Cashen, and George Tomie, the founder of Survivors of Suicide, have helped families that drive in from as far as Truro and Cape Breton to share their experiences with others. Cashen believes the best way to deal with the loss of a loved one is simply to talk about it.
Patrick’s parents have found comfort in talking with families who have lost their children to similar fates. They found sharing their experiences was helpful in their bereavement.
“You have no idea until you’ve actually gone through it; you can’t ever imagine how difficult it is,” says Patrick’s father, Mike Convey.
“Nobody can say ‘Well, I think this is what’s it like’ because they do not know. It is unlike anything you have ever felt.”
Cashen says the bereavement process for people left behind by suicide is different for each person. For the Conveys, eight months have passed since the death of their son and their living room still contains boxes of condolence letters. There are stacks of cards on the mantel.
“We’ll answer them all eventually,” says Mike. “We kind of pick away at them, because to do them all at once would take way too much out of you.”
The Conveys haven’t even talked to police in detail about the death of their son yet.
“We’re just not there yet; it’s a difficult thing to do,” says Mary-Celine.