Disclaimer: (I know, always with the disclaimers! I’m just trying to protect you from the big, bad world of life gone wrong.) If the “F” word makes you wince, if other people’s pain scares you and if you don’t know how to handle hearing really stupid life stories about how life can take some pretty terribly horrific turns, well, consider this your very strong warning to stop reading now…it’s been “a day.” And if I normally “don’t hold anything back,” well, tonight is gonna be an absolute throw down.
So, through the course of this and that and all the shit that follows life after a suicide occurs, I have known that one day I will have to dish my innocent, precious babies the cold, heartless truth that their daddy hung himself. They know that he “hurt himself really badly and died…and he chose to die,” and the god’s honest truth is I thought that would “hold them over” for at least a couple of years. I was naively wrong. It actually needed to happen months ago. Before you all go up in arms about child-appropriateness, timing, waiting “till their ready,” and everything else I threw at the 5 different child therapists I’ve consulted, I’ll teach you what I now know. They need the truth. The cold facts. If they don’t get it now, they will grieve what they perceive surrounds his death instead of what it really is. If they carry on without knowing, they will have to re-grieve the truth of his death when they find out. And that, my friends, is one of those- over my dead body will they have to rehash anything on accord of ME being too chicken to face the fucking horrible reality of my life and theirs-kind of moments. So, today I decided I must sit my two, innocent, bright-eyed, beautiful, thriving, lively children down at some point in the next 2 weeks to let them know that, not only is their daddy dead…he hung himself.
I already have PTSD from having to orchestrate the whole “breaking the news” ordeal of his death to them, and now…round fuckin’ 2. I cannot imagine having to tell your child anything worse than what I am faced with (perhaps there are worst things, but I’m right in the middle of the biggest adult-sized tantrum you can imagine, so naturally, I cannot think of another situation being worse). How, I mean, HOW do you walk into a moment where you are knowingly traumatizing yourself and even worse, the 2 most precious things in the world to you? How do you do that?! I am constantly calculating worse/worst case scenarios: should I tell them before they go to gymnastics (their favorite thing in the whole world) so they have something “positive” to distract them after the dose of reality I shove down their throats or will that ruin the best thing in their life right now and possibly forever? How am I supposed to know? It all feels like a lose/lose.
I just made an observation the other morning: Man, I haven’t cried in a few weeks…the tears must have weaned away. That’s kind of nice. Well, guess what? That thought bit me in the ass hard this week. I have cried my ever loving eyes out for days, and then today. Today. Today I settled within myself to do such an unthinkable thing, I don’t even want to know it, talk about it or bring it anywhere near my children. They are my world. I bend my life inside out for them, to make sure they know every day that they are loved and cherished, wanted and cared for. So, doing what I’m about to do makes absolutely NO sense. I risk everything here. I risk breaking their hearts, crushing their spirits and worst of all, losing my heart connection with them, which is what I have given everything in life to maintain since the day they were born. And, here I am, actually considering giving it all up, for what? Truth? Fuck the truth. Fuck suicide. Fuck this whole thing. I hope, oh God, how I hope, that people who suffer from any silent disease will read my words and try to find more fight within or outside of themselves to NEVER take their own life. Even if you think not one single person on this twirling, swirling world would notice your disappearance, I assure you with one thousand percent certainty: at least ONE person will notice, and you will literally fuck up at least ONE person’s life. So, if nothing else motivates you to get help, please, let that.
The shockwave of Tyrel’s suicide is miles and states and continents long. He had no freakin’ clue anyone would notice or care…well, we do. And his family, friends, students, and his babies and me are left to scramble to pick up the broken pieces of the “bomb” he lit himself up with. We all have limbs, organs, and pieces of us missing now. There is shrapnel everywhere. Worst of all, my children, his mother and his sister. Let me make this even more clear than it probably already is: a person is not something one just simply “gets over.” There is no getting over this. There is only moving through it. And holy God almighty, it is nothing close to doable. I can’t. All I’m doing is trying my best to love my kids in this moment and keep those hearts open to me.
So, as you kiss your babies, your parents, your siblings, your spouse or whomever you love goodnight tonight, just remember how fucking precious their life is to you. Do not hold a sweet word, a gentle hug, a loving touch or wink of the eye back from expressing.
While you put my very wise words into action, I will continue to scoop leftover mashed potatoes into tupperware and wipe tears and snot off my face with a dishtowel (you may or may not want to accept a dinner invitation from me after this). This is never what I imagined being a parent would entail, but guess what? You have to man up when shit breaks the fucking fan. But seriously, maybe I should plan a beach vacation a few days after I drop the bomb Tyrel handed me to pass along to our children.
I do believe I have moved into that one stage of grief they call anger.
As always, if this particular sequence of words moved you in heart, mind, soul or spirit, please follow my DrinkerBelle Blog and FB page, comment, and share the post. My story is not just for me, and neither is yours. #everymindmatters
Hashtag #everymindmatters and share this blog, your story, or how you’ve seen mental illness. Join the fight against ostracizing those who suffer where you can’t see. Let’s learn how to create a safe place in our society for truth, help and support. We are not alone.