So today is World Suicide Prevention Day.
I've already seen a comment on twitter that it is 'just another day' the implication being that it's akin to "draw a flower day" (a silly day made up for purposes of this post)
The reality is ... for people like me .. we wish that this day had existed when suicide hit our family. We wish that more people understood the implications of suicide. We wish that things were different than they are.
I've blogged about my step dad on many occassions. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know that my step dad was my "Daddy". You know that the bond between him and I was stronger than any blood tie. You know that my world revolved around him.
He was 1 of 2 people in my life who I *knew* gave me unconditional love. (the other being my step mother)
When my world collided with suicide, I learned my world would never be the same.
One of my memories from childhood, well, several of my memories from childhood but I'll focus on this one, is of me coming home from school after a day of being bullied.
Dad was in the garden, so I changed clothes and went out to help him, something I did more often than not. I walked out to the garden and went to what was 'my' radishes. I bent down and started to pull the weeds out.
As I progressed, I realized tears were falling down my face. I wiped them away ... and my face became not only tear stained, but mud stained as well.
Daddy called me to the end of the radish row and then gave me a hug. He just stood there and let me cry. When I stopped crying, he pulled back a bit and sat down. I sat in his lap ...out there in the garden with all those plants that he and I tended to so carefully. The weed piles here and there ...ugly reminders that no matter how beautiful something is, there is something waiting to crowd it out if it's not carefully tended to.
He looked me straight in the eye and without blinking said "Darling, what is wrong?" Darling .. a word he used sparingly ... it meant "I'm focused on you, and only you. You, for this moment in time are the center of my world" (I was an adult before I realized that)
I told him about that days bullying episode. I still remember it, but it's not germaine to this story.
As I told him, the saddness on his face became apparent. When I finished, he hugged me again. He told me how sorry he was, and that he knew that his love didn't change the insults hurled at me by children who were my peers. But that his love was forever ...and their insults would fade ..some day. He was right. I still feel his love, but the insults ... they stay in the back of my mind, in a box ... where they belong. I no longer feel the impact of those insults.
When I was 14, his depression crowded out the love that we, as a family, had for him. His great tenderness ...the thing that made him such a wonderful father ... is the same thing that allowed him to feel the depression to such great depths. In his depression, he felt that we would be better off without him. He was oh so wrong. To this day, there are things that I wish I could tell him. Things I NEED him to do for me. Things I wish I could share with him. Not a day in my life has gone by that I haven't wished for a hug from him.
If you're considering suicide ... please know, that no matter how desperate you're feeling, no matter how alone, no matter how much you think that those around you would be better off ... they won't be. There will be a hole that nothing can fill in your absence. The world would NOT be better off without you. The pain and chaos left behind can only be prevented by your continuing presence in this world. Reach out. Accept the love offered. Let those reaching to you reach you.
No one exists in a vaccum. You matter ... to someone ... to me.
(the link is a poem I wrote to my Daddy on the 25th anniversary of his death)