Widow speaks out after husband takes his life on Christmas Eve
ELYSSA Meynard hopes that by telling the heartbreaking story of her husband's suicide, she can spare others the painful journey she's been forced to make.
Marcel Meynard, 27, took his own life on Christmas Eve, the day before his daughter Indy's first Christmas Day and a month before her first birthday.
Elyssa contacted the QT to relate the story of her and Marcel - from childhood sweethearts, to loving marriage to tragic ending.
"He was an extremely hardworking bloke; he spent as much time with me and his daughter as he could but he had a company to run, he had a roof to keep over our head. He wasn't a depressed person at all but, obviously to do something like this, he must have had some form of depression but no one saw it; nobody saw it coming," Mrs Meynard said.
"So the message I want to get out there is, if you see someone who is too quiet or struggling, speak up and help them. Because I lost my husband for it."
Marcel grew up in Ipswich, went to St Edmund's College then became an engineer. Driven by ambition, he started Meynard Industries but wanted to go bigger so he took on partners and it became Meyjor Industries.
Mrs Meynard, who worked part-time for her husband while also having a full-time job, said the best thing for her now was talking about Marcel's suicide.
"I've got a lot of family, a lot of support; I'm around people all the time," she said. "I'm very lucky to have the family that I do, very supportive. My mum has quit work to look after my daughter so I can go back to work next month.
"We have a big cry, then a big laugh and we talk about it. And it really helps. The worst thing you can do is keep it bottled in."
She agreed it was only natural to analyse what was said and what happened in the time leading up to Marcel's death but that was futile.
A photo of the three of them in the gardens of UQ at St Lucia shows a happy young family. It was taken a week before Christmas Eve.
"The worst thing you can do is go back and go, 'What if? What if? What if?' Because if it didn't happen then, on Christmas Eve, it may have happened a year, five years, 10 years down the track."
Elyssa and Marcel met 10 years ago - it was love at first sight - and almost nine years later, Marcel finally popped the question.
On February 21 last year, they were blessed with a baby girl, Indyanna-Rose (Indy).
In her eulogy at St Mary's Church, Mrs Meynard bravely spoke of forgiving her husband.
She said: "I forgive you Marcel and I will never forget you. I hope you have found peace and I pray to God that one day we can meet again.
"I did a lot of research since Christmas Eve about suicide," Mrs Meynard said.
"I've lost quite a few friends to suicide - back in the teenage years - and there's a saying out there, 'We don't choose suicide, our minds or our illness or our depression can make our bodies act in a way that we don't want to'.
"I know for a fact that he didn't choose to do that because he wouldn't do that one day before her first Christmas, a month before her first birthday.
"He wouldn't have done it if he knew the pain it would cause people; he wouldn't have done it.
"But it was an in-the-moment thing. He's obviously thought for a split second there was just no way out; he was in trouble, he didn't know what to do and thought, maybe they're better off without me. Just in that 10 seconds and it changes your life.
"I think what hit me the most is that we've been together 10 years; we were high-school sweethearts and we've been so happy, extremely happy; especially with our daughter. He was the most doting father. I just didn't see it coming. Nobody did."
The clear picture painted at Marcel's funeral was of a man from a stable loving family, an intelligent person whose parents recalled having loads of personality and intelligence.
"He wasn't from an abusive family, he didn't hang around with the wrong group of friends, he had the happiness. Obviously something wasn't right and it's something I may never find out," Mrs Meynard said.
Ironically, she feels the steely determination she showed since Christmas Eve came from Marcel.
At the funeral, her nephew broke down as he started reading his eulogy so Elyssa read his before reading hers.
"My husband changed me," she said firmly.
"Even when we got together as teenagers, he drilled strength into me; to show no sign of weakness and I think he did it that day. I looked at the casket and he gave me strength. It's the only way I can explain it.
"I don't doubt it's going to hit me hard in four, maybe six months' time but until then there's just too much going on. With being a fulltime mum and handling all the legalities and everything, there's no time to grieve. It's horrible.
"But I need to move on for my daughter's sake. I can't sit home and become an alcoholic and be depressed for the next six months. I've got a daughter and I need to give her happiness. I'm going to celebrate her birthdays and Christmases as a child should experience.
"It's going to be hard; it's going to be extremely hard but that little girl is the reason I wake up every morning. I do it for her."
Especially for Indy, Mrs Meynard is also very determined to make sure Marcel's legacy is what came before Christmas Eve.
Because he'd had corneal transplants, he decided to be an organ donor.
"In the end, he was able to donate to four people that day so they got a Christmas miracle," Mrs Meynard said.
"I got a phone call and a letter saying my husband provided four miracles for Christmas. "Apparently my husband had a very special set of lungs and this person who was in need of a lung transplant was going to die in the next couple of days until they found out about Marcel.
"Obviously it hurts; it hurts knowing the love of your life has died and he's having parts of his body taken out and donated but it made me feel good that he could provide a miracle for them. But at the end of the day, a body is irrelevant; it's not what makes you who you are. That's your soul.
"But he actually got to keep his heart - something was wrong - and I didn't want to give his heart away anyway. I felt at peace when he was able to keep his heart."
Elyssa and Marcel's family have started the process of setting up the Marcel Meynard Suicide Awareness Foundation.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the Lifeline Suicide Prevention Hotline on 13 11 14. If life is in danger, call 000.