Today is 20 years since losing my dad to suicide. Anyone else out there who has been through this, you’re NOT alone. This is hard to talk about but has shaped my entire adult life in both negative and positive ways.
Obviously he had some mental health issues. We had no idea about this until we buried him. I hate living my life thinking about what ifs. But, in this case it’s appropriate. What if we could have spotted this earlier. What if he opened up to my Mom about how he was feeling? What if he could have gotten some real help? What if he never died? How would life be different? That last question I think is what suicide survivors ponder second most, the first question being why.
I used to spend a lot of time pondering this question because of the ripple effect his suicide has had on my life. Maybe I wouldn’t have blown all the money he left me on cocaine. Maybe I would have finished college like he wanted. Maybe I wouldn’t be struggling with my own mental health issues which for a long time I thought wouldn’t be there if he lived. This isn’t true though. Some, maybe all mental health problems are genetic in some way. I was told once by a doctor that suicide can actually run in families. And a few years ago I wanted to join him. Unlike my father I realized that I needed some help. Looking back on my life knowing what I know now I can safely say that I’ve always battled depression. I was already in counseling and therapy and taking meds before I was hospitalized due to my suicidal thoughts. I bounced back though, but not everyone does. The simplest thing you can do for someone that you think may be in trouble is listen. If we can confide in someone about how we feel some of that darkness can be lifted. Obviously that’s not a blanket cure, people like myself need therapy and sometimes medications.
His death has had a powerfully negative effect on my life, but, there is one thing that if he hadn’t died probably wouldn’t have happened. This thing trumps any negative effects on my life. If he hadn’t died I may never gone down the road that led to my wife. I’m so lucky and grateful to her. I got to marry someone who’s not only the love of my life and my soulmate but my best friend. So in some ways she may be the last gift he ever gave me.
Life is hard folks and we need people to lean on. If you know someone that needs your shoulders or someone that needs a shoulder don’t be scared. Open up and talk, I believe that is the first step to getting better.
Thanks for listening talk to you all later.