No matter how often I think about it, the fact that suicide wasn’t decriminalised in England and Wales until 1961 never loses its power to shock. Barely believably, in a world of passenger jets, space exploration, television and pop music, one which in many ways appears not so different to our own, those who failed in an attempt to take their lives were still, at least theoretically, liable to prosecution and imprisonment. Even if criminal proceedings were increasingly rare, hospital staff continued to meet their obligation to report cases of attempted suicide to the Police – and the Metropolitan Police’s own guidance of the time was unequivocal; "an attempt to commit suicide is an attempt to commit a felony, and therefore punishable with hard labour’.
Saturday, 15 April 2017
I was halfway through my lunchtime sandwich when I suddenly felt the disapproving stares from those squeezed in around me at the crowded cafe tables. I had sat there dozens of times before doing the same thing, but it was only now that I suddenly realised how it must look to others; a middle aged man swiping through dating profiles on a phone, his brazen infidelity revealed by the wedding band on his ring finger.
Saturday, 14 January 2017
I stared into Louise's eyes desperately searching for signs that she was joking, even though, deep down, I knew that there would be none. Just days before she took her life she was telling me that if she was dead I would be free to meet another woman, somebody who could give me more than she was capable of. My mind was in overdrive. Panic at further confirmation of the darkness and hopelessness gripping Louise was mixed with desperate sadness that in her confusion she couldn't see exactly how much she meant to me. But there was also a chilling glimpse into a future where I might once more be alone and forced to start the search for love all over again.