People talk about all the things that happened before the suicide…what led to it, the warning signs, etc. But what about what happens after? The devastation. The people who are left behind to try and reassemble the shattered pieces of a life they thought they knew. A life they know, down to the very core of their being, will never be the same. Ever again.
I found myself thinking about my father a lot during the holidays this year. Or maybe it was more like I was thinking about our old life. Whichever it was, one thing was crystal clear: I was thinking about it a lot more than in years past. I’m not all too sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing, but my gut says it’s a good thing. There were so many times I caught myself starting a sentence with, “Remember the time Father…?” The spontaneous memory either elicited a smile or a playful eye roll as I remembered one of my father’s annoying little quirks — i.e. he’d spend a few minutes brushing off the bottoms of his feet before he’d even put his socks on. His. Sock. Who does that…? 😉
And, yes, some of these memories were sad. But you know what? They were all real. Every last one of them. They were the memories that add up to the stories of my life, and more importantly, the story of my father’s life.
But not everyone is like this. Over the last decade of suicide grief, some people haven’t talked much about my dad either because they don’t know what to say, don’t want to upset us or because it’s just too painful for them. Truth be told, I’m having a hard time accepting this. How can someone be such an important part of your life and then just vanish from it? They act like he’s never existed at all, and sometimes, I just want to scream, “CAN’T YOU SEE IT?? HE’S STILL HERE!”
Because these memories? They’re my way of keeping my father alive. They make the past feel within reach again, which can be so incredibly comforting at times, especially when you feel like your life now and your life with your loved one are two separate, completely different lives.
My point: Please, please continue to talk about your loved one. Whether you’re angry or sad or reminiscing about happier times, it’s important to keep your loved one with you. Keeping quiet is sort of like letting the suicide win. Don’t let it. You owe it to your loved one — and most importantly, you owe it to yourself. xoxo
[Photos via We Heart It]