Squeeze everything out of life that you possibly can

Don't worry children, it won't hurt a bit...

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It’s heartening to hear young Paris Jackson is thriving and happy at her new boarding school. She seems to be well on the way to making a full recovery following a reported suicide attempt back in June.

According to a recording of a 911 dispatch call, Paris, daughter of the late ‘king of pop’ Michael, allegedly took 20 Motrin tablets and cut her arm with a kitchen knife.

The story has touched a bit of a raw nerve with me as, when I was nine years old, my own father hung himself at the age of 44 in the garage of our home.

Even though I was so young, I can still vividly recall the events of that terrible day.

I was woken suddenly by my mother, who couldn’t find my dad.

Then the police arrived and I was quickly ushered to a neighbour’s house so I didn’t have to witness anything.

Looking back now, I realise how much that tragic event affected my mum.

It was like the light in her suddenly dimmed.

My childhood was happy despite the absence of a father.

In those days people rarely got divorced and all my schoolmates had two parents, but I was never made to feel different.

They just treated me the same and no-one ever mentioned my dad.

My mother went back to work, because money was tight for us.

But I didn’t go without anything and she was always there with my tea on the table when I came home from school.

I’ve never found out why my father felt he had to end his life. Mum would never discuss it and I stopped asking in the end.

Maybe it’s better not to know some things. Sadly she passed away three years ago, having never remarried.

On reflection, what has happened in my life has made me a much stronger, kinder, more compassionate person (hopefully).

My philosophy on life now (in theatre speak) is ‘life is not a dress rehearsal for a bigger show – this is it’

So I say always tell and show the important people in your world how much they mean to you and how much you love them.

Try to do all the things you want to do and achieve and squeeze everything out of life that you possibly can.