My story begins on December 27, 2011, when I received a call from my older sister notifying me that my father had taken his life. The emotions that ran through me are close to indescribable, as I had never felt such pain. How this could have happened, and most importantly, how could this have happened to me and my family.
I grew up in a semi-traditional family in Colorado. My parents were divorced when I was three years old, and I spent my childhood going from one home to the other. I had an older sister whom I always looked up to and aspired to be like, and a mother whose drive and ambition continue to inspire me today. My father wasn’t the most traditional man. Yes, he was hard working, successful and loved his two daughters like any father would; however, at his core he was a man of the 60’s, a true hippy at heart. My father was rarely angry or upset; everyone loved him. He would consistently draw in others. Everyone wanted to be around my father, as his positive energy and audacious personality were an instant attraction. This description and overall picture of my father is how he will always be remembered. As time passed and my father grew older, his life and personality started to change. After retiring in 2005, my father almost appeared to be lost, consistently searching for his purpose in life. Although he remained the fun loving man I grew up with, his overall demeanor began to change. Looking back, I would say that my father started to experience the symptoms of depression. It is my belief that the depression he felt eventually led to his actions that evening in December 2011.
Since my father’s death so much has changed, and there is not a day that passes that I do not miss him and wish he were here. Overcoming loss is difficult for anyone; however, when the loss is a result of suicide so many additional thoughts, feelings and emotions come into play. The days following my father’s death were a whirlwind of emotions. It wasn’t until I returned back to my home in Chicago that the effects of my father’s death began to set in. While my journey will be shared in greater detail through our blog posts, there is one important insight that I would like to share. What I have found is that eventually, you find peace in the unknown. My questions will never be answered, and believe me there are many. I will never know what my father was thinking or feeling in the moments before he died. I will never know if there is anything that I could have done to prevent the outcome. I will never know or understand the depth of his pain, or the demons he faced. What I do know, is that I have been given the opportunity to discuss a topic that has been silenced and help others process and work through their own grief.