I was going through my list of blogs that I like to read when I have some spare time, which is hardly ever and was actually not the case today, I was just procrastinating and avoiding homework. I came across a blog by The Bloggess which was discussing that today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I actually didn’t know they had a day for this and realized there are two extremely sad days together, World Suicide Prevention Day and 9/11.
I feel like I should write a blog today because I know how suicide effects people, I have first hand knowledge of the aftermath of suicide. Yet in a way, I feel I shouldn’t acknowledge it and let myself get upset over something that happened so many years ago. I don’t know how to even beginning writing about this because I’ve pushed it to the back of my mind for so many years. I think I’m just going to tell my story and see where that takes me.
When I was 17 my dad and his girlfriend both committed suicide within days of each other. I can’t honestly say I was close to my dad because he was gone most of my life and I definitely had no interest in his girlfriend but still the event was still pretty traumatic. Actually, I don’t know if traumatic is a good word for it; I think a better word would be in shock. I didn’t see it coming and I don’t think anyone really did.
My dad had been on a downward spiral for some time. He was released from prison two years prior to this and did well for about a year and a half but that last 6 months was the worse that he ever was. He was doing drugs, he was doing all kinds of illegal things and a lot worse. He never was the best dad but he seemed to never let that bother him either so when he killed himself I didn’t understand what had happened. When you think of people who commit suicide I suppose most people reference the basic stereotype of a depressed person with no friends, social outcast who didn’t know their place and thought life would be better for everyone if they were just gone. My dad wasn’t like that. Everyone loved him, he fit in wherever he went and to this day I believe he thought the world revolved around him.
I used to blame myself for him dying. I thought there was something I had done that set him off and he was just fed up with all of us. After the initial shock wore off, I fell into a deep depression. I missed the myth of my dad because thats all I ever had. I didn’t know who my dad was as a person, I only knew what I saw across the table at visitations, from stories my grandmother or just images that a little girl made up in her head. None of them were true but its how I got through life.
I spent many years blaming myself for him dying. I tried to find ways to explain that it wasn’t a suicide but that someone had come in and hurt him, he was after all not the most savory of individuals. I suppose it felt better to know that someone had killed him than to come to terms with the fact that he killed himself.
After I got over trying to explain away his suicide I became very angry at him. Angry that after 17 years of not being there, he killed himself and wouldn’t be there for me ever. I also came to terms with my childhood and the not so good things that happened to me and my sisters.
It’s been almost 14 years since he passed now and as an adult I can look back on those years I spent with my father and realize that his passing had nothing to do with me at all or anyone other than him. I’ve gone from shock to depression to denial to anger and finally to forgiveness. I know I have to forgive him for all that he has done including killing himself. I talk to family and they all seem to remember a different person than I knew. After many nights of trying to figure this all out I know that basically my dad never grew up. He never stopped being a teenager living out his youth. He never understood that he had four little girls who needed their dad and to this day still need a dad. My sisters and I weren’t given a great life by our parents but we made it to adulthood and now all that matters is what we do with our lives. Our parents sins aren’t our burden and his death isn’t my fault.
I know that the 10th was a day to prevent suicide but there are other victims of suicide and they are often forgotten, the people who are left behind. I normally post a picture that reminds me of the topic I’m blogging about but I don’t have really any pictures of my dad, I barely remember what he looks like. I do remember growing up with my grandparents and what my sisters and I had to go through. So today, I’m posting a picture to remember those times because suicide effected us too.