9/10 A Life Experience Lesson
“Write about a life event you had to personally go through in order to have a deeper understanding of the experience.
Death. Death of a father.
This is a tricky one to dance around because my whole life I have had a step dad, but the words, “my dad died when I was 1,” was like auto pilot out of my mouth whenever people asked. So, yes, I grew up with a father I call “dad,” but this whole loss-of-a-loved-one from a time I could not remember was a shadow.
Using these journal prompts to listen honestly to my soul this month has been an interesting process. I couldn’t have predicted that I’d want to discuss the time when a previous lover of mine lost a father to suicide, and I held his hand through the aftermath of the depression storm and debilitating loneliness. I wouldn’t have written about this at all, except that I couldn’t ignore it. There is a part of me that wants to express. In breathwork meditation, we often say, “If it’s coming up, it wants to come out,” and I want to honor that today. I waited three days to even complete this, maybe searching my mind for a different answer to the prompt, but this life experience lesson was a big one.
My boyfriend lost his best friend. I witnessed him, the fatherless son, try to navigate the process blindly, living through a funeral for a suicide, and ultimately, it was a mirror for me —to see a family go through a father’s death, something I couldn’t have really grasped as an infant in my own circle—was extremely emotional. Having never even met this man, I sobbed for days, empathetically tuning in to all the grieving ones around me.
I didn’t understand the broad reaches of depression that leads to suicide. I had dealt with dark thoughts and have self mutilated in the past, but I’ve always had a love for life on earth. Pain is no stranger, but this heavy blanket of “it’s so bad I’d rather end it all,” has never covered my being. I know I am extremely fortunate for loving my body and this planetary life, and I am even more lucky that I respect mental health as much as physical health, such that addiction has not stolen my potential.
But that phone call from my guy…the months that passed in confusion…the ending of our own relationship because he couldn’t risk loving me any longer….the endless tears and talks and ultimate sadness…no one can prepare you for it. I sought counseling myself to know how to be a better ally and friend for someone dealing with suicidal thoughts, and even then, a plan of action was blurry.
What can we say, really?
What can do?
Supporting someone whose parent commits suicide is an incredible gift, at once a burden and a blessing. I was thrown into large spectrums of understanding what it means to love fully, to let go gracefully, and to remain connected by a life event that no one ever wanted to happen.
I also was given an opportunity to mourn my own father. To peer into the world my mother must have dealt with as a widow with two children. I cannot make assumptions; I’m not trying to recreate that wound. But opening it up, peeling back the hardened layers and scar tissue in my emotional body, was a necessity.
I’ve done a lot of revisiting trauma, inner child work, and the like in my practices. I’ve welcomed the truth that I chose to be born to a couple that had a karma of unfinished business as a form of acceptance. My own father had to die of cancer to fulfill his samsara, leaving me alone and searching. My mother chose to carry me in her womb alongside a deep, deep sadness: the future of watching her first husband die.
I walk now with a greater awareness and sensitivity to suicide and death. I step lightly around the topics with respect, but I do not shy away from them. I know I will continue to deal, to cope, to open my arms to this inevitable part of life.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.