I know I say this every year, but time really is a weird thing! It’s the only thing I know that can feel both long and short at the same time — years somehow never feel like just years in the literal sense, which is something I’m continually grappling with in an effort to. So when I think about how last week marked 18 years since my father died from suicide, my mind still can’t comprehend how much time that feels like because it actually feels like a long time and like it just happened yesterday.
I’ve thought a lot about the passing of time and how you experience that time after a loved one dies from suicide; maybe I’ve even spent too much time thinking about it sometimes? All I know is that maybe time feels weird because a part of you never really left the moment your loved one died. Although I’m physically here in 2021, there’s still a part of me that never left March 10th, 2003. There’s still a part of me that’s the scared, frightened 21-year-old who doesn’t know how she’ll go on living without her father and just can’t believe that any of this is real.
It’s sort of like living in two parallel universes and something tells me that it will always be that way. But maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing? Maybe it’s not so bad to “walk between” these two worlds, to have one foot in the past and one in the present — it’s a way to link the two perhaps? At the very least, I can’t help but feel like it’s a way to keep my dad with me, which is all I’ve ever wanted since the day he died.
And speaking of keeping him with me, something interesting happened last week. I’m usually not one to believe in signs, but last night, a drawing of my dad and me fell down! This beautiful illustration was given to me by the talented artist Brooke Costello and I love it because it feels like a part of my dad is still with me whenever I look at it.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: If you’re somehow looking down on us, Dad, I hope you’re proud of the people we’ve become!! We miss you every day and wish you were here with us…
carol Wong says
My brother committed suicide back in the 1970’s. I keep wondering what it would have been like if he had not. He would have seen my son who was a baby back then grow up and have children. I was 29 and I miss so much. I fainted when I was sick one time and I heard beautiful music from an instrument that I had never heard before. I felt myself being pulled through a tunnel towards a light. I heard my brother calling me by name. I remember being so happy until I came to! I felt my cheek being slapped. If you ever get real sick, I hope that you will have a similar experience. That gave me a lot of peace.
Oh, Carol, what a powerful experience!! I also often think about how my life would be different if my dad were still alive…it’s so hard to lose a family member, especially when you’re young!
My dad died by suicide when I was seven and unfortunately I don’t have any memories of him. Sometimes I think about what it would be like if he were still around. “What if “ can be such a wild thought. I am sorry you lost your dad but am thankful to him that he brought us you.
Big hugs to you, Kyla!!
Thanks a lot for sharing Melissa! That was beautiful yet truthful to what some of us feel when we lose one of our loved ones —specially in ways which are hard to wrap our heads around at first.
Regardless, I do think they keep looking down on us, and I’m sure your father must be very proud of the woman you have become, and the impact you are having!
Btw, I’ve been following your social media for a while but this is the first time I ready one of your blog entries. I promise to keep coming back from now on 😀
Stacy Mathieson says
I loved your sentiments here. My mom died in 2011, although not by suicide, and you put it so well about how time moves both slow and fast. And how you leave a bit of yourself in the past. I had not thought of it like that until now. Thanks!
Krysten Quiles says
I think your dad would be incredibly proud Melissa.
I am so sorry your family has experienced this and echo the other commenter who said they are grateful for your father. I really like what you wrote about linking the past and the present… Interesting food for thought.
Take good care.
Your dad would be proud of the woman you have turned out to be, your honesty and positivity will make him proud every day.
“Parallel universe”… what a perfect description. Thank you for this wonderful post. I’m so sorry you lost your dad to suicide; I lost mine the same way on March 9th years ago. I’ve said for years that he took all the answers and left me with all the questions. How I wish he were still here today…yet sometimes it seems he is. I miss him desperately.
Thank you again for this post.
Mary Mackowiak says
I lost a beloved cousin almost 40 years ago to suicide, his name was Gerry. He, his brother Donnie & I spent a lot of time together as children at his grandparents house. I think of him every time I hear or read about someone ending there own life for whatever reason, & I still miss him very much. I hope that your Dad is at peace & smiling down on you every day, & will always be with you in your heart. 😊
So sorry, Mary — that grief is always with you, I’ve found.
Marilyn Denman says
My daughter committed suicide two years ago. It seems like a long time ago and yet, not so long at all. I will always miss her.
Sending you love…I’m so sorry!!
Thank you for sharing. You are an inspiration!
Melissa thank you for writing about your experience, as you probably figured out by now, others are Truly Inspired & Comforted by you, and your honest and ability to describe so perfectly what it feels like when a parent dies. You Melissa are a Gift,
You touched my heart deeply today with your wise words.
I am completely gutted. I read this and I have never cried so hard in my life, I do not cry if I do i hide it. Thinking about how hard life can get that just tires people out. Then thinking of my own daughter and how much love she has for me, and her having to go through the pain and loss you had has just reduced me to tears. Thank you for sharing. Its a reminder to me about whats important in life, where priorities should be.
You are so spot on. I lost my brother to illness in 2004 and I measure everything in my life as before and after he passed away. And we knew our time was limited with him. We made sure every day counted and every word was said. I know that my last words to him were “I love you” the night before he passed away. I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose someone to suicide. Your strength is so inspiring.
My dad also died in 2003. From cancer, and it was awful and painful, but I just cannot imagine suffering the loss of a loved one by suicide. That has to be an indescribable pain. I’m so sorry for your loss, that is seemingly both 18 years ago and a day ago. I get that weird time thing too. Peace to you.
Colette Merrill says
I’m sorry to hear about the suicide. I had to write a letter to my family that I never sent, and I never mailed it. I tried to commit suicide and landed in the hospital. I survived and got help and I’m healthy today.
I never realized that this act was selfish until my stepson committed suicide a few years back. Now I know what I put my family through. I may repost that letter I wrote and didn’t mail, or blog it and leave no name. I have a lot of friends who don’t know that about me.