Grieving for my Dad 40 years after his suicide.
My Dad died “in his car” when I was 6. This is what I was told. From that day on, he was rarely spoken about and no one grieved, at least not in front of me. I was confused and scared and wondered what I had done wrong. I wanted to cry and I wanted to be hugged if I cried. I didn`t know what grief was , let alone how to grieve. I internalized everything and hoped that someone would notice my pain and just give me that hug and the permission to ball my eyes out.. Nobody ever did.
I felt alone, frightened , ignored , unloved and confused. If my Dad had been there he would have noticed and would have cared. I missed him and needed him. I withdrew into my own world.
He was “replaced “a few years later by several boyfriends and then a stepfather. He did give me attention, but of a kind that was wrong and that confused me even more. My Dad would not have allowed this to happen to me.
I always yearned and craved for the love of my Dad and I always knew that something wasn`t right about the story of his death.
When I was 21 , I plucked up the courage to ask my Mum “what happened to Dad?”
Her reply: “ I thought you knew?”
“knew what ?” I asked.
“ he killed himself”
My world came to a standstill, he killed himself. He chose to die. He chose to leave me. He hadn`t loved me. He had abandoned me out of choice. Out of choice. It was like he had died all over again.
I`d had many different fantasies about how he had died “in his car”. But taking an overdose was never one of them. I had always wanted it to be someone elses fault, not his own.
I felt sick , I was shocked to the core. I felt like my whole life had been a lie.
I became depressed , but didnt realize that was what it was , I just thought I was going mad.
I still couldn`t ask for help even though I wanted to. I still wanted someone to notice my pain but they didn`t.
It is now 40 years since his death, I am having therapy and I think I am grieving. Grieving for a father who I idolized but can barely remember, who left me.
I think I feel angry, I still cant understand how you can leave your children. I feel numb, I cant find compassion for him or for myself. I cant cry easily and I still find it hard to ask for help or for comfort.. I still want that hug and I still feel confused.
And the biggest question , that may never be answered is “why did he do it?”