Suicide – a word we’ve all heard of and for a lot of people, have been affected by. We’ve all either heard or known someone who has died by suicide but what all of us might not experience is the devastation left behind. In February 2015, I lost my dad to suicide. After a long battle with depression, my dad saw no other way out. It wasn’t selfish, or the cowardly way out, as some people describe it, it was something which spiraled out of hand and took control of his thoughts. As someone who recently lost someone to suicide, I wanted to write about what suicide means to me and my family. I want to discuss the effects it has on us every day, how sometimes a thousand words can’t even describe what suicide means to me and how sometimes all it takes is one word.
Suicide is the fear that has consumed my life for many years. It’s the fear of the unknown, the forgotten and the thought of that crippling moment of comprehension when you realise what has happened. It’s like the intense pain which flows through your leg when you stub your toe on the door. The feeling of helplessness as you trip over your own legs and suddenly falling to the ground happens in slow motion. It’s like walking through town on a perfectly normal day but feeling so numb, so hurt and so full of emotion, yet unable to show any emotion at the same time. It’s the feeling of waking up every morning and wanting to pull the covers back over you, because the world outside your bedroom feels too much, too soon and a lot less brighter. It’s the pounding of your heart when the thoughts of everything suddenly come flooding in to your mind. It’s like watching the waves crash against the rocks, each time with a little more force and a little more power. It’s the thumping in your head as you lay in a dark room trying so desperately to get rid of the aggressive migraine that has come upon you. It’s the feeling of being in a room surrounded by people but feeling like the loneliest person in the world. It’s remembering the last words you exchanged, the last hug you received and the last touch you remember. It’s the panic that sets in when you feel like you can’t remember their voice, or how they smelled, or what their laugh sounded like. It’s the words, or lack therefore, that consume your life every minute of every day – words you wish you said, words you wish you never would have thought of and words you wish could make everything better. It’s like that moment of remorse when you’ve fought with someone and said something you didn’t mean. Or that moment you got so angry you punched the wall until your knuckles bled. It’s like that moment when you drove to the beach in the middle of the night and screamed as loud as you could. So loud that you felt your insides tighten. Loud enough that hopefully he could hear and so loud that even the deafening crash of waves against every rock could not drown out what you had to say.
It’s the moments of pure desperation, heart ache and overwhelming hopelessness you feel as you cling to a framed picture, laying in bed on Fathers day morning, with the only gift you hold being a bunch of flowers to lay on a grave. It’s the constant flow of tears rolling down your face. Flowing faster than the raindrops that fell that day. Faster than your heart could ever beat and faster than you could ever come to terms with the tragedy that that unfolded. It’s the anger that builds up inside you for months, not knowing how to express it because no words could describe your feelings. It’s that feeling of your entire body being numb – numb from pain, thoughts and feelings, numb from the emptiness that consumes your existence. It’s the childhood memories that mean so much to you, yet bring you so much pain. It’s like that time your dog ran away, sheer panic sets in and the hour that went by without sign of him felt like a thousand years. Similar to the time that has passed without your loved one, now feels like a million years. It’s like the feeling of hailstone bashing against your skin on a cold winters day, attacking almost every part of you. It’s like feeling so weak that a gust of wind could you take you away and knock you down. Down further than you are and further than you ever imagined anybody could ever reach.
Suicide. It’s not weak, it’s real. You’re not immune to it, nobody is. When it happens, it consumes you. It’s being part of a nightmare that never ends. It’s choking on the memories of their presence. It’s feeling alone in a crowded room. Breaking down in the middle of a busy shopping centre. It’s feeling fine for days but overwhelmed with guilt and sadness for weeks at a time.
It’s feeling so helpless, stranded and hurt. It’s that one word which is suddenly anchored to you for the rest of your life. But it’s a word that connects you to thousands of people across the world. It’s a feeling of overpowering, intense emotion, but memorable and honorable love. A love so strong that nothing could take that away from you. A love that binds you together. A love nobody else could steal. A love nobody else could understand. And a love so strong, that their memory will live on in you forever more. Suicide is just one word. But that one word has changed my entire life. Don’t let it change yours.