Mother lost her husband, then son to suicide

The Bishop of Derry, Most Rev. Donal McKeown pictured with Angela Hayes and her son, Alan and Liam Coyle at the Youth Fest at  Long Tower. Also included are pupils from local Post Primary school, Richard Moore, Longtower folk group, Jennifer O'Kane, and Fr Brendan Collins.Photo: Stephen Latimer
The Bishop of Derry, Most Rev. Donal McKeown pictured with Angela Hayes and her son, Alan and Liam Coyle at the Youth Fest at Long Tower. Also included are pupils from local Post Primary school, Richard Moore, Longtower folk group, Jennifer O'Kane, and Fr Brendan Collins.Photo: Stephen Latimer

A mother of four has spoken to students in Derry about the moment she found out her husband and son had taken their own lives

In moving scenes at Long Tower Church on Friday, Angela Hayes from Kilkenny said she felt angry at her husband at first - and when her son Tommy took his own life nine years later felt her heart had been ripped out.

Angela was joined by footballer Liam Coyle who spoke of his own depression after being told he would never play football again.

“I drove to Lisfannon and sat in the car for 3-4 hours debating if the water was too cold,” he said. “But my mother kept coming into my head and I knew that it would destroy her. My mother always said she had faith enough for the both of us.”

Angela said she was numb after the death of her husband and that she was angry.

However when her son Tommy took his own life nine years and one day after his father life was horrendous.

“There was no signs of anything being wrong at all,” she said. “He was training to be a chef and was supposed to be making his sister’s birthday cake. He had loads of plans for the future.. He left a message on his friend’s phone telling him to come into the garden. He didn’t want us to find him, but his brother did find him.

“I tell people now that it’s ok not to feel ok,” said Angela.

“But face your problems like Liam Coyle did.

“I am so grateful that we had so many good years together.”