Review – May 26, 2020
Two months ago, my entire world collapsed when my father was involved in a murder-suicide. He killed his beautiful wife, then he killed himself. Devastated by this horrible act, I began searching the internet for ways to deal with my grief. With a stroke of fate, I stumbled across an amazing book entitled “Petal, The Other Side of Suicide” by the incomparable, Tanya French.
In the book, the author describes the devastating turmoil behind losing her husband from suicide. Like myself, the author saw no warning signs – nothing. Her husband, Mark was described as talented, funny, vivacious and the life of the party, just like my dad. Reading this book helped me understand that I’m not alone in my pain.
The author teaches you that a life of purpose after suicide is attainable. There are many profound quotes in the book. The one that has helped me the most is … “I believe that just because someone didn’t love you the way you thought they should, it doesn’t mean they didn’t love you with all they had.” I truly believed this was relevant to my relationship with my father.
The author opens up her life to her audience in this book. She gives practical tools and techniques on how to live your life after suicide. I’m inspired by the author who has managed to navigate her way through life without her husband. She had to be the foundation for her children and her family while dealing with grief herself .
What I admire the most about this author is that she has not let her husband die in vain. She has now become an advocate for suicide awareness. Her mission will reach the masses and change countless lives. I’m so grateful that I was led to read this book. It has helped me and changed my way of thinking. I have come to terms with the fact that I will never truly know why my dad killed his wife and killed himself. My quest for answers has ended, thanks to this book.
I am now working to build a more meaningful life. I truly believe that this book crossed my path because of a higher power. I am a better person today because of Tanya’s wisdom and her openness to share her deepest degree of pain. I rate this book 5 stars.
With lots of love,
La Toya Sanders
Review – May 8, 2020
This book is a raw and deeply emotional book written from the heart of someone faced with the unthinkable. The death of one’s spouse is never going to be easy, but as a result of suicide brings in another level of hurt, anger and sorrow.
Tanya French has captured and laid bare her long struggles over the ensuring years following the death of her husband in a way that will benefit others faced with a similar situation.
This book will serve as a reference book and an aid for others facing the debilitating scourge of depression.
Review May 2, 2020
The endless boundaries inside the emotional and mental health of the human mind contain powerful and fascinating journeys. There are no rules or conditions except ‘justification’ to its own human ‘self’. The human mind simply exists to ‘survive’ and ‘to be right’. So powerful is the human mind justification, it can even cause its own body, to kill itself – just to be right.
If you consider an outsider’s observation to a person’s suicide as being one of impersonality with little concern as to why it happened, how it happened or where; just try putting yourself in Tanya French’s (Watchman) shoes where she and husband Mark built a golf construction and maintenance empire that became an international icon. It rose to stardom as they grappled with fame and fortune amongst some of the biggest names from the high end of big towns. Mark Watchman’s creative genius for designing, constructing and maintaining high quality golf courses was unsurpassed. However, within his deep mysterious nature, lay a growing seed of darkness, invisible to those closest to him.
Travel with Tanya through ‘Petal’ as she candidly describes in hindsight, the surroundings of her husband’s emptiness that was not visible until after he took his own life. Read and learn the sad consequences of suicide, where loved ones and friends are left helpless in a void, where their quest for answers will remain forever, unanswered.
Suicides, are not uncommon. What is common, is the sad lack in the human mind’s ability or willingness to surrender from being right, to obtain help. For those contemplating this terrible ordeal, Petal is a handbook to consider beforehand.
Review – March 3, 2020
Thank you Tanya French for sharing your heart breaking story with me. To see how you have come out the other side of such an incredible life is truly inspirational. You touched a lot of what has probably been, in parts, relative to a lot of women and this read truly made you consider what some women go through. I loved reading it from start to finish and it left me wanting more insight into your incredibly difficult but in the end contended life. Maybe another book in the making. THANK YOU 💞💞💞
Review – February 27, 2020
Petal – An enlightening insight into the journey of grief for those left behind. Tanya writes a raw and bluntly honest account of the impact of suicide.
Without glorifying the deceased, Tanya depicts the good, the bad and the ugly of marriage and mental health in a beautiful style that is easy to read and hard to put down. She left me in awe of her strength in moving forward, navigating her way through her loss, her children’s grief and finding herself along the way.
I hope that Tanyas articulation of her experience will help others struggling with depression to see that we are not better off without them, we desperately want them in our lives and will do anything to keep them here. A must read for anyone struggling with depression and those that love them.
Review – February 22, 2020
Even if suicide has affected you or not, this is a book to read to understand the effects it has on individual’s, families and communities. Hopefully, it will help to break down stigma and support those who are affected by suicide.
While reading and then reviewing this book I wanted to make sure that I stayed true to my integrity. This in my work and life experience and is an important topic we should speak more about.
So, Before reading Tanya French’s book, there is an important thing you should know.
The first and most important is that, this is NOT a work of fiction, ‘Petal – The other side of Suicide’ is the story of how a wife, mother and business woman has walked through the aftermath of losing her husband to suicide. She did so with vulnerability, courage and strength. She doesn’t hide in the story and is open with wit and honesty that helps you connect. Those who work in this field of mental health as I do know that most people who end their life do so because they think it’s the only choice and they are in pain. Tanya is able to share with the readers hope for changes and educate with information on how to get help to minimise this pain.
Many could relate to a story of an Aussie battle of success and devastation.
Tanya French’s writing style is easy to follow with an honest perspective that has readers feel the story and the different times described. Her writing provides a personal reflection with important connections to others and I was at times emotional.
Tanya’a story leaves us with the message that we are more beautiful having been broken and that there is help out there. This story also removes the stigma of suicide and that mental health can have devastating effects and we need to show compassion for those struggling and notice the signs and talk more to one another. Everything in the story felt real and genuine.
B.A., Grad. Dip. B.Psych., Assoc MAPS, DipChn Services,Workplace Training, Diploma in Positive Psychology
Review – February 14, 2020
I’m shocked at my own new disability of not being able to put a book down – yes your book Petal!
It’s a bloody amazing read, so exposing, honest and raw. So well written and constructed. I’ve read it in your voice. …and yes I cried! And now I know you a whole lot better. 😘
Review – January 17, 2020
I so admire your brave account of your experience with Mark’s death by suicide. Your heartbreakingly poignant and truthfully written book filled me with admiration for you.
As a Celebrant called to support families in the situation of suicide, honesty and compassion are essential.
Nothing prepares us for the future, good or bad, but the comprehensive list of resources you have included in your book makes it a terrific resource. Your book helped me understand a little more of the ‘other side of suicide.’
Celebrant – Western Australia
Review – January, 13 2020
You traveled to Broome with me in my suitcase, but you returned well embedded in my heart and at the forefront of my mind.
For I knew you, we had met many times, but I did not know you nor know of your story.
Your warmth, sense of fun and enjoyment of life are now much better understood as strength, courage, resilience and tenacity.
Like the magic of the Broome sunsets through which I read your story, the clouds give way and behind them is another day to be embraced.
On a professional level, I have been front line in both the prevention of suicide and in supporting others in the immediate aftermath. The wisdom of your lived experience, and the resources that you provide, will serve to enrich my work.
Thank you, with gratitude, respect and much love.
Jo Hutt x
Review – January 12, 2020
Just finished reading your beautifully written and thought provoking book.
It’s filled with so much useful information, tragedy, hope and the power of love.
Well done and congratulations on so many levels Tanya!
Gail (Perth ) Xx
Review – December 4, 2019
Many of us know of someone (family, friend or friend of friends) that have suicided, often without any signs that they were contemplating it.
Nearly everyone that I have spoken to on this subject has been left with many questions.
Tanya French the author of Petal – The Other Side of Suicide is one such person.
She has gone through the questions of why did it happen and what could she have done to save this from happening.
The grief and turmoil that a family is thrown into as a result of a family member suddenly taking their life is enormous.
Tanya takes us through her journey as she tries to make sense of the actions of a loved one.
Mental Heath Matters and this book will touch on some sensitive issues for some people.
Well worth the read and I highly recommend you read Petal – The Other Side of Suicide.
Review – October 18, 2019
I first met Tanya a few years ago as a work colleague and friend of my wife, Marilyn.
I was vaguely aware of her personal tragedy, the suicide of her husband but knew no real details. I was aware that she intended to write her book.
When “Petal – The Other Side of Suicide” was released recently we bought a copy.
At this stage I knew a little more of the story. Or so I thought. In knowing what the “story” was about, I was reluctant to read it, but on a road trip to Carnarvon I decided that I would give it a go.
It was a difficult book to put down and I’m not known as an avid reader. I found the book and the way it was written earthy, gutsy and from the heart, and an un-edited slice of reality. It is a “no holds barred account” from what on the surface was an idyllic life, happy home, family, friends, successful business ending in a tragic suicide and the bizarre double life in between.
The aftermath highlighted the self-doubts, “should I have known?”, “could I have done more?” and the inevitable unanswerable question WHY? … WHY?
How Tanya was able to dig deep within herself to be able to write such a story is a credit to her inner strength and resilience as the research for the book and the findings would have hit her for six.
The book has helped me with my own personal demons, it is a gut wrenching read, pulls no punches, it highlights the complexities of family life and as they say “in the good, the bad and the ugly”.
It was hard to put down.
Review – September 21, 2019
Wow, what a book!! I had to read it twice before i could comment. Tanya French you deserve every happiness to combat such sadness and anger. To lose someone to suicide is tragic as I know having lost my brother Joe just 3 years ago. To lose someone to suicide and find out they had a double life – unbelievably sad. You are an amazing lady with an amazing family. Loved the book, cried at the raw honesty of your story. Thank you xx
Review – August 18, 2019
‘Tanya my heart is full of love and deep admiration for you… I loved reading Petal even though it sounds strange to say that, considering your story is of pain and loss.
When I think of Mark, it’s of you and your kids in Port Douglas and my then husband Mick and us staying with you.
One can only imagine what it would be like to lose someone to suicide, but reading Petal, I could feel your pain through the pages and the love and support from your beautiful Mum and Bianca …you are truly an inspiration ‘ Xxx😘❤️
Review – August 16, 2019
In 1998 Tanya French was living the life – she had three beautiful children, a loving relationship and a successful business .Tanya and her husband Mark were the “golden couple”. Then suddenly Mark took his own life. The effects on Tanya and her family were devastating and long-lasting.
In the years since that tragic day Tanya has been trying to reconstruct her life, and deal with the emotional and physical upheaval that this heartbreaking event wreaked on her life and the lives of her partner’s family, friends and associates.
Tanya’s raw and highly personal account takes us on a journey through her life: from her early childhood and teenage years, to marriage, children and work, her husband’s untimely death and the ensuing years of discovery and eventual healing. Through her emotive words we can experience the shock, denial, anger and guilt of those left behind, and the endless questions: “Why?”, “Was there anything I could have done to prevent this?” We feel her pain and it opens our eyes to the reality of suicide and its far-reaching effects on our community.
Tanya’s book has a two-fold purpose. Firstly it was necessary, for her own healing process, to re-live and release the painful memories and the toxic emotions, to “set the record straight”, to get it all out of her system, to free herself and enable her to move on with the next chapter of her life.
But secondly, and very importantly, Tanya has written this book to raise awareness of the prevalence of suicide and the impact it has on our society, and to offer some help and encouragement to those affected.
This book is for anyone who has someone in their life who needs help, who needs counselling or an “intervention” before they take that next drastic step. Reading about Tanya’s experience will hopefully encourage us to notice the signs of mental instability and to take action before it is too late.
This book is also for those who have already lost a loved one to suicide and are struggling to cope, who are feeling alone and confused – Tanya’s ordeal will resonate with them and show them that it is possible to survive the dark times and emerge reconciled.
Lastly, this book is for those who are contemplating taking their own life; those who are suffering from depression, who are lonely or desperate or overwhelmed or for whatever reason have decided that suicide is the only option – the “easy way out”. As Tanya points out; “suicide is not the solution – it is the problem”.
Tanya French’s book can help us all to understand the nature of suicide and its devastating ripple effect. She shows us that we are not alone; we are all part of one big family and we need to support and nurture one another. Let’s lift the lid on suicide, shine some light into the dark recesses of the human condition, let in the love and live our lives to the full.
Deborah Birch, Musician
Review – July 28, 2019
Tanya French has provided the reader with a detailed insight to the circumstances and emotions of a wife and family experience of suicide of a husband and father. This easy read book gives the reader a real attachment to the range of personal feelings of the family members. But in addition, the book offers guidance and direction to those who may find themselves in a similar situation And that there is hope in the possibility of prevention.
Review – July 26, 2019
I have just finished reading your book and wanted to say congratulations on such an achievement.
The personal story and reflection of life at Poochera was like stepping back in time. I have so many of the same memories…Friday night pictures at the Hall with Simon & Garfunkel songs playing at interval, Strawberry Fete, Wudinna Show, athletics, netball, tennis and so much more.
The message regarding suicide and it’s far reaching effects is such an important topic. Some years ago, my husband’s brother ended his life and then tragically, last year, his widow also ended her life. So much pain and sadness for the family, friends and work colleagues and it’s difficult to make any sense of it.
Well done on telling your story, your way, even though you obviously had to recollect some painful times. I hope life is continuing to move forward for you in a positive way, with your children, grandchildren and all of your family.
Review – July 23, 2019
I felt the need to read this book twice in a week.
The 1st time I read this book it was just so raw and totally outside my comprehension..the 2nd read just had me shaking my head as to what some people , thru no fault of their own, are forced to endure.
Its my view that although suicide prevention is more to the forefront of our society today, unless one has been touched by the suicide of a close relative or friend, it is just not possible for the general population to get their head around the whole concept. Tanya has written her book in such a way, one cant help but be sitting on her shoulder on her journey.. the shock, the disbelief, the pain, the hurt, the anger, and the sadness are emotions most of us will never experience to her degree. The support of her family was paramount at that sad time and has obviously continued to this day. To find out later that your partner had been leading a double life would have been a kick in the guts. Throw in the 2 funerals and subsequent demise of the business, it is a testament to Tanya and her family that they have been able to come through their traumatic experience and be able to share personal insights. I sincerely hope that anyone completating suicide may come across Tanyas book and think about how the ones left behind are changed for life. May it encourage them to seek help.
Review – July 21, 2019
A raw and honest look at the devastation suicide has on those left in its wake.
So many questions unanswered. hearts broken. Lives changed forever 😢😢😢
So well written my beautiful friend. I see you in a different light now, although I always knew you were strong, courageous & most of all loving and caring.
I am fortunate to call you my friend. ❤️❤️❤️
Review – July 12, 2019
‘Tanya’s book Petal The other side of Suicide is a heartfelt personable account of grief endured following Mark’s suicide. I was a Gatekeeper for nearly 20 years and witnessed sudden death in all forms outside of the medical world. This book should be required reading for all Gatekeepers and Team Leaders as it can prepare the mind for dealing with grief and loss “close to home” and goes a long way to alleviating the depth of counselling some need following the crisis of sudden death and response thereof. ‘
Neil Roberts, Miner, WA
Review – May 27, 2019
Love to you on this Rollercoaster life you have had. Many memories happy and sad. “Everything….affects everything ”
Review – May 23, 2019
I started this book one night and finished it the next morning. What a heart wrenching read, it bought back many warm and fuzzy memories of growing up around Poochera but also pulled at my heartstrings that a family has to go through this. I will definitely be passing this book on to my amazing daughter-in-law who works in the mental health system. Thank you Tanya for being so open and vulnerable.
In this account of one family’s tragedy of suicide lies a bare honesty. Tanya French has had the courage to tell her very personal story of the most difficult and anguished time of her life in a highly candid manner. This is a book borne out of a deep need to let us know that in the agonising loss of a loved one from suicide, the journey does not need to be taken alone, that the overwhelming feelings of shock, disbelief, guilt, shame, anger and despair are to be normalised and can be shared rather than stifled and hidden. This is a book worth reading because both the risk of, and the act of suicide casts long shadows across our society, across family, friends and work colleagues. It is a book with a message of hope, that the more sharing that is done, the more awareness that is raised about suicide, the less alone we will all be in the face of this cruel social phenomenon.
BSW B.Ec (Hons)
Thank you, Tanya, for sharing your story with such raw honesty. As I read your words, I felt your pain, grief and loss of your beloved husband. The more we talk about suicide and depression it can only help others to know that they are not alone. I believe that your story will help others to step out of the shadows and into the light. We must never underestimate the power of a loving family and friends and it is obvious that the relationship and love you share with your children has helped you all to heal. Congratulations on telling your story with such bravery and courage.
Dr Ros Worthington
Philanthropist Founder of Breast Cancer WA Founder of HelpME campaign with Lifeline Founder of Love Angel projects.