9 years ago this month my life changed in a way I never saw coming....back then.
July 25th I got the call that broke me. It was my dad’s 53rd birthday. I was going to stop by his place on my way home(since I drove past it) but something told me not to; call him the next day, he’s probably drunk. Something I didn’t want to deal with. A few hours after driving past his house I was told that his body had been found inside his house. He had been there for days, alone. ALONE! Something I remember him saying to me in his drunken moments remembering his trauma as a child; he felt alone.
By this point he had already lost a sister to a overdose, a brother to suicide. Those both hit him hard but I remember my uncles death was worse. He couldn’t understand how ”someone could be so selfish” and yet that’s EXACTLY what my dad ended up doing; he overdosed on pills & alcohol and killed himself. Months later I found letters to both my mom and I on his computer; he had written them months BEFORE he actually died saying how sorry he was for everything but he just couldn’t do this anymore. His life had been spiralling out of control for over a year that I had to set hard boundaries with him; I blocked him on FB, had to change my number. No family on that side was allowed my number aside from my cousin. I understood he was struggling with his mental health. I struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts but based on how he felt with his brothers death, I never thought I’d be told MY dad committed suicide. All my life all I knew was my dad worked hard and partied harder. In my teens I saw the drug use more. My early 20’s him and my mom fought more but she always stuck by him until he kicked her out in a drunken rage. I was mad at her for leaving, not knowing that she had been dealing with this for 20+ years. Not knowing HE kicked her out. I stayed with him for a year before he kicked me out in a drunken rage. A year or so later is when this all happened.
That first year after his death is a blur. I did things I never thought I’d do. I lost “friends” I thought would always stick by me. I tried killing myself again(this was my 3rd attempt in my life). I was lost. Like this little girl reaching for her daddy’s hand and I could never find it. The nightmares I had after seeing what he looked like when he was found were things of horror movies. I became house bound. Just the thought of going out sent me into a panic attack. I was diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety on top of my depression. I was no longer the outgoing person I was. I became in introvert.
2011 I started dating my now husband and he helped me in ways I could never thank him for. I was the most broken I had ever been. My mental health was at its all time worse. And yet he loved me just the way I was; helped me pick up the broken pieces of my heart and put them back together. I’ll always have pieces missing. My husband supported me when I decided I wanted to go back to school and become a mental health and addiction worker. I wanted to be a support system to someone that felt alone. I felt I failed my dad; knowing what I know now ALL the signs were there but I didn't have the tools to help him. I wanted to make my dad proud of me. I always thought I was a disappointment to him and it wasn’t until his passing that I found out how much he truly loved me and how proud I had actually made him.
Now I try to be there for others in one of the worst areas, the ‘belly of the beast of Canada‘ as I’ve been told it’s called. An area my dad knew very well.
I still struggle with his death, some days I think it’s a nightmare and I’ll wake up to missed calls from him but that’s wishful thinking.
If you or someone you know struggling, reach out. You’re loved, you’re important.