When anyone you love dies, grief is a natural accompaniment, and with suicide, it comes in waves, mixed with several other emotions. The days following my dad’s death were a blur that included getting on a flight from Oakland, Calif., back home to Kansas City, Mo. I cried almost the entire two flights and seven hours there.
The grief was mixed with a whole lot of confusion. While my father had a long history with depression, not many people knew about it. I had to explain to some of his closest friends that it was a battle he had fought for years. But even knowing the truth, I honestly never thought he was capable of taking his life, of inflicting that kind of pain on our family. I thought, “How could he do this to me? To my brother? To my grandmother?”
Over time, I became obsessed in answering the “why” and “how” — so much so that I called the sheriff who had found his body to ask for the specifics I wasn’t prepared to hear months earlier. In that search, I came to realize that this decision wasn’t about us, and taking myself out of the equation was key.