I can't stop tearing up every time I see Greg Boyed's face.

I didn't know him but my heart aches for everyone who did. Not because he was a fellow journalist and I have friends who were closer to him. And not because his familiar face means it feels like I knew him.

More because I've had a friend stolen in this way, too. Those of us who have experienced the same know exactly what many who are close to him are going through right now.

It isn't something you'd wish on anyone, although of course, sadly, here in New Zealand, you'd battle to find anyone who doesn't know what this feels like.


He's Greg, obviously and - undoubtedly as you can tell by the tributes - one of those truly special people who lit up so many lives.

READ MORE: • Tributes flow for Greg Boyed

But he's also the loved one that everyone who has lost someone to suicide knows, and that heartache just washes over you every time you hear about another one.

It reminds you of that first day, when utter disbelief combines with denial. The stages of grief instantly in progress, I guess.

No way. That can't be right.

It must be a mistake.

He/she couldn't have done that. He was one of the most lively people I know.

It doesn't make sense.

It can't be.


Then, when it becomes all too real, and denial doesn't fit any more, the constant scrolling in your mind of every interaction you ever had with the person.

The things they said, their facial expressions, that hunt for clues, the reading into every comment, the last interaction with them. What did you miss?

The guilt. For not noticing, not asking, not saying more. How could I miss this? Am I so selfish to have not noticed this?

For not being enough for them to tell you. Or for being enough but for that to still not be enough to stop it.

All logical, rational thought being applied to a force that appears to defy logic and reason.

Anger, maybe. For me that was brief and in the first days.

And then, at some point, hopefully, acceptance. Not for the decision that was made and how it came about, I can never accept that.

But the acceptance that for someone you knew so well, someone you loved, in part for how strong and tough you knew them to be, that for them to lose a battle like this, the reason had to be so much greater than anything you must understand.

Guilt that you don't understand and maybe a selfish relief that you don't understand, too.
Acceptance that it wasn't an easy decision. It was not the easy way out. It was not selfish but something that must be beyond all of that.

And of course, the continued aftershocks that follow, even many years later when they are on your mind. Or you see someone in the street and think it's them before you are hit with that realisation again that it isn't and it won't be. Or when you suddenly think about them and that thought, "Oh, I should call her" flits in before you're smashed by a tidal wave of sadness and loss.

And then again when someone like Greg Boyed is hit, someone who seems to have shared his burdens, who did have support, who had spoken to people close to him, the brutal reminder that even then, this is a vicious, nasty monster which doesn't discriminate in choosing its targets and that awful, awful feeling of powerlessness to stop it.

Where to get help:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youth services: (06) 3555 906
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
The WordDepression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
CASPER Suicide Prevention
Samaritans 0800 726 666
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.