I couldn’t stop reading this one. I received it from a grieving dad that lost his son to suicide over two years ago. His words are haunting and captures the impacts childloss can have on a father.
Sunlight comes through the small window of an old camper shell that I now live beneath. It sits on a pickup bed trailer I bought from a friend. The sunlight wakes me. I am filled with a dread that sits in the pit of my stomach, but I am used to it. The dread comes from knowing as I wake that the boy who filled my time, my heart, and my soul is no longer living on this earth, that he died a couple of years ago and I will never see him again. I look outside at the snow-covered landscape and wonder what today will bring. I am only curious, I do not really care. It is very cold outside but I have a lot of blankets and I am warm inside the shell. As I lie here thinking of all that is lost I begin to feel the morning tears starting. I am used to this also. I cry every morning and have for the last two years. Every morning I remember him. I remember all the days of his life, his smile, his laughter. I remember him dying right in front of me. I remember everything. No amount of denial will take these dark memories away. They have come to haunt me everyday since he left. I am homeless now for it has become impossible for me to re-enter the “world”.
Two years ago I lived on a small horse ranch in Colorado where I raised my son Taylor. I had a small but successful construction business and life was good. I was not in debt. Though my son was on his own, living with his girlfriend and young daughter, we saw each other often and played music together. The future lay sprawled in front of us beckoning us toward more life and experiences. We were very close. I had raised him alone since he was five or so. We were one thing. When he was a teenager he used to say that our life was like one big party. I agreed, for those years were the most filled with love and learning and fun. We lived a good clean life filled with a million possibilities…but not this one.
On a beautiful warm autumn day in September 2007, after a terrible argument with his girlfriend, he took his young life. This is as plain and simple as I can put it for now though the story is much more complicated. Since that day I have traversed a long sad road and I have sunk very low. Nightmares have taken the place of dreams. My mind (no longer my own) makes things up as it goes along, making questionable decisions and failing in its quest for sanity. The world has changed. I cannot for the life of me make it glitter again. Life is as dead as I am. I have forgotten my life, and my old life has forgotten me. For this I am glad for I have nothing to say anymore.
I miss him. God I miss him so much. I find myself talking to him as if he were still here. If someone saw me they would think me insanely lost. Perhaps I am, but what the matter? There is no rush to anywhere. Everything is trivial and small. Everything is very, very still. The wind looks crooked and rough where once it was smooth and fierce and straight. Somehow his loss sucked the very life out of the world and left it desolate and shapeless. I was not done telling him stories. I wasn’t done watching him grow up. I wasn’t done learning from him for he taught me courage and sacrifice for it seemed to me that he was always paying a debt he didn’t owe. I miss his face. I miss his smile. I miss his tender heart and fierce determination.
Spring will come soon. I can tell because the ice looks different and I can’t explain that. It is letting go to the sun and I am not ready for it. I am not ready for the light and song of birds signaling that life is starting again. I am so tired and no amount of hugs or love can comfort me in this darkness for the lowest places have found me. I am forever lost in the shock of it and cannot find any place that looks the way it used to. This place is all wrong now. I cannot fit myself to it nor get anything to work like it used to. The world has become trivial and all the people in it are ghosts.
Can this be more than grief? Grief. Such a small word. It is an insult to the thing it describes. I am told that I have a grief disorder. A label for me. I think that’s accurate. I have a disordered reaction to a disordered event. And how was I supposed to react? Oh I lost my son…I’ll get another one. Notice I did not say feel? Doctors are not interested in your feelings, they are interested in your reactions. They don’t care that you are hurt deeply, as long as you “react” correctly.
Maybe people do “move on” shortly after the death of a loved one. They go back to work, to parties, to achievement, to loving again. But out there in the real world, where most people never look, there is a sea of bereaved parents that are not moving on, or coming around. For me, nothing has changed. The pain remains embedded in my chest. I am sure that this will always be what I am left with.
I was a father. I was Taylor’s father. No matter what anyone tells me, I failed him. I failed to protect him. I failed to save him. I was taught that this is what a man does, he protects his family.
I have all kinds of memories. The bad ones I do my best to choke down and bury in forgetfulness but there is no forgetting. They come uninvited and leave when they want. They show up in the sad nightmares that haunt my deepest being. The saving grace in all this is that I love him with all of my heart. In the aftermath of his passing, that part never changed.
Submitted to GrievingDads.com Project by Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove. Jody lives in a rural area in southern Colorado.