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When I Imagine What My Dad Felt Like Before He Died by Suicide

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Dear Dad,

I can’t imagine how it felt to be so sad, depressed and alone. I can’t wrap my head around what your mind was telling you, or what your heart wasn’t. I spent the first year of your absence angry. I resented you, hated you and I didn’t bother trying to think of what you went through. I was so consumed with my present feelings. As time went on, and another year passed, I prayed a little more. I tried talking to you, but it seemed like you weren’t ready. You may never be ready, but I want to let you know something.

I thought about you every single day since you’ve been gone. Every day I have tried to think about what it must have been like, what it felt like. Sometimes I think about it long enough for me to feel it. I start feeling the sadness and loneliness.

When I try to put myself in the same mindset you were in, the same life you were living, I think of myself in a box. In this box I cannot move. My legs, my arms and my entire body have to remain still as this box suffocates me.

I see the sides of the box getting tighter. Everyone once in a while they make room for me to move, but then something happens, something small or big, and they tighten up again.

I think those feelings were what depression may have been like for you, Dad. You were in a box and couldn’t move. I think of it like you were in your own personal hell and you weren’t sure what you did to deserve it. I feel like depression is living in a box, and you just wanted out of it.

I imagine one day, you heard a voice outside of that box. It said there’s a way out. It told you to get out of the box and it will all be over. It said the other side is so much better! There are no boxes on the other side.

I imagine you listening to the voices.

I imagine the box getting rather large when you got to see me or your son, and you probably stopped hearing the voices for a while.

Then we stopped seeing you, and I imagine the voices got louder. You just wanted to get out of that stupid box, right Dad?

It’s at this point I stop. This is as far as I get with understanding your illness. I don’t know what it may have been like in that box, and I pray I never do. However, I do know what it feels like to love someone so much you would do all you can to protect them.

I know there are options, other ways to get out of the box.

But where does that leave me?

Now that box is vacant, looking for someone new to suffocate. Now that you’re gone, sometimes I feel like visiting the box. I worry my brother may visit the box one day. I worry he will find the same way out you did. I worry he will hear those voices one day, and be just like his father.

If I ever get close to visiting, or if I ever see my brother show the same signs you did, I’ll seek help.

I’ll talk out loud. I’ll drive myself to a counselor when I’m feeling down, and I won’t resort to drugs or alcohol for a temporary fix. I’ll make sure your son speaks to me instead of isolating himself. I will make sure we can work on whatever he is feeling. I will do for him what I should have done for you.

I will face it head on and I will not get in that box. I will not allow it to suffocate me or your son like it did you. As much as I miss you, I refuse to visit you.

I love you, and I always will,

Your baby girl

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

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Originally published: May 28, 2016
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