By Bill L Bailey
The worst day of my life
I am the surviving father of a son who committed suicide ten years ago today. Still so shocked I had no idea he was thinking of suicide. I remember April 19th, 2006, as if it were yesterday. The sun was shining, the birds were out. We had made it through winter and spring was here. I had just finished work, met my wife and daughter at a restaurant for supper, then the phone call that would change my life forever came in… It was my son and he was upset. He was terribly distraught. I’d heard him sad before, but this was different. As the phone disconnected, I quickly told my wife and daughter that I HAD to leave..I just knew, something was wrong, but where was he? As I systematically tried to figure out where he might be, feeling like time was of the essence, I drove home which was 30 minutes away from where I had last talked with him. I could hardly believe my discovery upon arriving home, there he was in the garage and for a brief moment, I thought he was OK. But I was wrong. I found him hanging in the garage, but it was too late. He was a great person who left us too soon. I watched Adam take his final breath two days later at St. Michael’s Hospital, just after 4:30 pm on April 21, 2006.
This is a follow up letter to my son, ten years later. It is a mix of what I would say to him and I am sure that it applies to many others as well. This is one of my ways of coping with our loss. If you are thinking suicide, please read this to the end, and please don’t do it. Thank you to Mandy and Meghan for editing my words.
If you are thinking of suicide
I BEG YOU, DO NOT DO IT! I know and understand that you may be at the lowest of lows today, and may be in significant pain, but I beg you with all my heart, to please reconsider. I can say this, even ten years later, and I need you to know that I know your pain is real and I understand that. You are in so much pain that you are only able to think of yourself and the simple quick permanent solution to a temporary problem. If you are thinking suicide, please don’t. It is unfair. What you leave behind is honestly far worse than the pain that you believe that you are going to end today. If you are thinking suicide, please don’t do it. Please seek help from family, a friend, a counselor or even a stranger. Pick up a phone and call or text someone. Please don’t make a decision that will significantly impact everyone you know.
This might be your goal, “to show everyone”, to have them feel pain too, but this isn’t the answer. People will remember you, but not for the way you want them to. It will affect people you don’t know, and possibly some that haven’t been born yet. You see the thing is, there are so many things you just don’t know yet. Please don’t take your life and leave your family and friends. Believe it or not, they need you. Believe it or not they will miss you. They will regret missing a signal you sent or something you said. Believe or not, they will blame themselves, and not you. You might be feeling like suicide would end everything, but it doesn’t, IT GOES ON FOREVER!
Don’t leave a lifetime of pain for the survivors
I type this with passion and pleading. You may be in a dark and painful place right now, but please don’t. Times will change and things will become clearer later. Your pain is here and now. It is real, but please don’t. If you end it now, you can only speculate on the future, and let me tell you, the future is just that, unpredictable. But I can tell you one thing for sure, the future is better with you in it. Think of family. Think of me. Think of yourself! You are worth it! No matter what it is! You were put here for a reason. We all make mistakes. Some people have others who dislike them. Some have addictions. Others get in trouble with the law. Some people are depressed, bullied, and some feel worthless. Regardless of who you are, many people feel just like you do now, one time or another! I know you don’t believe me. Your pain is making it hard to see clearly, but you are valued, you are worthy, and people’s lives are better with you here! So, please I’m begging you, please don’t do it! Please resist the temptation to compare yourself to others. There is only one you. And your life IS worth living. And despite your current belief, YOUR LIFE WILL GET BETTER. So please don’t do it.
Yes, it has been more than ten years Adam. We still miss you and love you.