Monday, September 5, 2016

Suicide in the Family

I am a suicide loss survivor.  I lost my father to suicide many years ago, on 31 October, 1996.  I can remember that day, and I think I have blogged about this before.  It was such a combination of emotions.  I remember we lived in Germany at the time, we were handing out candy in our housing community to mostly German children experiencing our tradition of Halloween for probably the first time.  They loved it and it was so joyful watching them be so joyful.  Then my brother called and just said "they found Buddy".  I knew instantly what he meant. I knew that my dad had been struggling with depression since my mother had died about a year and a half earlier.

I had tried so many things to get him help, even had him come live with us in Germany for a while, but he missed home, he missed her.  I remember my brother Jeff, telling me how Dad was found by a runner.  Well a runner was going by the house, and on the return trip noticed that my dad's car was still running in the garage, so he called the police.  That is how my dad took his life, he hooked up a hose from the exhaust of the car and ran the other end through the window and sat there.  I wish I didn't have that memory, the memory of that phone call, but I do.

Did you know that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

Here are some more statistics:
-On average there are 117 suicide deaths per day
-Firearms account for almost 50% of suicide deaths
-Men die by suicide 3.5X more often than women

You can read these and more facts on the suicide statistics page of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

I can't imagine my dad's misery, I know that my mother was his life, he loved her dearly.  Having her taken from him so suddenly just gutted his existence.  So today, in honor of suicide prevention week, I honor my father and his struggle.  The struggle of so many.

Here's to you Dad! I love you!

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