Five years have gone by so fast in many ways, yet there are the times the pain of missing our loved ones makes a minute seem like an eternity.
I wasn't going to write a post about this date, I planned on going to sleep and wake up to try to treat this day as any other. However, I find myself tonight with the ache of sadness in my heart. Tonight I'm not just Dara-wife, mother, daughter, sister, cousin, friend, or even a representative for Messages For Hope, tonight I am a survivor of suicide loss, as a daughter in law to my father in law I didn't get to spend nearly enough time with. Yet, I look at my husband, his brother, their grandparents, as well as their father's siblings, many other family as well as friends, and my heart aches on a whole other level because they all had a lifetime with him, yet it still wasn't enough. Is it ever enough? No, not when we love someone. My heart aches for Glenn and I's innocent 6 year old daughter who can't remember the grandfather that adored her so much, all she knows are pictures, stories, and a few items we still have he bought for her as a baby, however she's not sad because she knows nothing else, so she smiles and we smile with her.
Most know our family story, for those who may not, I will share. Not for gory detail or to disrespect family, only to show the true face of suicide loss, and ultimately honor Glenn Sr, by sharing our story to help others. Our details as survivors, in our stories may vary however the emotions and the after effects (even five years later) are all the same.
On May 12th 2010 we had a nasty storm, the electric even went out while I was grocery shopping, there was debris in the road, so I called Glenn and said for the night I thought it would be best to stay at my Mom's rather than trying to drive all the way home (we live pretty far out), he agreed he said he'd pack a bag and meet me at Mom's since he had to get up at 5am to go to work at his new job, it would be easier. So he came to my Mom's, we all settled in and went to bed. I say, and I believe any survivor of sudden loss can agree, it was the last night I would ever go to sleep with complete naive innocence. At 5am the alarm went off for my husband to get ready for work, however his pager also went off with his grandparents number on it, I saw the concern on my husband's face. He called his grandparents they asked him to stop by their house before he went to work. My husband immediately said, "My grandma never has called me this early or ever even paged me, something is wrong." We hadn't even been married a year yet, so I tried to comfort Glenn's nerves; "Hunny it's probably nothing. Maybe they need you to do something and they wanted to catch you before work. Call my cell phone after you talk to them." He hurriedly left and went to his grandparents a couple miles away. About 15 min later my cell phone rang it was Glenn, I said hello and all I could initially hear was heavy breathing then choked words came from him that I will always remember "My Dad is dead.", shocked I asked "What?", he replied "he's gone, he's dead", immediately I got out of the bed and out of the room which our 17 month old daughter was sleeping peacefully in her pack-n-play. I got to the hallway and said in complete shock myself "oh my gosh, hunny I'm so sorry, what happened? Was he in an accident? Was anyone else hurt? Where is your brother?" I was trying my best to hold it together for my husband whose world was just shattered. He replied "Nick is here asleep at my grandparents. It wasn't an accident, Dad took his life, my grandparents have been up all night dealing with everything, it happened sometime last night. Please come." My husband is somber quiet by nature, not a lot stirs him but I heard the tears and heart wrenching pain in his voice. I started crying but held it together enough to say "Babe I'll be right there. I'm going to change. I love you! We'll be ok." From there I can't remember what really happened. I know I meant to go to the bedroom to grab clothes to change, however next thing I remember was being collapsed in my mother's living room floor, I apparently was collapsed sobbing uncontrollably begging God for this to be a nightmare. Mom had come out to see what was going on and all I could say was "Glenn needs me his Dad took his life last night. Oh God, Mom he's gone." over and over. Finally I realized Mom was with me in the floor rubbing my back and I could finally hear her, "Dara, baby you have to pull it together, Glenn and his family need you. Billy will take you to his grandparents you can't drive, I will keep Kaylei." So I got ready and started to compose myself. I silently rode with Mom's fiancé to meet Glenn, I thanked Billy, and that was the first time I wore the mask of strength to hide the pain I know all who've lost someone tragically know about. I had to be strong for my husband and his grandparents and family yet they were wearing the same mask. As the day went on more loved ones and friends piled into my husband's grandparents home. I don't think any of us remember a lot we were all speaking to each other but all on auto pilot lost in our own thoughts of shock and what if's.So that was that day, the following days were much the same. Five years out things aren't as raw, the shock is gone, pain is not as sharp but it's still there. This date would mark the first date of many losses our family would endure a total 5 between 2010-2013.
I realize this may not be considered an uplifting post, however it is real, it is a form of release for me, yes, but it's purpose is much more, it's not meant as a pity status, my sole purpose is the hope that it will help erase stigmas and get people honestly asking straight forward questions if you are concerned. I much rather ask bluntly if I'm concerned and be off base, it only takes a moment. Sometimes though there are no clear signs, so you can't see the turmoil. My husband's Dad-Glenn Sr. was seemingly happy, but looking back the last week he had become withdrawn, he also had apparently gone and visited many people he hadn't spoken to in a long time over the course of that last week (which we did not know until people all started saying that he had just come by to see them the week before, at the visitation). These are not uncommon signs, there are many more I now see.
Please go to Messages For Hope's resources, available on this website, to find out much more information on not only suicide, but also mental illness and many other issues such as bullying,through our Mental Health Ministry. As a personal plea from me if you are having thoughts of suicide please reach out to someone, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 there is someone available 24/7 they are there only to help.
From me; please always know you are worthy and you are loved unconditionally I truly mean that with all sincerity in my heart.
Remember, everyday in every way, you are worthy...