am a Freelance Writer, Copywriter, Editor and Artist and live with my wonderful partner Mike, the father of my youngest daughter Lauren.  My other surviving children are Anneliese and Carsten. I also have a large bunch of gorgeous grandchildren.

Kristian was my eldest son and tragically took an intentional overdose of Heroin on the night of 31 October 2002.  He was pronounced dead at 12.20pm on Friday 1 November 2002, after the hospital staff battled in vain for three and a half hours to save his life. He passed away just 9 days before his daughter's first birthday and 11 days before his sister's third birthday. Kristian was 20-years-old.

I have always used writing as as a coping mechanism and yet, when my son took his own life, I found that there were no words that truly described the intensity of the pain I felt. I was trapped in an agonising storm of emotions. I wanted to write about my experiences in an effort to help other parents who had experienced a similar tragedy, but also wanted to educate people who hadn't, so that they could maybe respond more effectively to those they knew who had lost a child to suicide. I also felt a need to warn other parents about drugs and depression in an attempt to prevent at least one other family from enduring the same anguish that we and so many other families have suffered.  When I began writing on the evening of Kristian's death, I realised that a whole new vocabulary would need to be invented to describe a pain that extends far beyond words such as "agonising", "excruciating" and "intense".

One of the organisations that I found immensely helpful and supportive following Kristian's loss was The Compassionate Friends. I was privileged to have been the Editor-in-Chief of their quarterly publication, Compassion between 2005 and 2006. I feel thankful that I can give something back to an organisation that does so much for others.

I know that nothing that I do will bring my son back to me in this life, so I know that I have to do my best for those who are still alive - my other children, my partner, my family and all those other bereaved families out there who feel isolated in their grief and who feel that they cannot survivive yet another day without their beloved child.

My heart goes out to each and everyone of you who have lost a child to suicide and I hope that you will find some comfort and support within these pages.

Jan Andersen
jandersen8888 at live dot com

Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts, 
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form.

William Shakespeare

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Kristian and youngest sister Lauren - Christmas 2000
Jan participating in a Kilory show on the topic of male suicide - 15 October 2003 (shown 17 October 2003)
Kristian's grave
Jan, Essentials Magazine 
November 2006

Photo by Colin Thomas
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Jan being interviewed by Shahida Rahman on London Bangla TV, February 2016