My Father's Suicide

I was five when I found my father’s lifeless body sprawled across the floor of his study. I didn’t understand he was dead. I was just a child.

In the end I gave up.

Some might say I’d attempted to accomplish too much. A few might have even seen just how lonely I really was, but those weren’t words or sentiments I was going to hear.

In fact, I wondered if I’d hear anything at all before the bullet emptied my skull.

A long pause now, and I’m surprised to find myself sweating. It runs down my face, drops falling from my chin and onto the note in front of me.

I hope they won’t be mistaken for tears.

My reasons are irrelevant. All that matters now is the press of cold steel against my face and the will to end this suffering.

A click, or perhaps a bang. I wasn’t sure. Maybe I’d hear nothing…

I was five when I found my father’s lifeless body sprawled across the floor of his study. At the time I was too young to understand how my mother’s needs contributed to the burdens he carried in providing for us. All I knew in the world was his big warm hands and the love I felt every time he hugged me or my brothers.

The police found me curled up on his chest, crying uncontrollably. I didn’t understand that he was dead. I was just a child. I thought I could somehow warm his hands in mine or wake him by kissing what the gun had left of his face, but I could not.

My childhood ended that day, and with it a part of me I’ve never gotten back. I couldn’t wake him. Instead I learned what death was before I’d even begun to discover life.

For most of my life I wasn’t able to understand why my father chose to take himself away from us, rather than taking us away from a world he felt had abused his kindness and generosity. But irony is a vicious beast, and at forty I find it constantly at my heels.

All I do is work to provide for a beautiful wife who never has time or interest in me. I have three wonderful boys I’m never able to see, and in the midst of it all not a soul to turn to. My only comfort is that I have at last come to understand the burdens of my father and the sorrow he carried. I just wish he were here to hold me and to comfort me.

It’s not the first time I’ve wished he were here, but it will be the last.

Maybe I’ll hear nothing…

Author's Note:

This is a fictional piece of writing. It has nothing to do with me or anyone I know personally. Rather, it's about the large number of 40 year old men who kill themselves each year. It's also about the service men and women in America who struggle with PTSD. 22 of them commit suicide each day in America.

Visit the website of Platoon 22 to learn more and help someone in need.

Image Credits: Stephen Robinson / Creative Commons License