THeRe'S An AnGeL On My ShOuLdEr...
Saturday, January 20, 2007
The world lost anothe wonderful person recently. A colleague of mine, Peter Hibbard. He was a natural leader and was great to work with and for. The type of guy you would have walked over hot coals for. We worked on catching Bikies. It was a fun time. Even the bikies respected him. He was successful, reaching the rank of Superintendent at a relatively young age. As well as being highly committed to his job, and the people he worked with, he was also a loving husband and a wonderful father to his two daughters ages 14 and 17. Last Thursday week, he took his own life. He was 46.
I, along with approximately 350 others, attended his funeral on Thursday. It was very emotional as Peter had touched everone there, in some way or another. The resounding message in the service is that the Police need to ensure that it looks after it's staff as they are under an enormous amount of stress and pressure - more than most professions. The other unanimous feeling amongst those who knew him was that Peter always made time for you - whoever you were - colleague, family or friend. And upon the Pastor making this statement, I thought 'He never made time for himself'. I may be wrong, but I don't think so, and I believe it contributed to the situation that he found himself in where he thought suicide was the best option.
Many people do not understand suicide, and never will, unless or until they find themselves in that dark place where you consider it a realistic option. I've been close to the same point Peter was at, so I have some understanding of what may have been going through his head. I have no doubt that he felt like a failure. He had been successful for so long, from when he was a child, that when he could no longer do it all, because of his illness, he considered himself of no further use to anyone. There was probaby alot more to it. There always is and nobody will ever really know what was going through Peter's mind. I know when I was at my worst it was the physical pain as much as anything that I found difficult to live with. It wore me down mentally as well as physically. I sought help and quickly recovered. I don't know if Peter sough help. I am aware that he had been on leave, but I don't know if he was receiving medical attention. I suspect not. And society, and the Police culture have something to do with ones reluctance to seek treatment, because people experiencing anxiety, depression and other stress disorders, are seen as weak, unreliable and unpredictable. I've recently felt the full brunt of this myself at work and as a result I no longer have any future in the organisation - all based on the ignorant opinion of one person.
The loss of Peter is significant and it is a terrible waste. I know that sounds awfully cliche, but I've been thinking about Peter every day since I heard the terrible news, and haven't slept well since the funeral.
My thoughts are with his family.
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