I’m SO excited to share my newest essay on my father’s suicide for Cosmo! It went live yesterday, and I think it turned out really well. As I was reading it over again (I’m not the only one who does this, right?), I couldn’t help but notice that maybe, just maybe, I’ve progressed on this whole grief journey I’ve been on for the last 13 years. I’ve written a lot about suicide and it’s aftermath, but this essay felt a little different. For the first time, it touched on coming to a bit of closure — well, I suppose, as much closure as you could ever get following the suicide of a loved one. But it’s a start, right? And that’s what’s most important to me.
Maybe that’s the thing about suicide: It’s ugly. It’s messy. It’s complicated. And, as we learned, it doesn’t discriminate — it doesn’t care if you’ve had a perfect life or if you’ve been happy every day of your life. And in it’s aftermath, as my anger eventually turned to sadness, I began to see that suicide isn’t just something that happens to the person who dies. It happens to everyone around them. It’s a family disease, creating ripples that are felt and carried by the survivors for the rest of their lives.
I like to think that if my father had the choice to go back in time, he would do things differently. I have to believe that because if I let my mind wander too far into a dark place, I start to wonder: Why? Why did my father, the ultimate family man, take his own life? How could he just leave us like that? Did the treatment cause damage to his frontal lobe, the part of the brain responsible for impulse control?
We’ll never know and that’s left a permanent hole in my heart.
For those left behind, life is never the same and sometimes, you find yourself struggling just to hang on. Maybe I’m not drowning in the grief anymore, but it is with me. Every day. Everywhere I go and everything I do. Still, I try not to let it eat me alive either.
You can read the full essay here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. And, PLEASE, never forget that there is help out there. Don’t be afraid to speak up and seek help if you or someone you know is depressed or suicidal. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
P.S. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo