He Did Not Give Up

My dad’s last writing

I took this picture when searching the house for answers. There has got to be a note left or something in the house letting us know he was planning this. We needed answers! Found nothing of that sort. What I did find was that my dad tried hard to get help. He didn’t give up.

About an hour after I got the dreaded phone call that my dad was gone, I left my house in Nevada before the sun came up. I had my baby with me and countless energy drinks, water, and jerky to keep me awake. I was running on adrenaline during the 8 hour drive to Arizona where my family lived. My mom wanted me to fly, she worried about me driving by myself with my 6 month old. I reassured her I was fine and I that I just wanted to get there. Whenever I stopped to get gas or tried to find a decent place with a changing table, I felt like, ‘how is life moving on? How are these people shopping, smiling, and going about their day?’. It was so bizarre the feeling I had. That my life shut down and everyone around me is moving on with life. I was in slow mo.

That day was a blur. We stayed in the front room for most of the day. Not daring to navigate to my dad’s bedroom where it happened.

The next day or so, I started to desperately search for answers. I took a picture of what my dad left on the table, everything in place. His glasses were set down like so, his paper and pen were put down where he last touched it, the night before. I read the note he left. I cringed. He wrote down some of the medications I told him about.

As a back story, my dad was not a man of patience. He wanted things done then and there. He didn’t wait. So to appease him and to maybe provide him with some assurance, I researched medications that could be used for men that have hot flashes from cancer hormone therapy. I remember feeling that I may have just made a mistake after I told him there might be some medications he could take for it. He demanded the names and wrote them down, asking me over and over for the correct spelling. I knew he was going to bring it up to the doctor. He was an adamant man at times, so I can only imagine how painful that conversation with his doctor was. He was demanding meds and the dr didn’t want to give it to him.

Another medication that I told him about in our last conversation, 3 days before he died, was an anti depressant. I told him about Zoloft and how it has worked well for me for years. I told him he was depressed and that this could really help him. However, he was worried about the side effects. He already had side effects from the hormone shots (awful hot flashes). He didn’t want to add anything else he would have to deal with. I told him there are little to no side effects. But like the note shows, he wrote ‘no’ and didn’t want to ask for it from his doctor.

My dad had called his doctor on Christmas Eve wanting to get these meds. The doctor said that these medications probably wouldn’t work for him, and then proceeded to give my dad tips on how to deal with hot flashes. I don’t think the doctor could hear the despair in his voice. After that call, my dad immediately called me and said there’s nothing the doctor could do. He was so very depressed and sounded like all hope was gone.

My dad had circled 2 dates on his note. 12-26 and 12-27. These dates were the days my sister could go to the doctor with my dad to see what other options could be done to help relieve my dad’s pain. He had the number to call to make the appointment. I don’t honestly know if he called the doctor to set up an appointment. By the time 12-27 came around, he was gone. He couldn’t wait any longer. The last call with his doctor just really defeated him. Hope was lost.

My dad tried so hard to get help. He talked with friends who had prostate cancer and dealt with some of the same issues. He went to the hospital a few times in pain. He called his doctor because he had enough. He just could not take another day suffering.

My dad did NOT give up. He tried so hard to get help and to feel better. His impatience took over. His suffering blinded him. He couldn’t bear the pain he was going through. It’s takes bravery to reach out for help. It also took bravely to end his life.

I know he didn’t want to end his life like that.

I know he loved us with all his heart.

I know he didn’t want us to deal with the after effects of his death.

I know he didn’t want us to go through the trauma of it all.

I know he didn’t want us to become depressed.

I know he didn’t want us to suffer.

It’s hard to rehash the feelings and emotions attached to my dads death. Its hard to navigate these emotions while still trying to be a good wife and a good mom to my 7 children. I feel like a failure most days. But I am not giving up. This momma might take a break from writing and anything to do with suicide. But that’s how I might heal. The journey on this complicated grief coaster is not easy. So do what is best for you!

Hugs,

Sarah

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