there is no turning back.

Mareva said Mikey's death had left her traumatised, sometime unable to sleep at night.

'You are dealing with a loved one's suicide. you feel so many different emotions, you have so many questions in your head.

'The biggest thing is speaking with the children in a situation like this,' said Mareva, who has two children, Megan, aged 16, and Josh, aged 15.

A mental health nurse, Mareva said Mikey didn't suffer from mental health issues, 'he just wore the mask and wore it very well. There was nothing you could pick up on. In that situation there is a very fine line being walked.

'He was very troubled, but his ego, his pride prevented him from asking for help.. he felt that what he did was his only option: That his family, his mam, his siblings, his extended family, his friends would be better off without him.

'I think there was panic, fear of shame.. and he was too ashamed to admit he had these problems,' she said, 'he was thinking what are people going to think of me?'

'But in this situation, people are depriving themselves of their life with their family and work colleagues.'

Mareva said she believes the prospect of an impending Revenue audit - 'for very little money' - drove 45-year-old Mikey to take that final and irreversible step.

'The first I knew of the audit was the afternoon I found him,' said Mareva, who lives in Coolcotts.

'If Mikey had gone to somebody or if I had known about it, I would have gone to the accountant and we could have sorted it out, but I didn't know, but in that situation, people feel they've no choice, no other option, that they are under so much pressure and so much stress, but no problem is too big to be resolved.

'The night before he died had been at a match, if he had spoken to anyone there, to one of his friends in the Harriers, I believe we would still have him here, that the children would still have their father.. they deprive themselves of so much,' she said.

Mareva said it was important to listen, but never to judge in the event that someone was prepared to open up about what was troubling them. There's always an avenue you can turn to ask for help,' said Mareva, who is bravely planning to fund raise for the Ask campaign.

She said the children were dealing with what happened with the support of family and friends. Her father had broken the terrible news to Josh that his father had taken his own life.

'When they ask questions they will be answered as honetly as possible. I'm concentrating on my work, but my main priorities are Megan and Josh,' she said, 'nothing could have prepared us for what happened, and no one should have to be put through such a tragedy.

'Just ask.. just speak to someone before it's too late,' she said.

Wexford People