Australian mum reveals hidden signs she missed before partner’s suicide

The night before his suicide, Keda Ward-Meah’s partner made an appointment with his GP to discuss getting a mental health plan.

Sadly, it was too late.

Brendan Knight tragically took his own life in September 2021, after a dark battle with depression that he “hid very well” from his family.

His grieving partner Keda, who spoke to and shared images of her partner, said the past 11 months have been “hell” as she has tried to navigate the world without the love of her life by her side.

Tragically, their two little boys Archer, 4, and Elijah, 2, still don’t fully understand why their daddy hasn’t “come home from work”.

For months after his death, the 27-year-old would break down in tears each time her sons asked her why their father “did not want to see them” anymore.

“The boys adored their daddy, especially Archer as he was older” the Fernvale, Queensland, mum said.

“He was a complete daddy’s boy. They were attached at the hip.

“I always said they were twin flames, they were so similar in so many ways and were truly best friends.

“Being a mother while my heart was shattered was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

“The boys being only three and one at the time, they didn’t understand. I told our three-year-old daddy had gone to the sky and would watch over us.

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“He didn’t understand and still kept asking for months and months when daddy was coming home from work. In his mind, his dad went to work and never came back.

“There were a lot of tears and nightmares and crying at night asking for daddy, asking why he doesn’t want to see us, if he doesn’t love us anymore.

“A lot of begging me to bring him home. They still don’t really understand, although our now four-year-old knows that daddy died and he was sick.

“As they get older they’ll know the truth, and it breaks my heart to think of the grief they’ll go through when they learn what happened.”

Keda said her partner Brendan hid his mental health struggles well.

While more open with her, he still downplayed the severity of his pain.

“I knew he was depressed, his alcohol and gambling had increased and his moods were up and down,” she said.

“But we had been through it before, and with help I thought we would get through it again.

“I had no idea how depressed he was. But looking back there were a lot of signs I missed.

“Change in weight, being withdrawn from social activities, he’d stopped replying to people’s messages, and was up at weird times of the night.

“The night before he passed, he agreed to get help and I made him an appointment for the next week at the GP for a mental health plan.

“Then I went to work for a nightshift, and he took his life 13 hours after I made that appointment.”

Keda said the day her partner took his life replays over and over in her head.

“I got a call from my sister who watched our boys on our overlap between my nightshift and when Brendan would leave for work.” she recalled.

“She told me that he’d left his wallet, phone, and note on the table at home. I rushed home from work and went out to look for him.

“Unfortunately, I ended up finding him at the same time the police did.

“My soul left my body, I collapsed on the dirt road, looked up at the sky, and was screaming ‘no, no, no!’ over and over again.

“Nothing felt real, I thought if I could scream loud enough, he’d hear me on his way to heaven and realise how much I needed him and come back. Silly I know.”

The months following the tragedy, she said she felt like a zombie – but had to stay strong for her boys.

“I barely remember the first eight months after that. The first few weeks I had people around me constantly, which was nice” she said.

“Nothing felt real. I was always waiting for him to walk through the door with a crazy story of where he’d been, or I’d wake up and it would be a terrible dream.

“I fell into a dark depression. But I had to stay strong for our boys.

“Around nine months after it happened, I finally found the right antidepressants, and found a new sense of normalcy.

“We’re doing better now. We’ve found our new normal, and found joy in little things.

“But there is always that feeling of something being missing, that hole in us that is always there.

“I don’t think we’ll ever feel fully complete again.”

By sharing her story, Keda hopes to raise awareness about the importance of highlighting the unique issues associated with men’s mental health.

“I think men’s mental health is still treated as somewhat of a joke” she said.

“When it’s too late and someone dies from suicide, everyone comes out saying ‘it ain’t weak to speak’ but the next day I’ll see the same people telling their mates to toughen up.

“The whole ‘she’ll be right’ attitude. Then someone dies again, and the cycle continues.

“It’s a lot harder for men to speak up because they don’t want to be perceived as weak, or struggling. They want to be the backbone, the strong ones.

“We need to get men help at the first sign of depression.

“Have the tough conversations, get the right medication, the right therapist and the right support.”

Mr Knight is an indigenous man and his family gave permission for his images to be published.

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