29 November 2019

The last words I ever said to my father

Alec Weston on coping with his father's suicide and why it's ok to ask for help.
4 MIN READ
 

People who knew my father say that I remind them of him. I have his eyes, his smile, his laugh, his terrible yet brilliant jokes, and ironically, his moustache. In all the years that I got to spend with him, I never saw him once without it not even in old photographs. It was his signature style. He knew how to light up a room, how to make people cry tears with laughter, and his ‘dad jokes’ were unmatched.

He never showed any sadness, sometimes anger, but never sadness. I think I only ever saw him cry twice:  once at my grandma’s funeral and the last time we ever saw each other at Dublin airport. That’s one of the reasons that his suicide was so hard to take. How could this man, the happiest person I ever knew, feel so sad and alone that he felt he had no other choice?

It was February 4th, 2013 and I got out of the shower to see a missed call and message from my mum asking to call her right away. I don’t remember much of what was said because I must have collapsed when she told me. I remember thinking, ‘how could this be happening right now?’

Image
Alec's father 
 

I think the thing that hit me the hardest was my last words to my dad, via a drunken text message, was that It sucked that we didn’t get to see each other often, that we didn’t live closer, and that I didn’t want to wake up one morning and never get the chance to see him again (it had been almost 2 years since I had seen him at that point). Three days later, that’s exactly what happened. And it’s those words that have stuck with me.

What I wasn’t ready for was for life to continue at a regular pace. In the year after it happened, I spiraled pretty badly. I gained a lot of weight, I lost joy in a lot of things in life, I lost a relationship with a girl because I was depressed, angry, and drinking all the time. I was unable to control my emotions, mainly my anger, which led to me breaking my hand punching a door. Some further poor choices culminated in me getting robbed at gunpoint and beaten to a pulp in my own home. I needed to take control of my life before it was too late. 

 
“It’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to need it. Don’t push it down, push it aside, ignore it or run from it.”
 

To this day, I still struggle with depression, anxiety, anger. I have dreams where my dad will show up, seemingly still alive, and then poof he's gone again. I contribute that to not really going out and getting the help I needed and not being honest with myself that I’m not okay.

It’s taken me a long time to be ready to start the road to a recovery, or at the very least try to be in a better place than life has led me to so far. But I finally feel like I am ready.

It’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to need it. Don’t push it down, push it aside, ignore it or run from it. And if you think someone you know may be struggling, talk to them about it. We are the frontline in the fight.

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