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To My Grieving Self: Let Me Tell You Why It's Better You Didn't Die by Suicide

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Editor’s note: If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

I know swallowing pills by the handful was an attempt at killing you. I know all you wanted was the excessive pain to end, the spinning, obsessive, agonizing pain of losing your dad to be over. I know you thought the only way you could deal with the loss of the only true hero in this world was to die and join him.

You survived the stomach pumping. You survived the night in the hospital. You survived the hell that is living with the grief of losing the most important man you’ll ever have in your life.

Let me tell you why it’s better you survived.

It’s better you survived because someone would have had to explain to your little boys why their mom was dead. They would be feeling the same pain you were.

It’s better you survived because you have a mother who needed you. Siblings who needed you and still do, every day. Pain shared is halved. Joy shared is doubled. Now you are closer to your siblings than you ever were, and while that doesn’t make up for losing Dad, it’s something that losing him brought you.

It’s better you survived because now you can joke with your sisters about things Dad used to say, such as following up any statement someone made with “literally.” The pain never really leaves. It still hurts when you think of something you want to tell him, but now it comes with a sweet fondness of memory.

Like a faded photograph shows you what Dad looked like at his prime. The smell of cigarettes, Irish Spring and wood still automatically remind you of him, and you can hear his laugh. You remember the gravelly tone of his voice and the calloused feel of his hand holding yours. These memories are what make us stronger. They make us whole.

It’s better you survived because you are a stronger person for it, who can tell stories with your family about the man all of you loved and adored. You learned so much from him, from his strength and from the earliest memory you have of him to the last moment, sitting by his bedside as he slipped away into death.

It’s better you survived because you are part of your father’s legacy. You are part of his mark he left on the world. You aren’t perfect. You aren’t just like him. You may not feel as strong as him, but he was always proud of you. No matter what, he loved you.

I wrote this because I survived an attempted suicide a few months after the death of my father. To me, he was Superman, and losing him felt like the end of the world. I felt like I lost the only person who ever truly loved me, and I was wrong. Now, now I remind myself every day why it’s better I survived, and why it’s better I keep surviving even when I feel myself sinking again.

Image via Thinkstock.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Originally published: September 14, 2016
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