Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
Here’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask: How do I handle the month of March wherever we are now? Do I brush it off as if it doesn’t even bother me? Do I pretend I’ve forgotten what month it is and don’t even acknowledge it? Do I revert back to my old friend Mr. Anger and become all moody and broody? Or do I curl up in a ball of tears and wait for the month to pass because the feelings are all too real?
I only ask because, as I’m sure you know, March has never been a very happy month for me. Well, wait, I take that back. It used to be just another month like the other 11, something I usually didn’t even think twice about.
And then March 2003 came along.
The month and year of my father’s suicide.
It snuck up on me — on all of us — so swiftly and seemingly without any warning. We were, honestly, so unprepared for any of it and for the uncertain world we were about to enter.
Maybe that’s why, although the acute grief has subsided over the years, that pang is still lodged solidly and firmly in my heart; and what’s more, something tells me it always will be.
And that got me thinking: I want to be with someone who is going to want to ask me about my father, someone who is going to want to know the story and someone who is going to be OK with hearing me repeat some of those same stories every now and then.
I sometimes can’t help but feel like people don’t want to hear the story of everything that’s happened. I’m sure some of it stems from them not knowing what to say or not wanting to bring it up for fear of upsetting things, but that fact doesn’t make it any easier. The most important thing I’ve learned following my father’s death is that those left behind feel this intense need to tell their story and talk about what happened. I’m not sure this is ever something that every goes away, no matter how long the person’s been gone. There’s this distinct drive to process and reflect and just generally try and come to terms with your life now as opposed to how it used to be. Because that story is such a part of who I am, whether I try to deny it or not. So I hope you know that and that you’ll understand that. After all, there’s a whole portion of my life that you missed out on. You never knew my father, never saw first-hand how close I was with him, and that makes me a little sad. I wish you could have known him, which is why I’m probably going to want to talk about him. A lot.
My dream and my hope is that you’ll never be afraid to ask me about my father’s suicide and how it’s affected my life. I don’t want you to ever feel like you have to censor yourself or your feelings around me. And I don’t ever want you to think that I don’t want to talk about things — you can be sure you’ll KNOW when that’s the case. You should know by the time we’re married that I’m never one to hide any of my feelings — it’s never really been my style, I guess.
Don’t worry, though: I’m sure there are going to be people in your life you’ll want to talk about — people I’ll, sadly, never get the chance to meet. I hope you know that I’m going to WANT to hear ALL about them. So get those stories ready, Sweetpea! We’ve got a lot of talking to do — and a lot of lost time make up for! Until we meet… xoxo