The Mighty Logo

What My Dad's Suicide Taught Me About Death

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Everyone is going to lose someone. Sooner or later death will weave himself into our lives and leave a unique, but devastating impact. The only guarantee we have as we hurtle though this fast-paced, slightly overwhelming and exhausting journey we call “life” is…

It will come to an end. For all of us. Eventually.

To some this is a comfort. To others a morbid realisation that is never welcome, especially when it pops into our heads at times when the last thing we need is an unprovoked and unplanned existential crisis.

Everyone plans for death. Subconsciously we make sure our loved ones know just how much they mean to us, we make sure to kiss goodbye and try not to leave things on a bad note. Consciously, we write wills, plan funerals and leave behind letters and inheritance.

We all know it could come to an end. We all have that underlying preparation for the unimaginable.

At least, that’s what I thought.

But I didn’t kiss him goodbye, I didn’t make sure he knew how much I loved him, how much I needed him, still need him.

I left things on a bad note.

Now he’s gone and no words, or tears or anything else will ever bring him back. This will be another Christmas without him, and one of many to come. This is a life without him, milestones he’s missed, memories he’s missed, from a daughter he left.

I grew up terrified of death. I’d lay in bed conquering up this image in my head of how it would feel, what I would say and what I would do once it was my turn to face it. I thought I could imagine the unimaginable.

But I never imagined this.

So here’s something I’ve learned from loosing my dad:

You shouldn’t prepare for death.

Don’t try to imagine how you will cope.

Don’t think about the years without them.

I know it may seem that each thought is an extra layer of armor encased around your heart, a safety blanket of sorts.

I know it feels like you have control, that you can somehow prepare yourself for war when you haven’t even seen the battlefield.

But you can’t, believe me. You just can’t.

Instead, live as if our days aren’t numbered. As if we don’t have the inevitable looming over our heads. Don’t spend precious time trying to prepare yourself for heartache. When it comes it will always be a shock, an unbearable amount of pain, but you will bare it.

You will be OK.

But please don’t put yourself in that position until you have to be.

I spent so long panicking and dreading loss. I never realized my dad had lost himself until it was too late.

Please don’t be me.

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Getty image via Grandfailure

Originally published: February 5, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home