Wednesday, September 12, 2012

He Didn't Choose Me

In my 39 years of life, I've really only known 2 people who've taken their own lives.  My sophomore year there was a spree at our high school.  Three guys committed suicide in a matter of months.  I really only knew one of them.  It was so unthinkable to me even then.  At that point, I had had my share of traumatic events and depressing situations, but NEVER had I EVER considered suicide.  Could things really be that bad?  And while I wasn't really close to Larry, we did run in the same circle.  So many of my close friends were very close to him.  I saw the pain they were going through.  It was horrible. 

But that wasn't my first brush with suicide.  I can remember going to the hospital on Easter to visit my father once.  I must have been about 8 or 9 years old.  I remember my mom getting my brother and I up like it was any other Easter and dressing us in our special Easter outfits.  We went to church, and then to the hospital.  It was weird because I didn't remember my dad being sick, but suddenly he was in the hospital.  He didn't look sick.  I've since learned he was hospitalized after an obviously unsuccessful suicide attempt. The years that followed were filled with threat after threat and even more attempts.  Somehow a part of me always knew that's how it would end.

Today is the anniversary of the day my dad chose death.  He was sick.  I know.  He had problems.  But I can't get around the fact that he chose death.  Death over seeing his daughter get married.  Death over seeing his first granddaughter be born in just 2 months.  Death over me.  I know our relationship wasn't always the best, but I loved him.  I wanted him to be happy.  Was our relationship so bad that when confronted with the option between death and his daughter, he didn't choose me?

The last time we spoke was the day before.  It was September 11, 2001.  We were all numb and in shock over the thousands of people that were just killed.  We fought.  How cliche. My last words to him were in the midst of a fight.  I know in my mind that it was his choice, but in my heart, I still feel responsibility.  I try not to beat myself up with the what-ifs.  Somedays that's easier than others.

I still don't get suicide.  It has to be the most selfish act ever.  I have felt the worst pain possible in burying my own child, and still, I cannot see how anyone could do it.  When they came in and told me my little girl didn't make it, yes, the pain was unthinkable.  I literally felt my soul rip.  And if I'm completely honest, I can say there was a moment that my desire to breath waned.  But then I thought of my son.  How could I not go on?  What about Kedric?  What about my husband?  What about my mother, and Dave, and my brother and sisters?  How could I make their pain worse?  Together we would get through this.  I chose to keep living. 

I just wish my father had done the same.  And I wish I could have helped him with that.