Thursday, June 12, 2014

My Father's Suicide: 3 things I'd tell him on Father's Day

My father loved Father's Day. Maybe that's because he loved being a father so much. I always got the feeling that, just like my mother, he felt parenting was his most important and worthwhile job in life. He took it very seriously, whether he was helping me pass high school chemistry (which I did!) or trying to solve the murder in a rousing game of Clue (which he usually did!).

So for years after he died -- and still occasionally -- I felt conned in a way. Here's how the internal conversation went down in my head...
"Of course father loved you. He loved you more than anything..."

"If he took being a father so seriously, then why isn't he here?"

"His suicide does not take away from the fact that his family was the most important thing in his life."

"Oh, really?? Then why do I feel so cast aside?"
My thoughts would usually swirl around in this sort of continuous loop, and even though I'd eventually get tired of asking the same questions over and over, I still felt compelled to ask them -- as if not asking them would somehow make his death all too real.

But it is real, and this year, I've been thinking about all the things I wish I could tell him on Father's Day. You know, like in those futuristic movies where the world is about to explode and you have exactly 45 seconds to tell your loved one everything you've ever wanted to tell them. Well, what if I could see my father again for just 45 seconds? Here are the three things I'd try to get off my chest...

Dear Father: Most of my anger has been replaced with missing you
Yes, I do still have anger toward you, and I don't think anyone would begrudge me that. Maybe even you knew this anger would find me; I hope that's one of the biggest things you regret. But now, some 11 years later, I miss you. This summer is making me so nostalgic for my childhood, for all those innocent days when nothing and everything mattered. I miss you, and I hope you know that, wherever you are.

Dear Father: I've managed to carve out a life for myself and I'm proud of it
I sometimes catch myself saying, "I'm not like..." And for some reason, I sometimes almost believe what I'm saying. Until I finally stop myself because looking back, I have come a long way, and, as anyone who's lost someone knows, that's no small feat. I'm proud of who I am. I'm proud of where I am in my life. It's a life I hope you would be proud of too. You've had a hand in helping me get this far, whether you're here or not.

Dear Father: I may not always admit it, but I do think about you every day
That's totally normal, isn't it? I mean, I'm not debilitated by grief, but I have moments during the day when you do cross my mind. Like when I'm eating my yogurt at lunch and remember how you'd always have to scrape every last bit out of the carton -- yes, that was a bit annoying, if I'm being honest. Like the times I hear The Beach Boys and remember how you'd blast their tunes every weekend cleaning the bathroom. Like how you'd get that little happy glint in your eye whenever we'd come and visit you in "your shop" at work during the summer.
Would 45 seconds be long enough to tell my father all this? I'm not sure, but I'd sure like to try. And, I wonder what he'd like to tell me. What an interesting meeting that would be... xoxo

P.S. 3 things I've learned about bonding and 5 question I'd ask my father.

[Photos via We Heart It]

1 comment:

  1. He DOES hold your heart forever! I think when suicide happens, the person does not realize what they are doing to those left behind. They have so many things and confusion swirling around- they are in a fog. I'm sure if your Dad wasn't suffering - he would still be with you. A friend of ours lost her husband to suicide when her child was only 10. His daughter was his pride and joy and his passing was a complete shock to most. NEVER doubt that those who are in your hearts are with you always and even your daily thoughts. So sorry you and your family went through this. oxox

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