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Loved ones honoured at Wesley LifeForce Memorial in Brisbane

24 March 2017 Wesley Mission news

Wesley Suicide Prevention Services Remembering the lives lost to suicide and providing a space for the bereaved to celebrate their loved ones was the focus of the Wesley LifeForce Memorial Day in Brisbane on 16 March 2017.

“Our desire through Wesley LifeForce is to reach out, to encourage, to help people on that journey, to walk alongside other people,” said the CEO of Wesley Mission, Rev Keith Garner.

“Not all stories have a neat beginning, middle and end. Life is often very confused. But I want to reach out to you and offer to you condolences, yes, but the hope that can be yours through God’s love.”

Andrew Marriott, who lost his son to suicide in 2006, shared his journey of grief, loneliness and acceptance of his son’s decision to end his life.

“I felt like a washing machine being tossed from sadness to anger, guilt, shame, blame [of] both myself and of others at times, I must admit. All mixed in with, is this real? And, if only,” he said.

Mr Garner then interviewed Mark Davis, who lost his partner to suicide. Mark explained how his support system vanished after his partner passed away.

“What I didn’t expect was the shattering of my world … I lost friends, I lost family. And within three to four months I only had three people that were there on that day (Mark lost his partner) that were still talking or still part of my life. And that’s quite isolating.”

Both Andrew and Mark said they have found healing through sharing their stories with others who have lost loved ones to suicide.

“I hope that my speaking with you today has helped some of you to see that we can survive, go on and in fact we can again thrive. I believe that’s what our loved ones would have wanted,” said Andrew.

Carol Garner, Mr Garner’s wife, shared the symbolic meaning of a sunflower, expressing hope, warmth, strength and support, before handing them out to those at the service. As a symbol of peace, Mrs Garner released a dove into the sky. Mental health advocate, Justin Geange also performed ‘Beautiful In My Eyes’.

Guests were invited to leave messages of love and remembrance on the Wesley LifeForce Memorial Wall. If you have a remembrance message you would like to see appear on our online Wesley LifeForce Memorial Wall, email [email protected]

Wesley LifeForce Memorial Days gives the bereaved a place to remember and reflect, and a reminder that they are not alone in the journey. Wesley LifeForce hold annual memorial gatherings in Adelaide, Sydney Newcastle and Brisbane.

For further information about the 2017 memorial days, call Wesley LifeForce on 1800 100 024 or email us at [email protected]