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I won’t ever forget the day of my father’s suicide. My best friend, my god son, and I were spending time together. We were at my mother’s house. My parents co-parented me. My dad did everything in his power to provide me with the best life. Because of this, I can say it is a blessing to have been raised by a father like him.
No matter how much my father did, he always felt he did not do enough. My father had the struggle of depression and suicidal thoughts. In spite of this, I always showed my appreciation for his love.
The day it happened, I woke up and felt empty. The last time I had seen my father, my dad had brought my mother and I some groceries on his break at work. He called me on the phone and he seemed okay, but I knew there was something was wrong. I did not understand how to address it. The last time we spoke before he completed suicide, he called and asked to speak to me. He said, “I just wanted you to know that I love you”.
Afterwards, I went home and reality set in. The one person I loved and trusted was gone forever. Consequently, I’d never felt a pain as deep as my father’s loss. I felt lost and sad. There was a sense of disbelief, mourning, grieving, and confusion.
As a result, I had to forgive myself for being unaware of signs, for feeling accountable, and for not accepting the reality of his death. I had to forgive myself for not understanding, for not staying in my place and knowing my role as a daughter. I had to move forward and absolve myself.
As close as we were, my father had no idea of any pain I had but I understand now. He did his best, but everyone has their own perspective, although him and I did not agree at times. He wanted to protect me. As much love he gave to my mom and I, he believed it was never enough. My father removed what was toxic in my life. I did not comprehend all the blessings he gave to us when he was alive.
Fathers who have depression are coping with themselves. At times it can be unseen how it can affect their children and family. It can bring about negativity. It can become more difficult to be open about little things. As a father your children reflect you. A lot of times, the parent is unaware the child has acknowledged their feelings and actions. Especially if there is not any formal communication or comprehension.
Due to depression and suicide being a part of my family history and in my life, I find that I have the inability to escape my own personal feelings. I battled a long time with the thoughts of suicide and the feeling of wanting to die. I had every intention of joining my father because I felt lost without him. Even though he had found closure and peace for himself.
Initially, I had felt that he did not consider how myself or anyone else would feel about his absence. Furthermore, I struggle with that burden. In spite of this, I can say that it was very selfish to think or believe that even those who cared for me would be better off without me. I felt that without my father being physically present, I did not have anything to show for my life.
Subsequently, I began to sleep more or not enough. I stopped caring for myself and was living recklessly. I was going against what my father told me about having feelings. At that time, I did not allow myself to feel anything, I was numb.
Now, I am proud to say that regardless, if my father was unable to do so I still am and I will continue to fight for life. Even with sometimes having no hope, I have faith in my purpose. By allowing you into my father and I’s burdens we carried, I strive to raise awareness on living with depression, and/or thoughts of suicide.
AB Hamm grew up in a small town in Ohio. All her life she wanted to be a part of something bigger than herself. It took a bit longer than most to choose her path in life. After graduating high school in 2013, she explored different options such as going to college and entering the workforce. During this journey, she lost a lot of loved ones along the way and which serves as her motivation to do great things. One day, she woke up one and decided what she was doing in life was not enough. Choosing to join the Air Force was the best decision she made in life which has helped mold her into the strong woman she is today. In doing so, she has inspired so many people to live their best lives. Most importantly, her father is shining down as she starts a new legacy for her family. Today, she is a proud woman and Airmen