My Dad Chose Suicide

Some of my Dad’s loves: His garden and his gun trophies. I remember this day. He had gotten home from his shooting competition one Saturday. He gave me the camera and asked me to go outside with him so he could get a picture of himself holding his cherished trophy in front of his cherished garden. I laughed a little thinking, “Dad, why do I have to do this?! It seems silly!” I am so happy I went along with that silly picture. Now I cherish it. He was so happy. It breaks my heart that he wasn’t happy the last months of his life.

‘Committed Suicide’ does not sit right with me. I have never been able to say that phrase. Just like we make choices in life, my dad made the awful, heartbreaking choice to end his life.

We have free agency in this life. We make choices everyday. Good or bad, we make them. Our parents hope we make the right decisions. I hope my kids can make good choices in life. But the way we learn is to add some bad choices in this life. We can learn from our mistakes. I believe my dad knew he made the wrong choice but it was too late. Did he just make that split second choice to end his life? He got the gun from the safe, leaving it open. That makes me believe it was quick, without much thought. But had he gotten the gun and tried before? We don’t know. But I feel in my heart he didn’t mean to leave us.

I had a dream within a few weeks of my dads death. I was in the back of the church, singing hymns. I saw him appear behind the chairs. He was looking frantic, scared, and confused. It seemed like he didn’t know where he was. He was rushing around looking for me. While seeing him so distraught, I kept yelling for him, ‘Dad! Dad!! I am here!’ I was now frantically trying to get his attention. I kept yelling for him but he couldn’t hear or see me. No one else was able to see him but me. After a few minutes of us both panicking, wishing we would see and hear each other, my grandma appears like an angel above him. Almost like a portal opening up, I could only see her face and arm reaching out for him. She grabbed his outstretched arm and pulled him through the veil, so to speak. And then they vanished. Like a mothers love, she took him away from his pain. Guided him to safety of the afterlife. She had been waiting for him. It was almost like he was stuck. Frantically trying to find his way back to his body and this earthly life. I don’t think he realized how bad of a choice he made that day his soul left this Earth. Until it was too late.

The phrase, ‘committed suicide’ sounds so cold and sterile. Like a morgue in the hospital. Everyone walking around somber and sad. Oxford Languages states that the definition of committed is, ‘feeling dedication and loyalty to a cause, activity, or job; wholeheartedly committed.’ If I know anything about suicide, feeling dedication and loyalty to ending ones life does not describe the act of suicide! Yes, there are those that think about suicide a lot. It can consume them. I have been there. And I have witnessed my dad sad and depressed. Most people who are suicidal are trying to find ways to NOT think about it. They are trying to find happiness and help for their depression. They are definitely not feeling any love towards the thought of suicide! It’s like an unwanted entity that just floats around you. You just want it to leave. But it has its way of convincing you that suicide is the way to go. There’s no dedication to this awful, conniving entity.

So can we change it to, he chose suicide? I feel like that makes it more personal. In a compassionate way. Saying, ‘After dealing with cancer side effects for months, leaving him malnourished, skinny, and exhausted, he chose suicide.’ Doesn’t that give it some compassion? Or that it sounds like he is human? We are all human, meaning we all struggle and make mistakes. Some of those mistakes are from bad choices. But we as humans can repent and forgive ourselves, learn from our unhealthy choices, and hopefully learn to choose better for ourselves.

I will say this over and over. My dad tried to get help. He tried to make the right choices. But I don’t think he was equipped to know what to do when he had shameful struggles. I think most can relate. I am an open book when it comes to suicide and what my dad went through. But there’s other things in my life that I don’t feel I need to open up about. And that’s ok! But as long as we can have someone to confide in, share with, and learn how to climb these struggle mountains, then I think we are on the right track to making good choices for ourselves. Educate yourself. There’s a plethora of self help books, online counseling, and guidance online that can help us through our hard times. Do it for yourself to get help. You deserve it the most.

Hugs,

Sarah

2 thoughts on “My Dad Chose Suicide

  1. sending you support, love and blessings – my husband’s father also took his own life and I can really feel for you and your family’s struggle through this kind of momentous tribulation. Best of luck and hope to you and yours! ❤ ❤

    Like

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