A year ago today my father took his own life leaving my family devastated and searching for answers. Unfortunately, there are no answers and as I am not close to my family I am left to deal with things the only way I know how. To say that my dad and I had a difficult relationship as I grew up would be the understatement of the century but we really worked hard on it over the years, It really got better for us over the last 10 years or so thanks in part to my dad and his wife Carol's love, respect and admiration for my wonderful Sally. She is a strong woman who helped both of us express a bit more than either was comfortable with but we became comfortable and we began to grow as Father and Son and more importantly to me as Friends. My dad and Carol made great efforts to visit us in San Antonio and Houston but my dad loved to drive like we would do every summer and Christmas break while growing up in Michigan. Funny, I love to drive long distances and just look at the world just as I love to drive around and look at houses like we'd do on a Sunday drive down Jefferson Avenue way back when. Anyways, twice a year we'd head to Florida and visit Disney World and Bush Gardens...back when you didn't need to mortgage your home for admission!!! But over the past couple of years we could see the drive started taking its toll on him. In the spring he called to tell me he wouldn't be coming for a visit see my dad had injured his hip pretty badly and struggled with the pain. He said he'd come in the fall...in September like he did every year. We talked throughout the year and he finally took my advice and visited the doctor but he got no relief from the injections and the "wait and see" and "medicate" attitude of too many doctors, especially with the elderly. Maybe some physical therapy because my dad was active....his whole life he was active and even more active in retirement. Shit, I remember struggled to keep up with him sometimes when he'd visit!!! Take away his activity and his schedule (the man was the most predictable and on-time man on earth) and he was left to a life he did not want to continue living. He could see no relief in his future and worse....my dad was deathly afraid of falling back into his old life of addiction. My dad was a recovering alcoholic (do you ever recover or do you learn to deal with addiction on a daily basis?) The very thing that took his family away from him but he had conquered his demons many years ago when he walked next door to the church that he use to complained about waking him on Sunday mornings after a Saturday night of drinking...he walked in and was Baptized and Reborn. He put down the beer and did NOT pick it up again!!! No meetings...no support groups....no talking about you feelings....he allowed God into his life. I later learned that my Dad was so afraid to fall back into his addiction that he saw no other way of fighting the pain but to take his own life.
So many things have gone through my head during this year just like anyone who has dealt with suicide. Left to second guess ourselves and often wondering if we could have done more.
What I know is that the one unbreakable bond that my dad and I had was the Love of the Iron Game that he introduced me to. So, today and Thursday I have special workouts planned in Memory of my Dad.
I miss you and I think about you often.
Signed, Your Son
Mate I really appreciate you putting this out for us all to read. I reckon I've read this 5 times in the last few weeks, I've not got the greatest relationship with my family and like you, my partner Sam is helping me bridge the gap of...what would we do without the love of a good woman?! Anyway mate, your words need to make it on paper more often, you've got a lot to share so don't wait so long till next time to put thoughts to paper. Kev