Monday, January 14, 2013

New Feature: My Father's Suicide

As I mentioned last week, this year marks 10 years since my father committed suicide. Even now, just typing that sentence makes me do a double-take -- sort of like that feeling you get when you're jolted awake from a nightmare at 3 a.m., and have to just lie still to catch your bearings for a few minutes because, for a split second, you forget where you are. You know you're in your bed, but for some reason, nothing looks familiar.
And then, the horrific details of the nightmare start coming back -- slowly at first, but faster as you remember more details. You know it was all a dream, but it seemed so real, as if you could reach out and touch it.

Well, friends, that's how this milestone anniversary has been for me so far. The only difference between my father's suicide and a bad dream is that his suicide is, well, all too real. And if I've learned anything in the last 10 years, it's that there's no "waking" up from the suicide of a loved one. You can't escape it. You can't run away from it. You can't hide it. Of course, you can try doing all these things, but you won't be able to keep up the pace for very long. Eventually, your emotions will catch up with you.
I've been thinking long and hard about the 10-year mark and how I want to process it and write about it. The more I think about things, the more I realize that my emotions probably won't be following a cute little time table this year. Sure, I could write about it on the actual anniversary -- March 10th -- and be done with it, never speaking of it for the rest of the year. But when you think about it, emotions don't work that way. You can't compartmentalize something so abstract.
So, in the name of continual self expression, I thought it would be a good idea to have a specific place to write about all the emotions that come up regarding my father's suicide -- all year long. As you know, my emotions have run the gamut in the past -- everything from anger to sadness to confusion. And guess what? All those varying emotions, I've learned, are healthy. They're all part of the process, and I'm equally excited (Is that the right word?) to see how my emotions will morph and change throughout the year.

What do you think, friends? Is there something specific you'd like to see me write about? Do you have any questions? You can read more about my father and my journey following his death here, here, here, here and here. xoxo


  1. You wrote this so beautifully and smoothly, I felt as if I were in your shoes. I think this would be a wonderfully cathartic series not only for you, but also for your readers who have gone through similar experiences.

  2. This is an excellent idea, Melissa. I'm so glad you're willing to tackle this subject in this way.


  3. Ms Branflake said everything I was thinking, but better. And you, Melissa, write about a topic I can't even imagine with such grace and strength–I'm in awe.

  4. I think this is very brave. My cousin committed suicide four years ago, and I still can't wrap my head around it. Not really.

    This post feels the most real of all the things I've read on your blog. And I can't wait to see more.

  5. I think writing is therapeutic. I also think by being open with what you are feeling, you're helping others who have suffered the same kind of loss.

  6. That's the thing about suicide, Wendy -- there's this incredible stigma surrounding it. If I could open just one person's eyes, it'd be worth it, you know?

  7. Thanks for these kind words, friends!

  8. Melissa, I can't imagine the journey you've taken thus far but I applaud you for being so brave and getting it out there. I hope it's cathartic for you. And I hope you continue to heal.

  9. Nice post....I read it down in the WV library....I don't think I could access this yesterday on my phone. xxoo Your mother

  10. It's nice to see you on here, Mom!! xoxo

  11. I just finished reading all of the posts you had listed here regarding your father's suicide. Thank you so much for sharing this. You are brave and vulnerable to share your story...My loved one who attempted suicide survived. But things could have turned out very differently.

    Thanks again for pouring out your heart and emotions. You have and will continue to help others...and my hope and prayer is that you will continue to grieve, remember and heal in the way that you need to...

    God Bless you,


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