The day was November 29, 1997, two days after Thanksgiving. I was 17 and in my senior year of high school. The day I woke up and knew things would never be the same. The day my dad took his own life.
Those who are close to me know my story. This is the first time I’ve publicly acknowledged it. Many know my dad had passed away years ago, but few knew how. If you are wondering why I’ve decided to tell my story now 15 years later the reason is simple. I need to heal. Suicide grief is not like any other grief and only those who have experienced it truly understand. It’s not something you can easily move on from. I have experienced all sorts of emotions and asked the same questions over and over. It has affected every area of my life. I’m tired of this controlling me. Here is an excerpt from a blog post in 2011:
I still struggle to understand at times. The dreams still haunt me. I wonder if it will always hurt this much. I’m not angry or bitter anymore, and I think I have forgiven him, which I guess is to say I still struggle with that one. I still feel guilty at times and wonder if I did enough. I wonder how he could do this to me and why I wasn’t enough for him to still be here. I miss him so much I can’t breath sometimes. I look at my kids and think about all he is missing with them. I wonder if he had a second chance would he do it again. I guess I’ll never know.
I guess I lied on the bitter part…I still struggle with that. Every time I see a father/daughter moment I feel robbed from the experience all over again. It’s hard to watch a father walk his daughter down the isle and give her away. My mom and step dad both walked me down the isle, and while I love them both so much, it wasn’t the same, it wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Bitter.
To tell my story I would have to start way back before my dad died. In order to do that I’ve decided not to blog about it but to write a book about my experience. For the past few years I’ve known this was something I needed to do, however I have fought it and fought God over it. I knew that by telling my story meant I would finally be forced to face it head on. I never grieved properly right after it happened. Along with the shock of it I went numb and stayed numb for several years. To be honest I thought I was fine when in reality I never dealt with it.
*** I have decided to not pursue writing a book at this time. I’ve sat down so many times and tried to start but the words have failed to come. Instead I plan to do a monthly series of blog posts starting sometime next year. ***
Friends please don’t look at me differently or take pity. That is one of the reasons I’ve never blogged about this. I’m still the same girl who loves to have fun and post Cowboys updates on Facebook to annoy the heck of the Texans and Saints fans. 🙂 We all have a past we have to overcome, this one is mine.
I’m so nervous about publishing this post. I keep staring at the screen wondering if I should. There is a social stigma attached to suicide and that is one of the reasons survivors like myself don’t come forward and share their stories. I hope by sharing my story it will not only help me to heal but it will help other survivors as well.