My Dad committed suicide.
The news that Anthony Bourdain committed suicide, following closely on the heels of the Kate Spade announcement has got me a little melancholy this morning. And, it’s got me thinking about my Dad, and my relationship with him.
This was a man who was all about love. He was joyful, and a hugger. Goofy and embarrassing. He gave me my sense of humor, and gave me everything he could within his means.
But, he wasn’t perfect. He was prone to mood swings, and just didn’t act with common sense sometimes. For me, the final straw was his breakup with my Mom. To this day, I really don’t know all of the details, but I unquestionably placed the onus on him. I shut him off and stopped talking to him. While I let him have a few brief interactions with my young kids, our relationship was almost nonexistent.
It’s one of the biggest regrets of my life. I don’t know what he was going through, but my Dad was clearly in a bad place. He took his life, and I don’t know why – other than a note that I read once and never want to read again.
I don’t think I could have prevented his choice. But, I could have been more loving and comfortable in my relationship with him. I could have forgiven him (and arguably myself) for whatever sins I believed he committed. Most importantly, my kids could have known this glorious man, and known the love that he could give. And his goofiness.
So, when one of my friends tells me that they aren’t speaking with their parents, I tell them about my regrets and encourage them to reach some kind of resolution. I try not to sound preachy, but if I’ve done that to anybody, I apologize. It just stinks not having that relationship with a man that I once adored, and I don’t want my friends to have the same regrets.
I’ve got no words of wisdom for those affected by suicide. It’s terrible. Everybody will say: “Get help before it happens.” But, it’s never that easy when you’re trying to influence another human being. We can’t control the inner forces that cause loved ones to make this terrible decision. But, we can try to have a meaningful relationship with them, and love them – even if that’s not enough to save them from themselves.
I miss my Dad.