When I started writing A Letter to Fathers Considering Suicide in the Digital Age, I knew that there were no good days for a father to commit suicide. I quickly realized that there were not any good days to discuss suicide. I eventually published on my mother and step-father’s 25th wedding anniversary. I could have waited another day. I love my mom and my step-father, but every other day is horrible. Yesterday was the birthday of one of my father figures who I talk to regularly, including every Father’s Day. I could have posted on the 22nd, but 22 reminds me of Taylor Swift (which reminds me of my daughter), and I did not want to ruin any more music. I could have written on the 20th, but there was an event honoring my father’s good friend. I could have posted on Mother’s Day, or my birthday (the 16th), or my son’s birthday (the 10th)… I could have written on Sunday, but who wants to ruin Sundays? And so it goes…
After a while, remaining quiet becomes a habit. The habit becomes the “secret behind the secret” that led to much of my madness. I had not intended to become crazy; it just happened. I became confused, almost like the visual message above. Instead of standing naked and exposed in the middle of the street, my message became “Holy Junk King.” I could not distinguish myself from my surroundings.
Some of my confusion was understandable. Someone was hacking my computer. I watched someone access my Facebook account the night before the convention. I found messages sent from my account. I knew someone was sending me messages after I asked them to stop. Someone has threatened me with a civil harassment suit and told me that we would have no further communication AND THEN the same “person” sent another message requesting money for their classroom. But that does not explain why I started seeing yellow roses and thinking about the state of Texas and my father’s birthplace (Overton, Tx).
I put my camera away for more than a week. This is my first photo as a 45 year old. I am almost normal again. As soon as I started writing the list, I could feel the pressure release. For a first draft, “the letter” is pretty good. Next time, I will include something about how I have trouble distinguishing between “random acts of kindness and “random behavior.” Since I was in an auto accident April 18, 2012, I have experienced more random events than usual and I have struggled.
I also wanted to acknowledge that there are many organizations that support families who experience loss. While searching for the Peace, Love and trilogy, I found Peace, Love and Happiness. If you can trust the internet, Peace, Love and Happiness is a charity motorcycle ride to support first responders. When I was a child, I do not recall there being such an organization. My father carried the casket for his best friend. When my father crashed his motorcycle while on patrol, two fellow officers carried him into our home as if he were a mummy. (I was probably four or younger; it was one of my first memories.) The Peace, Love and Happiness motorcycle ride is one of the charities supported by John Paul DeJoria’s Peace Love and Happiness Foundation. DeJoria started Paul Mitchel. I believe he was one of the founders of The House of Blues. As people give back, we seem to be learning how to help those who experience trauma. I have also been helped by many people the last several years. I am grateful.
I am even grateful that I have come this far. On Wednesday night I decided to watch some entertaining television, so I turned on the season finale of Nashville. (Nashville was also the site of my second JEA Convention.) SPOILER ALERT!!! The season finale included more Murder/Suicide by a parent, embezzlement, marital problems, confusing adoption parent story, alcoholics anonymous gone bad, and a car crash. In other words, my last several years. There was also a digital photo card ruined by the garbage disposal (I have only had someone hack my computer) a CMA Award for best artist (got me there) and my adoption story is pretty bland.
Maybe I should just watch True Blood, Vampire Diaries and Dexter so that people do not think that I obsess about death.
But seriously, to everyone who stood by me, even those who watched curiously as I fell to pieces, thank you for being in my life.