A daughters story of the passing of her dad by suicide and the impact it had on her life.
The morning of the memorial service was yet again a blur. I remember getting my daughters ready for the service and my youngest was very sick. My fiancée had contemplated even taking her but I told him that I needed him. When we got to the funeral home the director was absolutely wonderful and allowed him and my daughter to lay upstairs in the parlor room. Downstairs was an array of people. I don’t remember the specifics on when it started but it was early afternoon sometime. When I arrived I was met with my mom and some other family. We sat together for a little while and I remember thinking to myself this cant be real.
As the time grew near to the start people started filing in more and more.There were so many people who came out to see us and for that I am forever grateful. I remember being there and standing with my dads two sisters. Two people that my mom hadn’t wanted me to be around for so many years. I felt comfort having them there. It meant more to me knowing they were HIS family. The people were eventually allowed to start coming through the line and that day I met SO many people that my dad impacted their lives. Family that I hadn’t seen in almost 20 years. Friends of his from high school, and people that my dad had met over the years. It absolutely amazed me the number of people. I remember the funeral director coming in during the service and asking if we needed a break. At the point he came in he told us people had been waiting almost an hour and a half to see us.
A few people really made an impact on me. First and foremost the number of my dads family that came blew me away. Everyone put their differences aside and came to support us. The number of previous co-workers also was insane. Everyone who introduced themselves to us had nothing but incredible words to say about him. How they loved talking to him, and hearing his stories. His jokes and his comical personality. He worked in for a pipe company and loaded trucks as they came in. Every driver who came through that line was the same as my dad. There was one particular driver who my dad just absolutely loved when he came in. As soon as he approached me and told me his name, I along with him, immediately broke down. This is the man who brought my dad things like coffee, or treats. Little things that meant SO much to my dad. Although the day was emotionally and physically exhausting, I was very proud of how it turned out. My daughter made it through the day and luckily by the time we said our final goodbyes she was feeling slightly better for the hour and 15 minute drive home.
When I got home that night I reflected on a few things. First and foremost how strong of a person my dad was. Some people may argue that with me, but he will be my forever hero. His strength to get through SO many years of struggle. And although he may have felt like a burden he definitely was NOT. Second was how much of a role model that he was. So many people looked up to him. The people who worked with him. The people who he met. His friends. His family. The amount of people who I’ve talked to over the last couple of years since his passing always talk about his strong work ethic. His dedication to work. And most importantly his love. He loved hard. I have no doubt in my entire soul that that morning when he chose to do what he did, he thought about me and my girls.
He had left a suicide note that I had no idea about until a few days after his passing. The police department took it along with the gun for processing. We eventually got to take copies of that letter. Some people might look at it as creepy, but I took it and have it safely put away. I took it because those were his last words before his final decision. Those were his final thoughts. His final goodbyes. The one thing that really struck me about his note was his reference to the “demons” in his head. The “demons“ that he felt were controlling him. I can’t even begin to imagine what was going through his head that morning. Actually I don’t want to know because as shattered as my heart still is I wouldn’t want to know. If I would know it would make me think even deeper into “why didn’t I see this or that.” His goodbyes to my girls, myself, and my mom were very brief. He told us he loved us and told my mom to take care of us. He also referenced their dog in the letter. Now that I look back I see that their dog was most likely his emotional support animal. The thing that he felt close too when he was alone. Since my mom worked very long hours and I lived over an hour away he turned to his only other thing that he had. Their dog is still living to this day and the dog and I have this weird connection. He was also in the house that morning when my dad took his life. He had locked the dog upstairs when he went to the basement. When I went down that morning the dog darted down there too knowing something was wrong. Knowing how much he was hurting will always hurt my heart, but knowing he is in a better place where his head is now clear makes me feel a little better about his decisions.
In the days after we got the note that my dad left, I also had an outpouring of flowers, cards, and notes. People who I again never met. I received a letter from the company in which he worked. The owner of the company wrote a personal letter to myself and my mom and expressing his condolences and telling us how much of an impact my dad had on their company. I also received a letter from his one buddy Huck, truck driver who I talked about above. He wrote me and told me just how much he enjoyed working with him and how my dad impacted him. Friends and family sent flowers. Friends and family sent notes. These cards and these letters are still kept by my mom. In the next couple of weeks though my thoughts of gratitude turned again to sorrow. The things that you find out after someone passes can really hurt your soul.
A 24/7 hotline where trained individuals help people who may be having mental health issues and thoughts of suicide. If you or someone you know is having these thoughts please encourage them to call a hotline and speak to someone.