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