I remember as if it was yesterday. A year ago, I was in a bar, waiting for my friends to celebrate Christmas week. I was ready to forget all responsibilities, and have myself a good time. But as many people do, to pass the time waiting for my friends, I played with the Facebook app on my iPhone.
Then, I saw it.
A good friend and co-worker, posted a blog, about his dad committing suicide earlier in the day. I was in immediate shock, and read the entry.
After I finished reading it, I ran outside, and called him up. I knew about a few problems his family was going through, but even with that knowledge, I had no clue what the hell I was going to say. I'll admit that I'm not good when it comes to dealing with death. So I told my friend, if he ever needs anything, or just someone to listen to, he better let me know.
Like I said. That was a year ago, and my friend has posted another blog about suicide, and how he's been dealing with it.
I asked him if I can re-post his blog, for one specific reason. For the fact that I don't know who reads these blogs. But, if his writing can help someone who's dealing with suicide in anyway, let's help out.
My friend's name below is his Facebook link. If anyone reading this, needs to talk about suicide, by all means contact him for advice.
MY FATHER'S SUICIDE: ONE YEAR LATER
By: Jason Driscoll
It's hard to believe that a year has passed since my father took his life. There are some days that it feels like it was just yesterday, while other days it feels like several years have passed. I am a writer by trade, it is how I make a living. So this entry isn't a push to seek sympathy. It isn't an effort to see how many people will hit the like button. This entry is about the last year of my life, and a look at the road back from hell that I have had to travel to try to reach some sense of normality again. It's a story of a young man who went to sleep ok, and woke up to find that he had lost his oldest friend, mentor and greatest champion.
It's actually kind of funny the day I found out my father had died, Christmas Eve. My aunt had called to inform me that her husband had had a stroke the day before and she was unable to reach my father. I attempted to call his cell phone and the house phone but to no avail. Seeing as he attempted to take his life that prior winter, I jokingly said to my girlfriend that he was either still asleep, had run out of the house and forgot his cell phone, or was dead. She told me how horrible that was of me to say but there was always that thought in the back of my head. Then the phone call came. I will never forget answering, and hearing my little sister choking back tears to utter three words that would forever change my life. "Jay, dad's dead." For the remainder of the short conversation I had with her, I was in shock. Then, once I hung up the phone, I remember letting out the most gut wrenching scream I have ever made in my life. Hollywood couldn't recreate the horror and the pain that I emitted.
I came home to Connecticut, in what should have been a joyous time of year. Instead it was a bleak and numb period. There was a massive outpouring from friends, family, people I hadn't talked to in years, and complete strangers who knew me but I had no idea who they were. It was an absolute circus But once the circus ended and left town, that's when things began to change. One of the most immediate feelings I had in the wake of my father's suicide was a sense of worthlessness. There was the burring question of why and how two children he loved so much, and who loved him just as much, were not motivation enough for him to stay. To keep fighting for them. Or his 80+ year old father who had already lost the love of his life and spent the last 5+ years dealing with his fuck up of a youngest, drug addict child. There was a great sense of anger at how selfish he was. Or the sense of guilt that maybe I hadn't done enough. Maybe I was too wrapped up in my life in New York City to call him more or ask him how he was REALLY doing. Or that the night he showed up to dinner with me drunk and high, I should have thrown that punch at him to try and wake up him up. People will tell you that you can't feel that way, but you do.
It is those feelings and thoughts though that would fuel me for the next several months. Michael Cain has a line in "The Dark Knight" that I think sums it all up in which he tells Christian Bale "Some men just want to watch the world burn." Over that time I would make countless efforts to not only destroy myself but everything around me. I stopped caring. I turned to alcohol to not only numb my pain, but also to try and slowly kill myself. I can remember one night in particular where I became too drunk for my own good and ran into the middle of the streets of Hoboken with no caution. A good friend chased after me and upon catching me informed me that I could have been killed, to which I'm told, I simply smirked and replied, I know. I became a verbally and emotionally abusive person to the people who cared the most about me. I had the love of a beautiful woman who wanted nothing more than to be my rock in my darkest hour. And I simply pushed her away and proceeded to do everything to destroy what we had built.
But at some point you hit bottom. And I've spent the better part of this year trying to repair myself and my relationships with those around me. I've gotten better, but there are still demons lurking beneath waiting for the right moment to fight their way out. The last year has no doubt been the hardest of my life. There have been times I've thought of simply just giving up. Thankfully, I didn't. And while I've made steps towards repairing myself, there are still hard moments that have yet to come. I'm not 100% ok. I don't know if I ever truly will be again. It rips me apart knowing that someday when I get married, my father won't be there with me to give me some sort of aged advice like his father did to him. The same goes for when I have children, who I will likely ask me what happened to Grandpa Driscoll. Early on, I will lie to them. But some day I will have to tell them what really happened.
I will end this with a quote. It's not from Hemingway, Frost or Whitman. But rather a good friend of mine by the name of Davey Muise. Davey sings in a band with one of my best friends and penned a line that has struck a chord with me throughout all of this. It goes, "If finding death is happiness, well then my friends, wish me the best." I didn't want to lose my father. I knew I would someday, but not at 25. He lived in a world of pain and darkness. And while I don't agree with what he did, I hope now, that he is at peace and in a place where he no longer hurts. And I hope that someday, we will be reunited once again.
This is the story of my father's suicide, and the
year that I've faced in the wake of it.