Remembering loved ones lost to suicide

Mary Ellen Hayward and Monica Coates pictured at the Memory Tree of Lights on Sunday night. INLV5115-575KDR
Mary Ellen Hayward and Monica Coates pictured at the Memory Tree of Lights on Sunday night. INLV5115-575KDR

Families bereaved by suicide joined for a moving Remembrance Service in Limavady on Sunday.

The poignant service consisted of carols from The Salvation Army and readings by members of the Roe Valley Bereaved by Suicide Support Group.

Barry McGale and Colleen Dall pictured at the Memory Tree of Lights on Sunday night. INLV5115-574KDR

Barry McGale and Colleen Dall pictured at the Memory Tree of Lights on Sunday night. INLV5115-574KDR

At the event in the Roe Park Resort, families attached messages to a memory tree of lights “for those we love.”

Among them, Monica Coates from Limavady who lost her son, Tony, 14 years ago on Sunday.

“Myself and Mary Ellen Hayward started the group, Roe Valley Bereaved by Suicide Support Group, four years ago. It’s a comfort, and gives strength to families. We’ve met a lot of families over the years and we hope we have helped them. People come and go, and they sometimes find it painful, but it’s not all doom and gloom. We do have our laughs. We’ve seen such a difference in people from when they started coming to the group to now,” said Monica. “Every day is a new day and you just have to keep on going. It won’t get better, but it will get easier.”

Group co-facilitators, Colleen Dall and Barry McGale said people can drop in and out of the group.

“The group is a therapy,” said Colleen. “It’s a way of being with people who know exactly what you are going through and we have people who are at different stages along their grief,” said Colleen.

Mr McGale said: “Regardless of people’s faith, or belief systems, Christmas reminds people of everyone who is not here, and that’s why it is an open ceremony for people to come along and remember people who they have lost in this tragic way.”

The Group meets at The Wellness Centre, Irish Green Street, Limavady every second Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm.