Some may or may not have noticed that I clearly have a connection to suicide. I have posted things from the National Suicide Prevention Week, I am a field advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, so on and so forth. So, I thought I should share my story.
A little bit of background… my bio father and my mother married and divorced by the time I was 6 months old. My bio father was always an alcoholic and very unreliable.
My mother remarried by the time I was a year old, but he later had an affair and divorced my mother and me when I was 14 (I wasn’t his child so he wasn’t responsible for me).
My mother and I, on the other hand, have always butted heads. We have never gotten along.
My grandparents (my mother’s parents) were my main constant.
If I was not at school, I was at their house. I stayed there all the time, I traveled with them all the time. If I was not in school, chances were I was doing something with my grandparents. I was very close with my grandparents until the age of 19 when I moved out of state (that is another story).
Regardless of what happened when I moved out of state; my grandparents were snow birds and would come visit me and my family in Arizona. Little did I know that Christmas 2008 and my daughter’s 3rd birthday shortly after Christmas in 2008, would be the last holidays we spent with them. I am fortunate enough to say that I did see them one more time in March 2009 when my kids, best friends, and I drove to Laughlin to see my mother, aunt, and grandparents.
On the morning of May 4th 2009 (a Monday morning) I received a call from my mother (who lives in Minnesota and I in Arizona) informing me that my grandfather had died- he had killed himself. If you knew my grandfather, you would know that initially, it was unbelievable. That just wasn’t his personality. (After much thought and discussion, it was his type. He has a controlling personality and he controlled the situation.)
Without getting into too much detail, he had used a shot gun in the early morning hours while my grandmother was out of the house. Unfortunately, she was the one to find him.
I can’t explain what is like to lose someone you love to suicide. It is so much different than losing someone to an illness, or an accident, or a disease. There was no indication that anything was wrong with him. He was fine one day, dead the next. He made the decision to take his life. My life was turned upside down for a long, long time. At times, it still is.
I believe that everything happens for a reason and I have changed a lot since this happened. I am now an advocate for suicide prevention and I try to reach out to those who have also lost someone to suicide. I did not write this post looking for sympathy, but am sharing my story and hoping it reaches someone else who has suffered as I have. I also open myself to any others that have lost someone to suicide. You are more than welcome to contact me personally. I have met others who have lost loved ones to suicide, I am involved in suicide education and prevention. Going through this tragedy has allowed me to grow in areas of my life I wouldn’t have grown otherwise. I still miss him, but I have tried to put a positive note on my loss and hope that I can help at least one other person not have to suffer through the loss of a loved one by suicide.