I must say, this is the first year that I feel I've gotten through the weeks leading up to this day relatively easily. In years past it's been quite hard to deal with. I still don't like May. My dad died and then my uncle died 2 years ago on May 1st. It's not a happy month for my family.
Now seems as good a time as any to finally make a bit of a confession. I finally told my mom about this several months ago, so I feel I'm ready to share it with all of you as well. In the year after my dad's death I was in a very bad, dark place. I didn't really realize it at the time...in fact, I thought I was dealing with the loss fairly well. It's only been in the past couple of years that I've been able to look back and truly see how screwed up I really was.
I contemplated suicide. Specifically twice, as I recall. I clearly remember one night driving home from college and being very tempted to drive my car off a bridge or something. I was so done with feeling lost, angry, and hurt and the giant pit in my stomach all the time. School was equally dragging me down and I was ready to end it all. The only thing that stopped me was that it would devastate my mom and I couldn't do that to her.
I realize now that I did a lot of things wrong in my grieving. Thinking buying a few books on the subject would help me, I avoided talking to a counselor, even though I had ones easily available to me at the college for free. Instead, I talked to friends, which did help, but clearly wasn't the whole answer. Hard to believe I thought I was handling it all so well. The best way I could describe how I felt was that I was in a dark room and sometimes I could see outside into the light through a crack in the doorway, but most of the time I was alone, in the dark. The worst part was that I didn't talk to my mom about any of this at the time. I kept my grieving to myself. We went through it in different ways and I simply couldn't talk to her about dad. It was too painful. She got all nostalgic and read his old letters while I avoided him being mentioned at all costs. I regret not sharing what I was going through with her at the time. I shut her out and that was wrong, as much for me as it was for her. We've resolved this now, but to be honest, I don't think I could change how I reacted back then.
So far only my one cousin and now my mom know about my suicidal tendencies. I reassured them and will now tell you that those feelings are long gone. I'm not in the same place I was 5 years ago. I still feel the loss, the pain, but it's duller now, pushed into the background. I can actually talk about my dad now, even say the word, which I couldn't do that whole first year. I still miss my dad, some days much stronger than others. I wish he was here for so many reasons, but I also know I'm different now because of him being gone and that's not really a bad thing.
I feel his presence the most when I'm taking pictures, I guess because photography was one of his favorite hobbies. I like to think I've gotten a lot of my talent from him and when I'm out taking pictures I sometimes "talk" to him like he's standing there next to me, guiding my shots. This picture was one of those instances. I think dad would've been really proud of this photo. :)