Leora & her grandpa

Leora & her grandpa

Dear Dad,

Yesterday marked three weeks since we said our final goodbye at your funeral. I miss you. I miss your voice. Throughout my day there are those moments when it hits me, I will never see you again. I will never talk to you again. I will never get to hug you again, hear you laugh, see you smile. And when it hits me it is like a punch in the gut.

I started going to a support group dad. Survivors of Suicide, that is what we are called now. I shake my head in shock and disbelief simply at the words, at the very notion that we can call ourselves that. But we do.

When I sit in that room, surrounded by others who have lost a loved one to suicide, I find some comfort. The comfort of being among people who know, truly know, the loss, the pain, the struggle, the sadness and the shock of losing someone who mattered so deeply to them, to mental illness & suicide. It helps me to know that the things I am feeling, experiencing are “normal”, if one can truly call any of this “normal.” I suppose it is our “new normal.”

I cry a lot, I sit and listen, and I get to talk about what I am feeling with no guard up, no need to soften or hide the rawness of my grief. Most people don’t like to witness grief in it’s rawest form, it makes them uncomfortable. But there, among my fellow survivors, my grief can come out unfiltered.

Dad, I read a quote from Anderson Cooper that said, “That is the thing about suicide, try as you might to remember how a person lived his life, you always end up thinking about how he ended it.” I hope that’s not true Dad. I truly do. But, here’s the thing… right now, it is. It is the truth I confront daily and it’s hard dad, so very, very fucking hard.

I need to tell you something dad. The hardest piece for me in this last week, has been this…

Your last months on this earth were not happy ones. Yes, you had moments of happiness, but they did not linger. You were struggling, suffering. You died sad daddy. There was no last fantastic & happy hurrah for us to savor. It had been a long time since we’d seen you smile, since we heard joy or even contentment in your voice.

You died alone dad. I struggle with that so much. There was no one there to hold your hand. There was no one there to wipe your tears. There was no one there to tell you not to be afraid.

You died with no goodbyes. No final moments for us to tell you we love you.

That is the part that cuts me the deepest as the shock wears off dad. You were in emotional pain, you died alone, and we did not get to say goodbye.

And dad, here is one more of the most difficult truths I grapple with. I know your death was not a peaceful one.

So dad, I hope Anderson Cooper isn’t right. I hope in time, I’ll be able to think of you and reflect on happier times. I believe that if I travel through this grief openly & honestly, hard as it is (and it is fucking hard dad) I’ll find that in time, happier thoughts come to mind. That I’ll begin to smile through the tears, and even be able to smile without them when I think of the journey we shared, the lessons we learned, the hardships we endured, the battles we fought and above all…. the love we shared as father & daughter.

I miss you dad. I miss you so fucking much. And I hate the way you died… I just hate it.
You deserved so much more than that. We all did.

Yael  and her grandpa

Yael and her grandpa