This May marks a decade since my stepdad died from suicide. Ten years feels wholly like too little time and too much, all at once - it feels like it just happened but also like it happened to a completely different person. Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 40, and I feel like it’s my duty to talk about my step dad and his depression - so that other men don’t feel like they need to suffer in silence, and know what treatments are available to them. On the flip side, I want to help educate people so they know how to speak with kindness and without judgement when confronted with a man who is emotionally suffering. That’s why this project was so important to me.
1. Your guilt is normal but your brain is lying to you.
Guilt is a normal part of death, especially with suicide. But your brain is lying to you. There's nothing more you could have done, and you're not to blame.
2. Time moves quickly.
Before you know it, it will have been a decade since they died. It will feel like yesterday and simultaneously like it never happened, that the person who went through that maybe wasn’t you.
3. The way you grieve will be different from everyone around you.
There is no one way to grieve, and no one person grieves in the same way. It’s okay to feel alienated and that you’re not “doing it right”. Everyone else is in the same boat.
4. You will never truly heal. And that’s okay.
Healing isn’t a clear trajectory and the innocence you lost won’t be restored. You might not be a better person because of it, but you’re definitely a stronger person.
5. It gets better. And then it doesn’t.
You might go years feeling like you’re over the other side, and I promise you will get over the worst of it. But when the hill dips and you have to walk down it - just know you’re not alone, because death isn’t a full stop it’s an ellipsis.