I haven’t been around for a while. I haven’t posted in god knows how long, haven’t felt the need or had the words. This year has gotten crazy and I was just sort of hanging on – in a ‘I’ll think about that in the new year’ kind of way.
I haven’t even been keeping up with your blogs, really. There’s been so much going on here, people running around being crazy and demanding attention, that I didn’t have the thought to put in to other people’s lives. I’ve missed you, often, but… I thought I’d think about that in the new year.
But now I need you. I need to put things into words and record them and talk to someone – even an imaginary blogosphere – about them. I need a place to put my now.
My dad committed suicide on the 19th. He pulled over to the side of a secluded road and gassed himself. Very neat and polite and thoughtless, just like he always was. It was the day after his 52nd birthday, and two days before the 25th anniversary of him becoming a parent – my birthday.
We don’t really know why. My mother thinks his work killed him. And it certainly wasn’t insignificant. He was getting up at 4 to go in to work and getting home at 11. He was changing jobs, but they were still asking more of him. And because he was conscientious and scrupulous, he did. He put in extra. That kind of pressure is hard to ignore, especially if you’re the type of man he was (was! painful) and don’t know how to reach outside of your own little bubble.
My sister thinks that living with my mother killed him. I can’t say as I think she helped. And to put this in perspective, the last time I lived with my mother I was suicidal. I don’t mean I wanted to commit suicide – I didn’t want to, but I had suicidal thoughts. It was pretty bizarre, really – they were clear, sharp, strong, and completely alien to my brain. But I am certain beyond doubt that if I hadn’t moved out, I would have eventually done it. Considering that he was under a lot of stress, and her way of trying to ‘help’ was to tell him all the things he was doing wrong – no, I don’t think she helped.
Personally, I don’t give a crap why. It doesn’t matter – none of the reasons can be good enough, and none of them will be the real reasons.
I am devastated that my dad was so sad and alone that that seemed like the best, the only, thing for him to do. I am sad and angry that he couldn’t see us there, that he not only couldn’t come to us but he couldn’t see what this would do to us. I work at a freaking counselling agency, for fucks sake! It’s not like there wasn’t things we could do. At the same time, it was hard for us to see any of this going on – he was so reserved and generally locked down that all the signs would have been so internalised. I am going to feel guilty for the rest of my life that I didn’t see something or do something, but I don’t think that that’s reasonable. I don’t think there was much there to see.
I’m angry at him for ruining December for ever. For ever and ever it’s going to go like this. 18th, my dad’s birthday. 19th, the day he killed himself. 20th, the day we didn’t know where he was. 21st my birthday. The day we sat in a restaraunt desperately hoping that he was just off in a shit somewhere and would turn up. Also the day we found out he was dead.
And then Christmas! Hoorah!
But mostly I am just sad. I am sad for my father, that he couldn’t see all the things there were to live for. That he couldn’t get out of wherever he was. I am sad for my mother, who will probably have to sell the property in the hills, the house they built together, where I grew up and my sister was born. I am sad for my sister, who is 18 and still a kid, and who tells me she didn’t really know him either, but that she was looking forward to getting older and being able to work on knowing him better. I am sad for me, who didn’t even know what his favourite colour was (it’s blue, my sister tells me, but she doesn’t know much more than that) who wanted him to be there, in the background, for always. I wanted to get to know him better, too. I wanted him to meet any grandkids he might have, I wanted him to meet propsective partners and friends. I wanted to groan at his stupid jokes for the rest of my life. I wanted to be able to wonder something about science, or how to fix something and think ‘oh, Tim will know that, I’ll ask him’ without feeling like I’ve been stabbed in the heart.
I just wish this hadn’t happened. It’s going to be hard, organising things and working out what our lives will be like. Doing real world things. I want to be alone, and my sister does to – or at least alone together in the house. But my mother is here. She says she wants to go home and be by herself, but doesn’t want to leave us alone. I need her to be out of my space, but I don’t feel like I can let her be alone either.
I am also feeling lucky, though. Everyone is fantastic. Emma came over last night and let me cry on her shoulder for a bit and then pretend like things were normal for a bit, too. My boss has been fantastic – I’ve cried every time I’ve gotten off of the phone with her because she is so wonderful and handling it perfectly. She’s made it easy for me not to come in to work for the rest of the week – unless I want to, in which case she will make that easy, too.
I am lucky to work where I do. Not only do they know how to handle things like this, they will be an actual support. If I need to talk to someone, I won’t even have to make a counselling appointment – in fact, I’ll probably be fending them off with sticks! Except I won’t, because they’ll all be very respectful. I’ve had friends and friends of friends offer me their time, their ears, their food, their cars, anything I need. And I know they all mean it, too. I can’t tell you how much that means to me – right now, and in general. To know I have this great network of people, people who want to help and who, more importantly, I wouldn’t mind having help me… that’s something I haven’t had before, that I have found in the last few years. And I am so supremely grateful for it. There are no words.
I do feel a little weird blogging about this. I’m not entirely sure what the ethics of it are. But I don’t care. I need to. My mother is ringing around, I guess this is my version of that. I hope I don’t bum out anyone’s Christmas too much.
Goodbye, daddy. We will always miss you.