I've been a lurker on this website for a year, circa. I've never written you, my issues have just seemed too insignificant, but now, I really need an ear. This isn't furry related, I'm sorry about that, but...
If you decide to post this on your website, I'm going to say this to readers- please don't read if you're contemplating suicide, or you're simply sensitive to the topic.
This letter's going to be a little hard for me to write, and a little hard for you to read, so I am just going to dump it on everyone from the beginning.
On the night before this letter was written, my friend's father committed suicide.
Now that you know the gist, I'm going to go into detail, trying to be as unemotional about it as possible. Only the facts.
This friend and I are very close. We're also neighbors, she lives right across from me, so I often hang out at her house. We've been through a lot together. I brought her into the fandom (she's a sassy Siamese), we've shared classes and done work together.. Let's call this friend Carly, I guess.
Yesterday started out normal. It was Sunday, so I shot her a text in the morning, just a simple greeting and a joke. Got up, worked on some homework I procrastinated on, groaned because I'm pretty sure I missed half the math problems, drew and listened to music, cooked some, it was all normal, right? Everything was going alright.
Until I saw the cop cars.
My father came into my room and told me there were cop cars, four of them, located in Carly's driveway. I'll be the first to admit I don't have the best attitude when it comes to cops. My first thought was, 'Someone's getting arrested, maybe there was a mistake, maybe they're key witnesses to something, maybe they're bored and hauled a bunch of cops over here for some petty reason, they're gonna take someone away...' Even with some of the things I thought of, my parents said I was exaggerating. The things I thought of didn't even touch what really happened. There was no ambulance, so I assumed nobody got hurt.
So, after some pacing and worrying, I calmed down and drew some more.
My phone buzzed. I knew that notification sound, it was the messenger I only used with Carly.
I opened that messenger up, and my heart stopped.
"Syntax, my dad committed suicide." (She didn't actually use Syntax, but you know.)
Five simple words.
I knew her father. He'd laugh whenever I accidentally passed out overnight at their house. I'd help him prepare meals. I liked him. If I had to choose a second father out of fathers I knew, it would be him.
So, those five words left me a crying mess for the night. My parents tried to cheer me up, but I wouldn't take it, I just curled up and drew, wrote, anything to escape. I couldn't do anymore schoolwork.
Now, to the day I'm writing this letter. I slept horribly. I did text Carly that my family and I are here for her, always and forever, that our door is never closed to her. She's clammed up, understandably. In the phases of grief, she's probably still numb.
I skipped school today. I do feel guilty about skipping school because someone else's father committed suicide, as if I was just using it as an excuse. I've been crying most of the morning, it took a lot to get up and do something. Eating and drinking made me feel like I was going to puke. I just feel terrible, over someone else's father!
I really am angry at everything at this moment. Carly's father, especially. Damn him for leaving three children behind. I'm not even going to apologize for my language, that man deserves more harsher words than the English language has. Carly's mother left him, and Carly hates her mother, so in a way, she has no parents. Damn that man, how dare he call himself a father? Damn school, I'm going to have to return to it tomorrow, and I still must work, even in the face of all of this. Can't time just stop for a second and let me breathe?
I've tried extending a hand to Carly. She's clammed up, but I extended it anyway. I just really wish I could hug and support her, but I don't think she'll let me, and that stings.
Even as I write this, time's blurred, the colors of my room seem a little darker. My head's cloudy. I did nothing but lie in bed for fourteen hours, probably slept some of that, so I think that cloudy head is from mourning and oversleeping.
My question is, where do I go from here? How do I live on when something like this is facing me?
I hurt for my friend, hell, I hurt for myself. It's terrible. The world's terrible, and it's hard to comprehend how it's still spinning. Since Carly only had her father, she's probably going away. Close family may be able to come over and look after everyone, but chances are she's going to go to a completely new environment, with new parental figures, and I'm extremely worried for her. She's not the most mentally stable, and has considered suicide many times. Will this be the last straw? Please, help. Say anything, anything at all, I need to hear something.
Your raven in mourning,
Syntax (age 15)
* * *
My sympathies to you and to “Carly” and her family. I understand completely what you are feeling. When I attempted my suicide, my mother was very angry at me for a long time. I didn’t understand at first, but I do now. To the survivors, it feels as if the person doesn’t give a damn about his or her loved ones. It seems like a slap in the face. As you noted, Carly’s dad leaves a family behind and has taken away so much from them.
But please note this.
Depression (and the suicides that sometimes result as a consequence) is an illness. When people are severely depressed, they don’t think rationally. The days before I tried it (actually, I tried twice), it was like I was a zombie, living in a hazy dream. I didn’t do my school work, I didn’t talk to people, it was truly bizarre. I was legitimately out of my mind at that time.
I’m not sure what led to Carly’s father’s suicide, but I’m sure the decision didn’t come on a whim; he must have been struggling for some period of time. It’s very sad no one noticed and he didn’t get help, but that’s academic now. Some people are very good at hiding it (I was, too, and it completely took my family by surprise), so, please, no pointing fingers as to who is to blame for missing the signals.
Also, don’t feel weird that you are in shock and it is affecting your life. As you said, you are close to Carly and you liked her father, so it is logical to be in mourning, too. Just because it wasn’t your father doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt (you said he was like a second father, so, yes, that’s painful).
Don’t just assume that Carly will rebuff any gesture on your part. I would, if I were you, begin with a nice gesture, such as sending her a thoughtful card (actually, buy one and drop it in the mailbox to expedite it, or just writer her a letter—and don’t send an ecard, send a real card or letter), and in the card write your heartfelt sympathies and emphasize that you are there for her to talk to. Ask her to email you or call you or text you when it is okay to come over and give her a hug and shoulder to cry on.
Something that concerns me deeply here is you mention Carly has also thought of suicide (this could be an indication of a genetic predisposition in the family). She needs some counseling. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255 and talk to one of their counselors, both for you and for Carly, and ask them for advice on how to proceed in this situation. They are there to help.
Life at these times can, indeed, seem dark. The most effective weapons against the darkness are love and kindness. If you wield them, you can survive this and most any other challenge.
* * *
Dear Papa (again),
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.
I contacted the hotline, and the hotline told me to contact the school. The school has much more authoritative power than me, so I am sure they can handle making sure Carly gets proper counseling and assistance. I am uncomfortable leaving the health of my friends in hands I cannot see or control. Tomorrow morning, I will speak to them about Carly's thoughts and actions, and what's going on, so at least I have power over that. I will most likely request to know what they are going to do from here.
You have a point about my unrelenting anger towards the father. What's gone is gone. I can point fingers all I want, I can point it at myself, but he's still dead.
Somehow, I have managed to gather the energy to get out my schoolwork. Actually working on it is a whole other story, but I'm sure I can get it done.
Thank you again,
* * *
When it comes to something like this, I try to reply ASAP.
A combination of help from school counselors and also your support for your friend is a good strategy. Did the online hotline do nothing other than refer you to the school counselor? That sounds a little disappointing. I might have to look into that and see if there aren't better hotlines out there.
I know it's hard to concentrate. I'm trying to do some work here myself, knowing that my dear friend's mother is suffering a brain hemorrhage and I can do nothing about it. I'd go see him, but I have a cold and am fearful of making him sick and making matters worse.
This is life, though. I could get all philosophical on you as to my beliefs as to why this goes on, but it wouldn't console you much. I hope you will be somewhat comforted by the fact that people do care about you and what you're going through.
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