Tomorrow will be a fun filled day. Tomorrow my husband is taking off to spend the day with me. Tomorrow we just may go to the Houston Rodeo. But not today. Today I will remember. Because tomorrow I will turn 33 and tomorrow my dad would have turned 57. I never spend my birthdays sad or crying or playing the “what ifs” game. Ever. I refuse to do that. But I also can’t ignore the fact that my dad committed suicide and the fact that we shared the same birthday.
I feel like for the last 15 years I’ve been somewhat selfish in my grief. Most of you will never know what his suicide did to me, how it changed me, and how I built up a wall of protection around myself. It will take you years to get that wall even halfway down to fully know me, and if you hurt me just once, it goes completely back up again. I’ve very guarded about who I let in. Even in this blog I tend to hold back some. I can’t help it, there is too much vulnerability involved. I can’t tell you how many times I started to write something and it ends up in the trash file. I start to open up, delete, and start over.
But the reason I feel selfish is because while he was my dad, he was also my grandmother’s child. It’s been all about my pain and what he did to me that I had forgotten how different her pain is from mine. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain of losing a child. Add losing that child to suicide, well, I can’t even go there. I try to step out of my self absorbed rain boots and put myself in her shoes for even just a moment…and the thought kills me inside. I know a part of her must have died with him. My grandmother is the sweetest, most caring, Christ filled woman you will ever meet. Her faith has always amazed me and I know I’ll never be as good as she is. She did not deserve to be put through this. No one does. She is always on my mind on my birthday, our birthday. I pray I never fully know what she went through.
You won’t find me visiting his grave tomorrow, or today for that matter. I’ve been twice in the last 13 years. I went on my birthday in 2000 and then again in the summer of 2010. It may be another good 10 years before I go again. It’s too hard. Way too hard. I can’t bring myself to go because I’m not sure if I’ll cry silently or yell in anger and kick his headstone. Crying or yelling is fine in the privacy of my home, not in public next to a busy highway. Believe me no one needs to witness that drama.
I loved my dad and he was a good father. I hate that this overshadows that. I’ve been thinking a lot about the book I plan to write. I’m having a really hard time starting it. Every time I think this is the day I will begin I can’t seem to do it. My thoughts are all over the place regarding it. I’m not sure what to put in it, what to leave out, how to start it, how to end it, the title, etc. Or maybe that’s my subconscious trying to keep me from opening up? I think I just answered my own question.
Anyway. Today I’m going to enjoy a pedicure, Starbucks and silently remember him. My tears may or may not come, but only for today. Tomorrow I’ll be fine I promise. 🙂
If you or someone you know is suicidal or having thought of suicide please call or visit:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255