Urich, our sunshine child, did not want to stay on in this world any longer

by Mariska Nel
(South Africa)

On 18 January 2012, exactly a week after his 25th birthday and just over a month after his sister's wedding, my son, Urich, shot himself in his bedroom in our home. It was also on the same day that he was supposed to have gone for a job interview which almost certainly would have resulted in him getting the job.

That Wednesday morning, on my way out to work, I knocked on Urich's bedroom door, as I always do, to say goodbye for the day. I wished him luck for his interview, gave him a hug, and left for work.

I got home from work at about 16:20 in the afternoon. Urich always used to come down to the garage to help me carry my bags up the stairs to the house. That day I thought that he probably did not hear me coming home. I was especially eager to see him to hear how his interview went. He moved back home permanently a few months earlier after he had resigned from his job as a photographer on cruise ships for the previous 2 1/2 years. A local photographer who were holidaying on one of the ships noticed Urich while he was busy working. He was impressed with Urich's way of dealing with the guests and told him to visit him for a possible job once he came home again.

I unlocked the front door, walked past Uri's closed bedroom door, slapped against it with the newspaper and said, "Hallo." There was no reaction. I slowly opened the door. There was a strange smell in his bedroom. I pushed open the door a bit more and was surprised to see Urich sleeping on the floor between his bed and his desk... Then I noticed the bullet hole in his head, little rivulets of blood flowing all over his face and the .38 Special lying between his knees! At that moment my and my family's lives were changed forever. Disbelief and shock rocked through my body; this could not be possible!

Thereafter it was a beehive of people in our home: emergency personnel, the fire brigade, police, detective, curious spectators, and people who care for us. The next few days passed in a haze. Everything felt unreal and every morning we woke up with the shock that Urich was no longer there and will never be again. Friends of ours took us away to their beach house for four days, after the funeral. Then life supposedly had to go back to normal. But nothing could ever be normal again.

My husband and I had the added stress of letting Urich's girlfriend, Jessie, in China, know about his death. They had just spent a month together touring China, and she came to South Africa for two weeks for his sister's wedding. We had to get her to phone us, which didn't work very well, after which we resorted to Skyping. At first she bluntly refused to believe it. She said Urich had too much life; he would never do such a thing. Then she wanted to know if we were sure that he was alone - maybe somebody else did it to him. It was heartbreaking to give her this terrible news over such a distance.

Urich did leave a note where he said that he had had such a good life, saw the world, met a lot of new friends on the ships, as well as the love of his life, and he had learnt a lot. He could not foresee that life could get any better and he wanted to leave this earth at a high point of his life. None of this made sense to us. He had come home because he said he missed us too much being away on his contracts, he was about to start a permanent job (he had a few options to choose from), and his girlfriend was busy arranging to come and study in South Africa to be with him. There was so much opportunity for a wonderful life. I guess depression takes none of those things into account. We were not even aware that there could have been any depression present. He was his old, prankster self. The only clue could have been that he had spent a lot of time in his bedroom, but we thought that he was merely missing Jessie and his other shipmates and Skyping with them.

It is now just over 5 months later. My husband and I have come to terms about what had happened and that it was Urich's choice (although we cannot understand his reasoning). There is still a gaping hole, not only in our hearts, but in the whole family. On my side of the family there were two nieces and two nephews, all four years apart. Now there is a huge gap where Urich (second oldest) should be. On my in-laws' side we had three nephews and three nieces - now only two nephews left, disturbing the perfect balance.

The aching, physical pain started fading after about three months, but the hollow feeling in my heart does not want to budge. I want to hug my son's young body like I used to do every day, I want him to tickle me and pick me up again and call me his "little mommy", I want him to run me a bubble bath, and discuss all his friends' weddings and new babies with him. I miss him so much and will never stop missing him! Our Uri was a very special person to so many people.

Comments for Urich, our sunshine child, did not want to stay on in this world any longer

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Feb 07, 2013
Blessings to you, Doreen
by: Mariska

Dear Doreen

Already the first time you wrote to me I thought that you displayed such insight about Urich. You mentioned things that I did not even think of. It is the same this time. It seems that you understand my son, although you have never met him.

May you be blessed on your journey through life and find a lot of things to still be happy about.


Feb 07, 2013
Thank you, Stina...
by: Mariska

Dear Stina

It is such a surprise to find somebody who knew Urich on this website. He had so many friends world wide that we don't even know about all of them. Where are you from?

Thank you for your kind words about him. It is of such great consolation to us that people experienced him as a kind and good person, as this is how we remember and miss him too. Thank you for still remembering him.

Good luck with your photography future.


Feb 06, 2013
Urich, our sunshine child, did not want to stay on this world any longer
by: Doreen U.K.

Mariska I was sent your post again and after reading your post again about Urich It has occurred to me that he was actually a very happy person. Your attitude is one of great maturity but also the normal worry and concern parents have. Many parents are grief stricken when their child takes their own life due to the circumstances around their childs feelings. But in Urich's case he expressed himself as having reached the pinnacle of success in life and there was nowhere else to go. He had reached the high point in his life and perhaps he could not bear the thought of things going downhill from
where he was. His fear perhaps made him make the CHOICE he did. You will realise that you had a happy son, well integrated and secure in who he was and he made a CHOICE that he wouldn't have thought would cause the great SORROW it did. When a person is in depression it can have the same effect as if one was on a high from where they were in life.
I agree with you when you say that you have faced the worst that you could through the death of your son and that anything that comes up now will just not seem that important or break your world as losing your son.
I was BLESSED reading your story of your life and your son and I can echo your sentiments that we live on and our children often can teach us well of how to live our life to the full. Best wishes.

Feb 04, 2013
Sorry Uri
by: Stina


I knew Urich some years ago. We became friends on the internet and used to have many long chats together about all the things we agreed upon. I too am a photographer and we had a lot in common and got on famously. When I decided to look him up to see how he was doing I ran across this tragic story.

I know there is nothing I can say to fill the void of your son, but I will say that he was a beautiful person and I am sorry he is not in this world anymore. I never forgot him before, and I will never forget him now. I hope that with time you can find solace.


Jul 23, 2012
Belinda, my thoughts are with you...
by: Mariska

Dear Belinda,

Thank you for thinking of us while you are also still in so much pain. I am holding you and your family in my heart. This is the most unimaginable path we are on, losing our children in such an unexpected way.

My wish for you is to find your own peace, acceptance and solace in time. Our lives will never be the same again, but we have to carry on, for ourselves and others close to us.


Jul 22, 2012
I understand ...
by: Belinda

I share your heartache...our son took his own life 18 months ago. Today (22 July) would have been his 21st birthday. I feel this strange emptiness...no more tears to shed.

I can only wish you and your family peace, acceptance, love and comfort.

Jul 09, 2012
Kevin, thank you...
by: Mariska


Thank you so much for sharing your story which is so very similar to ours. Your road to healing started only 3 months before ours, so you know exactly what we are going through.

I really appreciate your comforting words. May you also find peace and comfort going forward. We, as survivor parents, will support each other.


Jul 09, 2012
Melissa, I can feel your pain...
by: Mariska


My heart goes out to you. To lose your young son so suddenly is heartbreaking. It was only 2 months after we had lost Urich. I know that sometimes it is still hard to believe that they are never coming back to us again.

I am glad that you could find some reassurance that your Jessie is alright. Only time will soften our pain, although we will never stop missing them and what they meant to us. Keep the beautiful memories in your heart, but don't stop moving forward.

May you find peace.

Jul 06, 2012
Your Son Urich
by: Melissa

First off let me say how deeply sorry I am for you and your husbands loss of Urich. I two know all to well what it's like to lose a Adult Child. My Son was only 21 yrs and 3 weeks he would of been 22. Jessie, My youngest son was killed on his motorcycle on March 18th 2012. He and his girlfriend were out riding that Sunday No rain in sight beautiful they had just left saying they were going to head to town to get something to eat. Then 15 minutes I get the call.
When the Doctor came to me and asked If I was Jessie's mother I said yes, he said " I'm so sorry but I just pronounced Jessie dead. I YELLED out.. NOOOOOO! Apart of me then just died along with my son. I didn't know what to do without my Jessie. He was always my little helper. Anything I needed help with he was ALWAYS there for me. I could not leave my home without Jessie calling to say "Mom", where you at.. Now I don't have that anymore and it's a lonely way of living. I have my oldest still living which he was living with his girlfriend making plans to marry someday soon so Ryan My oldest was hardly around as much as he lived a few miles off. So My Jessie was my little man even at 21.
I would NEVER dreamed he would of been taken that day. A few days went by we all were sitting on the porch asking ourselves what could of happened. I mean He was a great driver so WHAT HAPPENED?? while sitting there were all got a big smell of him. His cologne was among us all. We all looked at one another and said YOU SMELL THAT.It's JESSIE! to our selves we new it couldn't be but hoped it was like stepping into a flower shop full of roses and different flowers. It smelled Heavenly. If that's what heaven smells like. OH MY ! My Jessie is in Paradise. It was peaceful. Anyways, While sitting at my computer my cell phone went off and it read URGENT MESSAGE! considering I have never gotten a call like that I opened it up and it read.(Jessie) I love y'all all. Y'all I'm still here. I was in shock. I YELLED OUT which brought the whole family from the porch to in the room where we were. We got to praising God. thanking him for the joy we received. In getting over the shock at the moment I smiled and said.. SEE He's alright.. He's HERE. We got to finish looking at the photos and another URGENT MESSAGE came through again, read(Jessie)Papaw rick here we good not alone. If I would of not been sitting down I would had fell to my knees.I yelled out again and started breathing real hard. Everyone came running back in the house wanting to know what all the yelling was about now. I said LOOK. and they read the text message and was OH MY GOD I said yea. Rick see is my Dad and he's in a urn sitting on my shelf which Jessie knew of this cause I lost my Dad in 1998. At that very minute I knew my Jessie was alright.


Jul 06, 2012
God Bless you and your family.
by: Anonymous

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your son. I lost my youngest son, who had recently turned 25, on the 18th of October, 2011 from the same cause. May the Lord be with you and provide strength and comfort to both of you and your family. You will see him again.


Jul 06, 2012
Urich's Lesson
by: Mariska


Thank you for your kind words. You seem to understand so well. I have read some of your comments to other parents, and I'm so sorry that you had to go through such an awful experience. I hope you can also find peace, sooner rather than later.

For me, from the very beginning, it was clear that NOTHING could change what has happened. I could not do anything for Urich anymore (he also said that in his note), and now was the time to only think about the remaining family members, myself included. Therefore I became a little bit selfish and considered everything I did or felt as the "right" thing to do.

I always used to be a "worrier", worrying about things that could possibly go wrong. Now that this terrible thing has happened in my life, it seems that there is nothing else to worry about - what can happen that is worse? Feeling guilty about anything would be a waste of precious time left, because it is not going to change anything. All there is to do now is to live life from here on forward and make the best of it.

Although I think that the sadness and longing will always be there, my only son has actually taught us a valuable lesson: live every day to the fullest, because you don't know what tomorrow brings. Carpe diem...


Jul 03, 2012
Urich our sunshine child leaves this world
by: Doreen U.K.

I am sorry for you and your husband's loss of your son Urich. What a tragedy. What a sad loss of a young life. Urich looked so happy in the photo. You all look like a lovely family full of happiness. Suddenly it all changes and our lives are never the same again forever when we lose an Adult child.
Urich sounded happy. Worried perhaps that things could change to upset the balance of how he felt. As if in his world everything was good and allright and he didn't want anything to change or disrupt or disturb his Peace. This makes sense in a distorted way. Because in the real world it doesn't make sense but in his world it did. It is very difficult going on after we lose a loved one. You and your husband seem to have moved on with maturity. And this is good because it works for you. It may be slowere for others's. Urich's sister may be struggling as siblings do. It is hard for us as parents when we are robbed of our children because of a choice they made whether it was the right one or not. I hope that the days ahead will be good days and that you and your husband will be able to move forward with the Love of Urich in your heart. May the flame never go out. Urich R.I.P.

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