Heartbroken Mum Loses Two Sons To Suicide Within 13 Weeks

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A grieving mom has opened up about how she lost two sons to suicide within 13 weeks of each other.

Patrice Matthews' son Mikey was 18 years old when he took his own life, just 13 weeks after his 17-year-old brother PJ did the same.

In a heartbreaking premonition, the mother explained that she knew that she'd lost another son after she looked into his eyes at the graveside while burying his brother.

"I knew the day I buried PJ, I was losing Mikey," Patrice told LMFM's Late Lunch program, as the anniversary of PJ's death draws near on New Year's Eve.
PJ (glasses) and Mikey Matthews
Patrice said that the two boys were born 13 months apart from each other and were "inseparable". When PJ tragically took his own life on New Year's Eve 2021, the mom saw the "devastation" on Mikey's face and "felt there was nothing I could do for him".

The mom went on to speak about PJ's personality, saying: "He was a character. He would push you to the edge and be the first to try new things."

"He left school after the fifth year because he was mad to work. He was great with his hands and could take anything apart and put it back together again, especially tractors and vintage tractors, which he loved," she continued.

Patrice explained that during the final Christmas week, PJ went shopping with the money he earned from work. He then spent time with his family on Christmas day before he left to hang out with his friends.

While the rest of the family went out to celebrate Patrice's nephew's birthday, a gleeful PJ came back with friends and was singing. However, the mom said within an hour "something changed" and he "became very upset".

"He was inconsolable and wouldn't tell me what was wrong. I remember going outside to talk to him and I coaxed him up to the bed and I sat at the end of it," Patrice said. "He then bolted up and said he had to go and clear his head."

"I followed him but saw he was walking up the lane to the farm behind the house. The yard lights were on and I thought his dad was up there with the cattle so I left him for five minutes," she added.
Mum Patrice with a young Mikey
PJ was crying when he went down to the medicine shed and was told by his mom to go back to the house. After, he walked ahead of Patrice, so she "assumed" that he had gone back in. But sadly, he hadn't gone back home so she messaged him and he wrote back saying that he'd be on his way, but she didn't see him after.

"I'd a sick feeling and just knew we would need an ambulance," Patrice said. In tragic events, she discovered her son's lifeless body and recalled hearing screams, but said: "Then I realized it was actually me screaming."

The emergency services were called and arrived within minutes. PJ then had to be taken to the hospital but passed away on December 31.

As the devastated mother struggled to come to terms with her loss, the heartbreak struck again just 13 weeks later when her eldest son Mikey also took his own life.

"He was 18. I couldn't force him to go to a doctor or get help even though I spoke to him at length about it," she said. "On the day that he had died, I left to go to the funeral of a family friend who had died by suicide and, as I went out the door, I said 'I love you, Mikey'. He rolled his eyes at me, laughed, and said 'aye!"

Later, the teenager's concerned friends contacted the mother after being troubled by a text message they'd received from Mikey.

"At 11:50PM my son Conor came running in the back door looking for help after he and friends had found Mikey in the same field where he had been fencing earlier," she said.
PJ (glasses) and Mikey Matthews
The mom admitted that she worries for her other three children who are getting counseling on their grief, saying: "Our house isn't the same anymore. Even the silence is different. Everything is different."

Patrice's friends, Sandra and Patrick Byrne, have since set up SAFE Castlebellingham, which is an initiative that provides localized counseling for anyone struggling with their mental health. The idea has been greatly praised by the local community who have offered help.

Donations can be made on the GoFundMe page Safe Castlebellingham.

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