7 Years AD
Another year has come and gone – my birthday, followed by the day I usually dread, the day that my dad took his life with his shotgun 7 years ago. 7 years…
This year it seemed that I escaped the melancholy, until I woke up this morning at 5 AM and tossed and turned, trying to figure out why I was having strange dreams. I finally crawled out of bed at 6 AM to eat some chocolate and drink some coffee. (Because chocolate and coffee make things better.)
Now I sit here, on April 10th, the weird in-between day 7 years ago, when my dad lay dead on his apartment floor but I didn’t know it yet. I didn’t find out until April 11th, two days later. I remember it like it was yesterday.
On April 11, 2014, Mark got a phone call from the Corunna police. My first thought was that my dad had stolen something, as he had run out of money. However, I quickly assessed the conversation as something more dreadful, something I didn’t yet want to admit. I remember yelling at Mark to tell me what happened, to which he finally replied, “Celeste, your dad is not with us anymore,” or something along those lines. I remember screaming and running into our bedroom, throwing myself on the bed and sobbing. I don’t remember where our little 7 month old Adam was during this. All I know is that my dad never got to meet him, a choice that Mark and I made based on my dad’s lifestyle and the fact that he hadn’t driven in years.
So many missed memories have taken place over these past 7 years. My dad missed out on meeting his two beautiful grandchildren. He missed out on birthdays and holidays, and I am left sitting here thinking of the last time I took Thanksgiving dinner over to him and we celebrated just the two of us.
To be completely honest, my brain is a swarm of sadness and anger. Not anger for the fact that he took his life, for I have much empathy for those who struggle with mental health issues and I have major beef with those who proclaim that suicide is a selfish act. Suicide is merely a means to an end for those suffering in their own misery, merely wanting the pain to end. I myself have experienced this longing for relief, many many times. Fortunately I have several tools in my toolkit to help me get through these feelings, something my dad did not have.
What I am angry about is the way that my dad chose to live his life. The way he treated my mother and those he loved. He never sought treatment for his own anger and PTSD from growing up in such a sad, tumultuous household. The anger ascends toward my grandpa who abused my dad and his siblings, not to mention my grandma. This anger sits in my chest cavity with nowhere to go. Just this forever rage, not something I am proud of, nor is it something I can do much about. Yes, I meditate and do yoga, but that only goes so far. I am no Buddha.
What I take comfort in is the fact that I am working hard every day to break the cycle. I have so many resources at my disposal to help me and I don’t take any of it for granted. Between therapy, self care, mountains of books and articles and blogs and podcasts, I am doing the work. I am doing the work I wish my dad had done for me. Since he didn’t, it’s up to me to change the future. The past is what it is. I only hope he would be proud.
This is my dad's handwriting I had tattooed on my left foot, as a constant reminder to keep going.