An only child trying to find herself after the death of her father by suicide.
I still continue to find things out about myself that I never knew. You don’t realize just how strong you are after a tragedy like this, but you also don’t realize the people who have been there all along without your knowledge.
The day of my dads passing I had to call his family. My mom and his siblings never got along, and it was only right they knew and found out by me. I remember calling his sister and hearing her screaming and sobbing. I never knew my aunt very well so calling her was all ready stressful enough, but having to tell her this news made my anxiety worse. After telling her the news I told her I would be in touch with the funeral arrangements and other things.
It wasn’t until the day of the memorial that I realized just how much they cared for me. Yes, many people said the same thing to me, “They were just being nice because of the situation.” But I realized just how torn we all were. Most of the family that came through the line were family. His family. These were the people that for many years I was unable to see or be around. The people who I was always told that didn’t care about me. But they did. They did care, and they wanted me to know this.
After the memorial I stayed in touch with many of them. Whether through Facebook, texting, or seeing them. Slowly more and more family started reaching out and slowly little relationships started to form. It was through them that I had found out the truths of my childhood and I started to feel closer to my Dad. Closer because I was now talking to the people that were around him as a child. Closer because I knew my Dad was in heaven looking down and smiling, because I took the initiative to get to know them. As I mentioned above most relationships are through social media, BUT the fact that they are receptive to me means more than they will ever know.
The one relationship that I wanted to maintain the most was through an uncle of my Dad’s. This uncle was so very close to him and as they grew older their relationship grew as well. This particular uncle had a rough few years, and I wanted him to know just how much my Dad cared and loved him. He was unable to attend the memorial of my Dad. He couldn’t attend not because he didn’t want to but because he was shattered and just couldn’t bring himself to say goodbye. We understood. This had taken a toll on many people, not just my mom and I. In the bigger picture, after everything had settled down, I came to realize just how much of an impact my Dad had on certain people.
I never told my uncle this but the gun my Dad had used, was given to him by that uncle. I guess I felt like I had a weird “special” bond as odd as that may sound. I never ever felt bad feelings toward him, because of this, but I felt sad because if he ever found out he would never be able to live with himself. I choose to keep this to myself and never share because that part never mattered. What mattered is I keep in touch and continue a relationship with these people. Every family has internal issues. There is always a type of jealousy, or a type of dislike towards one another. This was my biggest obstacle. When I reached out to certain individuals, I knew that there were certain people who were going to be hesitant. But I pushed through and did what I felt was right. I also still stay to myself even though I have relationships.
If I can share anything from my experience, it’s this. Remember that everyone takes death differently and also mourns differently. Although we are all experiencing death no can tell you HOW to do so. There will always be the family who choose to be distant and won’t want anything to do with the situation. There will also be the family members who mourn and will do anything for attention. They will use a situation in life whether it be a death or not and they will want people to feel bad for them. As hard as it is ignore it. Ignore that behavior because you need to focus on yourself and take care of YOU. If those people choose to use a situation for attention they are obviously seeking more than attention. Let them do so. Because in the end those people will continue to be miserable. Your mental health is what you need to make you function. Don‘t let others decide how YOU are going to live your life. Be happy and enjoy yourself.
I also have learned to rebuild myself and the family who choose to stick with you and beside you will remain.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 28, 2021:
Mandy, I think it was good that you did what you felt was the right thing, despite the stress. This is a good article that all can learn from. I agree that we do all mourn death a bit differently, and is may last a longer time for some. Thank you for sharing your experience.