January 07, 2018

A Year Ago...

I have contemplated long over if or how to share this. Words may still fail me, but here I go.

(landing at BWI for the funeral)

One year ago today, my father committed suicide. I cannot even begin to explain to anyone what this is like, as it has been a whirlwind of every emotion. I used to be so naive about grief and pain, and now I am no stranger to it. A year seems to have flown by, and yet a year has not been enough time to process.

It has been enough time to learn about myself.

I realized that if it was under any other circumstance, my heart and soul would find comfort and peace easier. I could have total faith in trusting in the Lord, even if it didn't make sense. Suicide complicates the grieving process. At least for me.

It's not that I don't have faith in God or life after death. That has been unshaken. The struggle, I have been slow to realize, is that it comes down to my processing that my dad chose to take his own life.

Even now, I cannot put any words to it. 

It. Just. Sucks.

It has left me with anger, blame, and countless tears towards my dad. Deserved or not, and despite what my head would like, those emotions have taken their toll on my heart.

The part that I struggle with most is having to turn over this burden of not knowing to the Lord. My brain knows that one day my questions will be answered, but sometimes it's hard to let go. It sounds selfish to say, but I feel that I was entitled to some sort of answers, justified or unjustified.

This is stretching me. And I know it has changed me:

I feel myself being more deliberate in my choices as I strive to put my family first. They are what is most important to me. 

I have learned to slow down and give myself time. That is NOT easy or natural for me. I used to take pride all through high school and college of being a busy body. There was even a year when I was signed up for two classes that met at the same time and I was allowed to do both (marching band and chamber music). But now I strive to say yes only to things that really matter, things that I CAN do with a whole heart, or even say yes to taking a break.

I have learned to not freak out as much. Don't get me wrong, I still struggle with being an over-achiever and perfectionist. I still overreact to my own stuff sometimes. Just ask Nick. But I try to set more realistic goals. And when I am unable to meet my own demands, I try to do better at just letting it go. (Cue in Frozen sound track!) 

Opening up and sharing has helped. It's just as awkward being the one sharing as it is for someone listening. I know that as I have taken the leap to confine in others with this part of my story, it is a huge sign of trust and vulnerability. It's tough for me to share it, and it's tough for others to know what to say. Yet each time I have, it has revealed stronger friendships and burdens lifted.

My struggle will continue, but it will get better. A year ago, I couldn't even share anything on social media because I had no idea how I felt. I was in shock. Now, I am willing to admit that I still don't know how I feel. I wrestle with a lot about it all, including how I wish to remember my dad and our relationship throughout the years. 

 And since it has been a year, I think the time has come for me to take my own advice and finally share some of those thoughts on here. I share this story for me, as part of my journey through it all. And the part I share even on here is only the tip to an iceberg of events and emotions.

I'm sure I will add some photos of my dad below because I just simply can't do a blog post without pictures. As much as I still may struggle with sorting all of my emotions out, one thing for sure: for better, or for worse, this is a part of me. My dad was someone who was in many chapters of my life, and this is my crappy chapter. We all have them, and they all look different, but this little bit is mine. 

And it's only a chapter, not a book.