My Journey After Suicide They say that suicide is the last desperate act of a person in pain. I do not agree. Suicide does not end that person’s pain; it transfers it to those who love them. This was my fate. It was June, 2014 when my father lost in his pain, used a gun to step away from it. It does not matter if you are a child, a teen or an adult. When your father ends his life you are shattered. The shock, pain and fear knock you to the ground and then presses into your soul until you are just shattered. Initially, you go through the motions. You try to accept comfort from those who mean well, but their words bite and pinch. The kinder ones whisper the word “suicide” as if it were dirty. Their eyes show signs of pity, as if somehow he was (and by association, I am) somehow flawed. I try not to look. I do not trust myself. Just under my skin; just past the tears and doubt is rage. The more plain spoken of the group bluntly asks questions. How, why, where? Who found him? What did it look like? I do not respond. I have learned to shrug and move away. Again, I do not trust myself to open my mouth. I want to tell them to get out! I want to tell them, “This is not a movie! He did not do this for your entertainment!” I want to scream. Would he be any less dead if he had a heart attack? Can any of you people see past the way he died and think for a moment of the way he lived? But I remain silent and pray for this day to end. In time people go back to their lives. The food is eaten and the dishes returned. The evidence is cleaned away and people go back to school, to work, to whatever they do. They assume because they are over the shock, so am I and they fully expect me to pick up where I was on that summer day. Summer turns to fall, then to winter and now people are getting frustrated with me. How dare I not fall into place? As if there is some “clock of the cosmos” and I am late. How can I return to where I was? I am no longer who I was. A kid grows up with certain truths. One of those truths is your dad is bigger and stronger than anything you will ever face and he will always catch you when you fall. You take your first steps with this truth. You have this foundation when you learn to ride a bike and when you get picked on at school. No matter how messed up the world gets, your dad will catch you just as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow. Then with the pull of a trigger, your foundation is gone. You are holding on to a twig, twisting in the wind. You know terror for the first time. You know you will never be the same and you are terrified of who you will become. There is the terror of knowing your dad who was your super-hero was not strong enough; so how can you be? You could be in a room with 100 people, but for this moment you are alone. You will recreate yourself. You will have no choice. But you will never trust anyone enough to fully let them close enough to help you. Slowly I pulled myself up that cliff, and found earth beneath my feet. With every ounce of energy I had, I let go of the twig. This is where my journey begins.