Love within grief

This poem was written one year after listening, face-to-face, to the stories of loss by suicide of nine other brave people. They shared their sad, truthful and heartfelt stories with me as I did with them.

We thought we were going to see each other early this year but COVID had other ideas. I wanted to share this with them face to face but realised it is a story that others may need to hear now.


I fell into the dark 

where no light ever shone

Along a dreadful path

Without my beautiful son


My head did not work

The pain ripped at my heart,

It cut down to my soul

We weren’t meant to be apart


Breathing was so hard 

In such an empty place

I wanted to reach out and touch you

To hear you, to see your face


A year ago something changed 

A shift in life for me

A year ago I ended up

Exactly where I was supposed to be


I sat and listened to your lives

And why you were so sad

I listened to what your story was

And what you used to have


My heart broke a little 

For every one of you

I understood the pain inside

That’s what I feel too


I finally found a place

Where words were truly meant

Where we knew that our loved ones

Were truly heaven sent


The petals that are in a rose

Are fragile and refined 

The petals that make up our rose

are strong and they are kind


So together we remember those

We miss and love so dear

Together we love you all

Together we hold you near


Never far away

Never far apart

Always in our thoughts

Always in our heart


Siân Houghton 5th February 2020 

National Lived Experience Advisory Member, StandBy and Roses In The Ocean Member

onion skins (for irena)

we were all once stars, matter layered inside stars,

the projected dust of some super nova

touched by a butterfly’s wing.

each dust shell is the edge of star mass projected

by helium flash once every fifteen hundred years.

if these are the final drawn out gasps of a dying star

then did you shed shells of yourself

in those first motions of death?


as i peel back each familiar skin

i come closer to the fundamental you

and the emergent possibilities of our eternal symmetry.

i look to your discarded shell and understand

that you leave me with more

than just these layers of memory.


walking alone on towradgi beach

i see waves that are water slices

shaved in succession

by the continental shelf,

the next one forming over as the spent one recedes

and I know that our past motion is your energy

stored inside of me.

Light on a Hill

Ten years ago Alex lost her son to suicide, he was 18 years old. Here she talks about her lived experience and how music and in particular song writing has helped her. Alex has generously and courageously agreed to share the song she wrote for her son Rowan ‘Light on a Hill’.

‘Anniversaries are never easy, but somehow we manage to get through as a family, and the grief has slightly shifted over the years. Anger, guilt and feeling out of control have dominated at times, but I have sought help from various organisations which have eased the pain.

I have also had catharsis from song writing and performance and have been a professional entertainer for 25 years. I feel it is vital to share our stories in order to understand each other’s perspective, and to bring a sense of hope and healing to all those affected by suicide.’