Four years ago new mum Lynsey Jones celebrated her first ever Mother’s Day with her parents. Over a carefree lunch, they talked about holidays and travel ambitions. That was the last time Lynsey saw her mum. A few days later she received the devastating news that she had committed suicide.
This June, brave Lynsey will be taking part in a gruelling 40 mile trek through the Lake District in her mother’s memory to raise money for mental health charity Mind.
To help boost her fundraising drive, there will also be a special charity Muscle Mash-Up at the Beet Club in Ely to raise money for Mind on May 7.
Lynsey shares her heartbreaking story with Spotted in Ely in the hope that it will encourage others to talk about mental health.
In March 2013, when Lynsey was just 31, the Ely mum’s life changed forever. Her dad arrived on her doorstop to deliver the news that her mum, Jeanette Gilbert, had taken her own life in their home in Houghton. Despite his best efforts to resuscitate her, she had died.
“I was devastated. And more than that, I was furious.
“I recall holding a glass and wanting so badly to hurl it across the kitchen.
“And then I remembered. I have a baby. I can’t do that. I can’t cover my kitchen in tiny shards of glass, put glass on his high chair, on his toys. The baby.”
A special bond
Her boy, not even 10 months old at the time, had meant everything to her mum, Lynsey says.
“Once he arrived, they just clicked. She’d shake her hair and he’d giggle and coo.
“I didn’t get what she saw in him half the time in the early days. Like many, I struggled to adapt to life as a mum. Not knowing what I was doing, what was wrong with him when he cried, when he needed sleep and when he needed food. I wanted my mum to help, and she did. She came over when she could, in her lunch hour, after work.
“She was there when he was four months old and I got crippling gallstones which resulted in major surgery. She was there when he was hospitalised with breathing issues and diagnosed as a possible asthmatic. She was there when we moved house and everything was upside down.”
When Jeannette had surgery on her foot, Lynsey returned the favour, helping her to get around and taking her grandson to see her.
The last time Lynsey saw her mum was on Mother’s Day 2013 – “my first and what turned out to be her last”.
They went out for a family meal, and Lynsey recalled talking about holidays, travel, and Jeannette’s upcoming job interview, for a job she didn’t even need.
“As it turned out, the interview didn’t go well. She’d made a mistake and she couldn’t get past it. I spoke to her afterwards and she wasn’t obviously devastated, just seemingly annoyed with herself, as many of us would be. I remember being in the supermarket with my son when she called, and saying, ‘oh well. You didn’t need the job anyway, and there will be others.’
“I asked if she wanted to come over and talk about it further that evening. She didn’t. I asked for her opinion on some shoes for my son.
“That was the last time I spoke to my mum. She committed suicide the next day.”
A “quiet and unforgiving” depression
At the funeral, people talked about Jeannette’s distinctive laugh, Lynsey says.
“And that’s the point isn’t it? People heard the laugh. People thought she was fine. They didn’t know. Along with my dad, I knew her the best and I didn’t know, so how can anyone else have been expected to?
“Depression comes in many forms. My mum’s was quiet and unforgiving. I still don’t know how much of the “moodiness” I saw in her at times was just her personality and how much of it was caused by mental illness. I don’t understand where the line is there. But maybe if we’d have talked about it, things would have been different.
“I’m still angry. But not with her. With the disease that took her away from me, from her friends and family and from her grandchild.”
Mind Hike the Lakes
Lynsey has decided that the best way to honour her mum’s memory is to raise money for mental health charity Mind.
On June 23, she will embark on a 24-hour trek though 40 miles of breath-taking scenery across the Lake District. The journey will include an 800 metre climb to the summits of Great Rigg, Fairfield, Hart Crag and Dove Crag.
Lynsey has already raised a staggering £3,238 (£3,901 including Gift Aid) on her fundraising page and can sponsor her here.
The Muscle Mash-Up!
The Muscle Mash-Up takes place at The Beet Club on May 7 from 10.15am to 1.15pm, featuring 2 Hours of Hour of Power with Aimee Featherstone, Zumba with Amy Gardner, Clubbercise with Nikki Dyer and Pilates with Sarah Bryony.
Tickets cost £10 per person with proceeds going to Mind. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place.