I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t a typical post from me. I’m not analyzing TVD, talking about my writing, and it is far more candid than what I normally share about my family’s life.
This will not be easy to read (or at least it wasn't easy to write). I need to put a sensitive subject matter disclaimer here....
This past Thursday started normally enough. My husband was out of town. I needed to do some edits on one of my manuscripts. I’d promised my kids that if I could get two chapters completed, we’d go to the water park to kill time till their dad got home.
We’d no sooner parked the car at our favorite summer destination than my phone rang. My mom was on a “ladies’ weekend” with a few of her former co-workers, and she couldn’t reach my dad on the phone. That was odd. His iPhone was almost permanently attached to his hip. He always answered his phone. I promised my mother I’d run by to check on him after we were finished with the water park.
Less than an hour later, our plans for the evening would drastically change.
When my kids and I stopped to take a break in the shade, I noticed I had a phone call from an unfamiliar number. Since my dad had some health issues, I was afraid that he’d ended up in the emergency room. I called the number and received the message no one wants to hear.
It was my parents’ pastor. My father was gone…and I needed to get to my parents’ house as soon as I could. Everything blurred. Since my kids had overheard the phone call, my daughter took control and arranged for a family friend to come pick her and her brother up while I tried to reach my mom on her trip. The next five minutes were some of the longest in my lifetime as I had to tell both my mother and my husband that my father had passed away – while they were each over 6 hours from home.
Once the kids were settled with the neighbor, my phone rang again. It was one of the ladies from my mom’s trip. She wanted to know if I still had my kids with me. My mom had reached her pastor, and there was information I needed to know.
Overwhelmed by financial problems and personal matters, rather than admitting he was having problems…he’d chosen to end his life. He left a note saying that he’d deliberately waited until my mom was gone since I was stronger than she is. I was to be the one in charge of all the details until my mom could return the next day.
Grief and shock were quickly mixed with anger and questions we’ll never have answered.
He couldn’t face telling my mother that the downturn of the stock market had almost wiped out their retirement fund. He’d become depressed but was too proud to admit it. So he chose the “easy” way out.
After days of dealing with the aftermath….answering friends’ questions, telling my kids that their grandfather died by his own choice, dealing with my own “what ifs,” I can say with absolute certainty that suicide is never the answer.
None of my dad’s problems were so big that we couldn’t work through them together, but we don’t have that chance. And..he’ll never see my daughter graduate from high school or watch another one of her plays. He won’t hear the details of my son’s first day of middle school or see a picture of his first date.
I know most people speak of suicide in hushed tones and veil it under the phrase that someone passed away “unexpectedly” – but that won’t help anyone else.
My Christian faith is important to me. I keep coming back to Romans 8:28.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I’ve asked myself how can this be one of those “all things?” All…. Everything…. Even this…..
And so I’m writing this – in the hope that someone might see my story and think twice about making the same decision my father made.
Trust me, my family would much prefer to have my dad with us, even knowing the savings account was gone. We could work through this together, but he never gave us the chance.
Please, if you’re feeling that you’re at the end of what you can handle alone…don’t try to keep it to yourself. You have someone you can trust. I promise you that someone….somewhere cares enough about you to help work through your current situation. And if you don’t think you have someone to talk with, please visit this link. http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/ There’s a weath of information (phone numbers, local resources) there. People you don’t even know want to help you keep from making the one choice you can never take back.
I’m choosing to use my dad’s death as a way to speak out. If even one person reconsiders their decision because of reading this, I can’t say that it’ll make everything better….but at least I’ll know something positive came from it.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Feel free to share the link with others.