Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Why we should always ask – R U OK?

I remember being told some horrible news when I was about 12 years old. A sweet, caring and beautiful older lady named Helen who lived down the street from my dad had passed away in what I can only describe as a truly horrific and incomprehensible way. I only saw her once a week, but she was always pleased to see us, would offer my sister & I sweets & always tell my dad what lovely girls he had.

At the time, she was simply a lovely lady whom I knew very little about, that everyone in the neighbourhood thought highly of. One day we picked her flowers from the park & dropped them off on our way home. This little, admittedly small-thought gesture I was later told, was talked about for a week.

This sweet and loving woman never spoke ill of anything & always had a beautiful smile on display. You’d never had guessed the traumatic and heartbreaking reality she faced on a daily basis at the hands of her abusive and putrid husband who I will hate until the day I die.

She once said that life held much beauty even in the face of adversities. She never complained or spoke in want of anything. She sung praises of those around her and when asked how she was going, she would always reply with “all the better for having seen you”.

Helen took her own life in April 1998 in such a way that still brings me to tears 14 years later and gave a horrible insight to the extent of her suffering.

The shock felt like being hit by a freight train at a million miles an hour & given the nature of the situation, it wasn’t until I was a bit older that dad told me the story in its entirety. To this day, I am still amazed that she was able to smile and be as beautiful of a person as she was and have no one ever guess what horror was going on behind closed doors.

I wholeheartedly believe that if someone had of known the extent of her hardship, that someone would have been able to help her & she would still be here today.

Even if you don’t suspect that anything may be wrong, start the conversation. Ask someone if they are OK. Regrettably, today is a day that many in that neighbourhood are reminded of the conversation they wished they’d started with Helen.

Visit: and start a conversation that could change a life.

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