Today marks seven years that my dad committed suicide. To say that it was painful would be an understatement. My life was forever changed the day I got that call.
I lived for 6 years feeling guilty and blaming myself.
Why did he call me the night before?
Why didn't I invite him on our family vacation to Lake Michigan?
Why couldn't I have been enough to make him want to stay?
These and many other thoughts continually went through my head. WHY!!! couldn't I have saved him? My world was shattered. This man who I always knew would protect me was no longer there. Gone in just a moments time. With one simple decision to pull that trigger.
I thought to myself...how could he do that to us? I think HE probably thought... how can I keep doing this to them? And so he did what he thought would be best. I understand a lot more than I did then.
I know he was just running from the pain...and he knew that it was causing US pain. Things happen for a reason and just as his journey took a different path that day, it was time for us to continue on ours without him.
Something I wrote on Nov. 23rd last year not long after I forgave myself for even thinking I needed to forgive myself....... Nothing can prepare you for the feeling I had the day my dad died.
The world stopped and everything I knew was gone, or that's how I felt. How do you live without the one and only person you've felt would protect you no matter what?
Later I would come to realize that you can only give someone the amount of love you have for yourself. .......I had just taken up running to stay in shape the month before.
I arrived at my husbands parents house after my run when I got the call. Mom was hysterical on the other end. She said, "He's gone, your dad shot himself." It felt like someone had stabbed me in the heart. Literally I couldn't breath. I knew it wasn't a dream because I had kind of expected it.
You hear people say, why would someone do that? Or we never saw it coming. I saw it coming, I knew why he did it. In fact it was just a few months before that after talking to mom on the phone that he said he wanted to end his life. I asked mom if she thought he would ever do it? She said, "Yeah, I think he would."
It's like you know this but what can you do to prevent it? I've always felt the need to try and fix things in my family because I just wanted peace. I'm always there to pick up the pieces and try to save everyone.
I realized in that moment that I was powerless, there is nothing more I can do. I've spent my whole life praying and praying that God would help my dad to stop drinking so mom and dad would get along.
I can remember as a child asking for prayer and praying for him at church constantly. I've lived my life trying to save my parents marriage. In the mean time I didn't realize how much damage I was doing to myself.
I should have been saving ME not them. I mean I'm the child, but how come I've always felt like the parent? A life time of fear...that's what I've lived with. Fear that my parents would divorce, fear that people would leave me like they did over and over again.
If there was one thing I was sure of it was that my dad wouldn't leave me....but then he did. This fear of abandonment is something I've lived with my whole life but just now realized how much it has affected me. I hold on so tight and control so much of my life because of it.
The pain is still there...it will always be there, but I've chosen to not LIVE in it anymore. I can feel the gentle reminder that he's still there with me and mourn his loss when I need to but on a day to day basis, I've accepted that I in no way could have been responsible for a decision that was not my own.
In no way could I have possibly known what was in his mind and it wasn't or never will be my job to fix it. He will always hold a piece of my heart as will many other people but how I chose to react is what matters.
I choose LIFE...I choose LOVE...I choose HAPPINESS. No more pain......