My father completed suicide when I was 10 years old. It is strange to tell strangers that. It is strange to say it out loud. It happened and then it was done. There is an emptiness that stems from death. Any type of death. That emptiness seeks out the loved ones left and takes root within them. We convey that emptiness in our grief. We all know that those who are grieving do so in their own way. Some seek solace from God, others fall to fear, there are those who display denial, and then we have some who break apart completely.
Death is an experience that we must all face. It is final and it is unknown. Many have seen its wake and yet it leaves us little details to understand true meaning and aftermath. As a child I knew that death was final and yet final had little meaning to me. I did not understand the loss that I had suffered and I did not understand what coping was or how to do it. No one talked to me about my feelings or my thoughts on the loss I had suffered. For the most part people brushed the circumstances of his death under the proverbial rug. He died and it was sad. The end.
There was more though. I was empty. I felt that emptiness like a frost that had infected my toes and creeped into my very soul. My father had been all that I had known and all that I had adored. His abandonment of me and the way in which he chose to do so had rocked my frail form like a wind battled leaf. I was not the same within yet I was still the same without. Without him and without myself, I was no longer the little girl I had been only days before.
There are statistics. People like statistics. I can’t recall the exact numbers and I don’t care to look for them, but these statistics say that surviving children of suicide are at a higher risk to attempt and commit it themselves. It is a stigma in many ways. We are doomed to repeat that which doomed us in the first place. I can’t deny that this statistic isn’t correct. That emptiness filled me in many ways. It became the father I no longer had and it saw me through many of my life’s moments that he would not see me through.
I was lost and there was no one willing to take the time to help me understand. Perhaps willing is not the best term to encompass them all. I think some were lost as well, and others had no idea how to help a small child cope. Still, I was lost in the middle of a darkened desolate desert and there was no salvation in sight.
I can recall attempting suicide myself several times. I can recall wishing to die more times than you or I could count together. I do not know why I thought that way. I still struggle even today. Saying that emptiness became a part of my soul does not illustrate the truth of my situation. I was dying emotionally and mentally over and over. A fog of death would overwhelm me and I would be terrified of myself yet I felt as though there was no person who would understand or take the time to care. I felt abandoned by my family, misunderstood by my friends, and mocked by society. I was an outcast in every sense of the meaning.
My wanting death was not for pleasure. My craving death was not for attention. It was solely for peace. Peace within my soul that I had never known. I was being held captive by thoughts I could not control and I would not tell anyone. I did not want to be any more of an outcast than I already was. The death my father left me with never truly left me at all. It held itself deep within my heart and slowed its beating as often as it was allowed to.
These thoughts are never gone completely for me. They take residence in my darkest of days and bring images into my mind that my normal self would never bring into light. I cannot control them or quiet their breathing. I can push them aside and ignore them as best I am able, but I know they will never fully leave me. They are ,in whole, my imaginary security blanket that fills me with insecurity and doubt. They are the fog that I cannot see past. They are a need that I can never quench.
I am still here. I am still fighting. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a volunteer, a fighter, a woman made of complications and darkness. In the end I will not let that emptiness win because I will NOT allow my legacy to be one of doom as well.