Blogging like this can you lead you down a few different paths and allow you to meet many wonderful people in life, and share in their stories. I always maintain however that there is something about Northern Ireland people that is that little bit more special, you always feel connected to them no matter who they are or where in this little country they come from.
This was evident quite recently when a lovely woman happened to like and comment on a few posts on my Instagram page. I love when people do this because I love a little chat. But this brief exchange led to a conversation about a book that she has recently written.
The lady in question is Serena Marie Heath and she had told me she had written and self published a book entitled “Saving Mark.” Serena had asked me if I was interested in doing a review of the book and I said I would, anything to help out someone else from our little country. Admittedly, it has been a LONG time since I have taken time to read anything, something I wish I had not got out of the habit of as a child. But this was a great way to get me back into reading, and my my, this story just hits you so hard in the emotions it is difficult to not put it down.
Without giving too much away, because I really feel you need to buy this book and read it for yourself, the story is about Serena’s Uncle Mark, who passed away due to Suicide and this is her story of what happened, how she coped with it and the all that goes along with having to deal with the whole thing.
As I read this story, I could feel my heart wrench, I could feel the emotion in the writing, the pain and the hurt in every word that was etched onto the paper. I had to fight back the tears in my eyes a little as I read along, you are immersed immediately into the story and what happened and from there on you are drawn to the people in this story.
It is so well written, as I said, you can feel the emotion in the writing, but the story is intertwined beautifully with wonderfully recollected stories of her and her Uncle Mark that make you smile and realise that we all have people like that in our families. From the very outset of this story, I felt like I was right in the midst of this tragedy, I felt like I just wanted to put my arms on the peoples shoulders and grieve with them, such is the power of the author.
Proceeds of this book are going towards the erection of a headstone in honour of Mark’s memory and any proceeds after that will go to a suicide charity to help others in a similar situation.
We have all been in moments of grief like this, some naturally, some unexpected and some out of pure tragedy, so each one of us can relate to this situation, but in the midst of this story, a lesson can be pulled from it. If you or someone you know is going through something similar and are concerned, then do something about it. Call them, text them, go to their house, take them out. ANYTHING you can. You will think that you are probably being a pain in the arse to them but sometimes that is what is needed to help someone. You may never get another opportunity to do so!
Many people here in Northern Ireland will agree that Mental Health Services here are severely lacking, waiting lists are too long to be excused for, and people are dying, and families are suffering, left behind wondering what they could have done more to help, when that guilt they have isn’t all their own fault.
And if you’re a guy reading this, and feel you may be in a situation of despair or darkness, DO NOT LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO TELL YOU TO “MAN UP”, GO SPEAK TO SOMEONE, GET THE HELP AND SUPPORT YOU NEED AND DESERVE!
Here are a few telephone numbers if you need them:
Lifeline – 0808 808 8000
SANE – 0300 304 7000
Don’t want to talk? Then that’s ok, Samaritans now have a text line where a support worker will text with you, just text 116 123.
To purchase the book click here:
In memory of Mark, may you rest in peace.