1. You will feel uncomfortable telling strangers of how he passed at first. Once you become more comfortable with saying it (which you never will be completely comfortable with, just more), people’s reactions will always be all over the place. Sometimes you may even think they are overreacting to a suicide, and then you realize no, they’re not, you’ve just become numb to it.
2. You will never stop wondering “what if” and thinking if it could have changed how things ended up. Not saying that I blame myself, but I also can’t stop thinking of what if I had just called him that morning, or reached out a little more. If I had known then, what I know now, I would have answered all of his calls, every time. I would not have rushed off the phone just to go hang out with friends. I would not have chosen to stay at school to socialize over the weekend instead of visiting home, had I just known the demons he was battling internally.
3. You become extremely sensitive to phrases like “I just want to kill myself” or “I am so depressed” when they’re said in situations that don’t apply.
4. The image of him lying there with blood dripping out of his mouth and the front of his shirt covered with blood, with the gun next to his hand, will never leave my mind. I kind of wish I never looked at those pictures. I will never forget the feeling of the bullet in the back of his skull- just a small tiny bump.
5. I think back to all those times he said things that at the time seemed normal, but now I think he was planning for what would happen after he did shoot himself. I didn’t question why he put all the property under my mom’s name. I didn’t ask why he left me a year’s worth of school tuition for my senior year of college in my bank account, all at once.
6. The question of whether or not it was planned will never leave my mind. I keep trying to make connections between little things and his act of suicide.
7. I always wonder what it would be like if he was still around, or if he didn’t shoot himself in the mouth and the bullet hit somewhere else, where he survived. Would he attempt again? Or would it be a lesson learned? We would get him more serious help, and maybe, just maybe, he would still be here.
8. I have seen how problems he was facing and thought he couldn’t overcome have been solved and eventually worked out. He’s just not around to experience the improvement.
9. Even my good memories are jaded, with the thoughts and wondering of what he was thinking in his depressed state. The thought that he was in so much pain that he had to take such a drastic step, consumes me and sometimes I can’t breathe or see or think straight because I still can’t wrap my mind around what happened.
10. It will always be a part of me. And I will always try and be cautious of my mental health. I know mental illness can run in families, so I will be more careful for signs I missed with my dad. It’s the hurt and the demons nobody sees and you always feel. A weight I forever carry with me, changed and with a different view of the world.