On the 12th of July 2017 I received a text message from my brother saying he loved me and that I was the best brother in the world. I thought this was strange as I did not usually get text messages in the middle of the night from my brother.
The next morning was just like any ordinary day, although in the back of my mind was the text message I received from my brother.
At about 1:30 pm I received a phone call from my sister-in-law Diana she was crying and I was immediately passed to a gentleman from the British Army, who informed me that my brother had passed away.
We subsequently found out that Paul had taken his own life, this was beyond devastating news as we did not know why he would have do this.
After breaking this news to my father, myself and my wife Emma travelled to Germany to be with my brother’s wife and son, to try and find out what had happened.
On arrival we were met by an army liaison officer who tried to explain what had happened. Paul was living on camp at the time as the commute was two hours from his hometown, he had packed up his room wrote letters to his wife, his son, the military, my father and myself explaining his difficulties with depression.
None of us knew anything about the depression as Paul was the life and soul of every party.
Two weeks later Paul was laid to rest in Germany. All his greatest friends from the army and lifelong school friends all made the journey to Germany to give Paul the best send-off ever, with a full military funeral.
It’s now almost three years on and still so difficult to understand why Paul did this! This is the power of depression.
So why am I sharing this with you! Well I was contacted by a friend who served with Paul in the army, Bish (Andy Bishop), asking if I would like to get involved in a project that he has set up called the ManGang.
This was started by Bish following my brothers death, with him bravely speaking out about his own ongoing depression. The ManGang aims to get men talking about the difficulties they might be facing with life in general and with poor mental health.
It’s run from Andy’s coffee shop in Southampton with an aim to have a ManGang in every town centre in the near future.
Maybe if Paul had the ManGang he would still be here today. X Nick Sparks