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I Don't Think I'll Ever Let It Go..

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My name is Amanda and I'm 19 at the moment. November of 2006 I lost my Dad to suicide and I don't think I am ever going to recover. There isn't a single day that goes by that I can't stop thinking about it and it hits me at the most random moments... especially when I'm driving. I can't be alone for too long or my mind wanders. Every star, every song, every smell remind me of him.
I was sixteen when he "killed himself." I hadn't talked to him in a few months and the last time we spoke we fought. I SCREAMED at him on the phone, so so bad, because he was drunk and being a careless parent. He and his girlfriend had moved back down close to where I live and he didn't even call to let me know that instead of 3 hours, he now lived 20 minutes away. I am so mad at him, so very mad and I really wish I wasn't. I shouldn't have screamed at him the way I did the last time we talked. The last time we talked he hung up on me and it's all I can think about. Anyways, it was November 5 that my phone rang at about 12 at night, which was odd... it was my grandmother who lived in Florida, which was even more strange. I answered the phone and she immediately said, "Amanda, give the phone to your mother." I knew something was up, but I assumed that it had something to do with my dear grandfather. My mom came running out and took the phone and walked into the other room and a few seconds later I heard her start crying and saying, "How am I supposed to tell my daughter that?" She got off the phone and I said Mommy, whats wrong? That's when she explained that my Dad had died. I was in shock, because that was impossible.. someone can't die when you are still mad at them. I was wrong, even worse he shot himself. I didn't sleep well that night and I couldn't function. Since then, I haven't been able to function. I don't think straight.
The worst part overall is that I feel that everyone has "forgotten." I am the only person still completley mourning and no one understands. I am embarressed when I am writing my Dad a letter, crying my eyes out and my mom walks in. I pretend that it doesn't hurt so bad anymore, but it does. Am I crazy? Should I have moved on?
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I’m so very sorry for your loss, Amanda, and I want to assure you that it is the situation you find yourself in that is "crazy" -- not you. Feeling as if you are crazy is not the same as being crazy or having a mental illness. What you are feeling and experiencing is a normal and understandable reaction to the horrible, tragic circumstances surrounding your father’s suicide.

You say that you’re “ the only person still completely mourning and no one understands” and in your mother’s presence you “pretend that it doesn’t hurt so bad anymore, but it does.” This tells me that whatever grief you think you’re not permitted to experience or express is still lying there in your mind and in your heart, unaddressed. If you cannot deal fully with whatever feelings you have, either at the time this happened or with friends and family members right here and right now, those feelings and reactions don’t “go” anywhere — they just lie dormant, waiting to be dealt with at a later time. You say that still, nearly three years after your father’s death, you cannot stop thinking about this. You still find yourself “unable to function and not thinking straight.” Another way to look at it is that your grief is still struggling to get your attention, and you are wise to pay it the attention it is demanding. I don’t know what if any help you’ve received since this happened, but it's simply unrealistic to think that you can manage this overwhelming and complicated grief situation all by yourself.

If you haven’t done so already, I strongly encourage you to educate yourself about the subject of suicide and how you can survive it. Learning to understand and manage your own grief is your greatest power over this traumatic loss. Since it’s never too late to do the work of mourning, I hope you will consider joining a suicide bereavement support network (see Suicide Support Group Network to locate a suicide support group near you) or find a grief counselor or therapist who specializes in traumatic loss and bereavement. (Your local suicide prevention center will have a good referral list; call and ask for a referral to a professional who works with survivors of suicide.)

In addition, I hope that you will read what others have written about surviving suicide. See, for example, some of the many links I have listed on the Suicide Loss page of my Grief Healing Web site. Such sites will assure you that you are not alone in this tragedy, will offer you some very practical ways to manage your grief, and will help you to recognize that if others can survive this most devastating of losses, then you can do it, too.

The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to acknowledge that you cannot do this alone. You've already done that by coming here and sharing your story with us, and I hope that you will follow through with some of these additional suggestions.

I know that with support and understanding, you will make it through the difficult times of outrage, sadness, guilt and longing still ahead, and I hope and pray that one day you will discover that through this horrible tragedy, your own life can be more meaningful than ever before. For now, please know that we’re all thinking of you and holding you in our hearts.

You might find this recent post to be of interest, too:

Dad Dying At a Young Age

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