Letter to my dead father
Trigger Warning: suicide
Does the pain ever end for those grieving suicide death? Taylor Winters’s personal letter to her dead father explores the emotional impact of his suicide and the past that still haunts her.
Letter to my dead father
January 25, 2020
I’m still here. Ten years later but if I woke up tomorrow and somebody told me it happened yesterday, I would believe them. The year is 2020, but for me, it will always be 2010.
There have been good days, bad days, and better days since February 12, 2010.
As I get older, and I tackle more adult issues, I find myself coming back to your memory and of who I was back then.
Of course, I wish things were different.
I wish you had stayed and that I changed anyway.
I keep telling myself that if I made it through 2010, then I can make it through whatever is happening now, but some days it feels like I can’t. Some days, I still want to join you. Most days, I don’t know what’s keeping me here.
The distractions are starting to have an important purpose. I’m not moving on, just growing. You would be proud, but any change still pains me. I can’t believe who I was then. I still blame myself and torture myself by thinking if I hadn’t reconnected, you would still be here. I know that it wasn’t just because of me, but some days I can’t help but think that it was all because of me.
I miss you so badly.
Caption: “Writing a letter to my dead father has been deeply cathartic for me.” Credit: ©universehearsus
At times, you were a minor element in my life; but your departure caused your memory to encompass, if not the majority, then half of my life. I remember the little things: you trying, your cinnamon smell, your bones every time we hugged.
My anger was replaced with sadness, a sadness I haven’t been able to shake. I tiptoe around potential interests and do my best to avoid any connections – a habit I found out later to be a fear of hurting someone so badly that they leave for good…again.
The nights I fall asleep crying has decreased from every night to every other night, to eventually once a month.
Sometimes I can feel your presence. I’m not sure if it truly is the distance that has kept me from your final place in Houston or the landslide of emotions and memories that would hit me if I returned. I’ve come close, but still have not been there since February 17, 2010.
Every time I talk to a person from my past, they are shocked at my progress; they simply cannot believe who I am now. They cannot believe they are able to have a rational conversation with me and to hear about my plans and my stable environment. Sometimes it’s nice to remember that I’ve come so far. But it eventually only reminds me why.
They say a traumatic event can alter a person’s personality. That’s the only explanation. I try to participate when I can in events that bring awareness to what I’m so familiar with, but it upsets me too much to continue more than a day.
After I emptied my tear bank in 2010, my numbness continued until maybe a year or two ago, when some feelings finally started to creep back in. Sometimes I miss the numbness; it was a protection from the pain. There’s only so much distraction to go around.
I’m going to continue to try, Dad. For you, for my mom, and maybe even for me.
Maybe one day I’ll believe someone when they tell me I deserve something good, and that I myself am good.
Maybe one day I’ll stop feeling like another disaster waiting to happen.
Maybe one day, I’ll be able to say I’ve made a full recovery from your suicide, my own attempts, and that past that still haunts me.
Love your Princess,
If you’re feeling suicidal, or you know someone who is, please reach out to someone. If you’re in the US, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255. If you’re not in the US, click here for a link to crisis centers around the world.
Taylor Winters, the author of "Letter to my dead father," studies film and lives with her four pets in Fort Worth, Texas.