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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A Personal Jag

My daughter was conceived the same night my father-in-law committed suicide. Freaky, huh? I didn't believe in the concept of one soul leaving for another soul to enter the world until that night. October 12th, 1996. One of my novels is based on this with a twist: the dead relative witnesses his family's tragic grief and sorrow. I don't mean walking next to them in some "Ghost" movie way, either. Watching from afar, this man has to deal with the ripples of his catastrophic mistake.

His memory pops up at the oddest times. We were watching "Elf" with the kids, and my husband had tears streaming down his face at the end. We all know that Will Ferrell isn't a dramatic actor, but the exchange about fathers tugged at my husband's heart. I have a harder time shedding tears about someone who will hurt my loved one for the rest of his life. Selfish, I know. I just can't seem to release the anger I feel for him.

Our lives are better without him, but during times like these, I wish he was here to just comfort my husband in the only way a father can.


  • No, you're not being selfish. As bad as it sounds to say, what he did (and what any person who commits suicide does) is the ultimate act of selfishness. I realized that when I saw what my cousins went through when their dad did it.

    By Blogger Jen, at 9:29 AM  

  • I don't think it's selfish of you at all. When I was in highschool I had a friend who's father committed suicide. She was 16, came home from school and found her father hanging in the garage. I wondered how he could do that to his children? They've never forgotten, never stopped wondering if they couldn't have changed it somehow. His actions were selfish.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:45 AM  

  • It's only selfish if you hire hit men to take out your in-laws. That might be crossing the line a bit.

    When my dad dies, which I look forward to with relish, I plan to write about him.

    Some family members should come with toxicity warning label stapled to their foreheads.

    By Blogger Phil, at 2:01 PM  

  • Have you read a book called Family by J. California Cooper? "the dead relative witnesses his family's tragic grief and sorrow. I don't mean walking next to them in some "Ghost" movie way, either. Watching from afar, this man has to dealt with the ripples of his catastrophic mistake." - This reminds me of that book where a mother tried to take her own life and that of her children. The children lived. The woman didn't - but she also didn't move on - she was not dead, not alive, and forced to watch the events of her childrens' lives unfold. It was a fascinating book!

    By Blogger Wendi Friend, at 1:45 PM  

  • What a great post. I am employed as a social worker and suicide has touched my life in many ways as a result. One of my supervisors did it on tax day a few years back. Then, a few weeks ago, one of my clients attempted suicide by jumping off a parking structure...and he lived. It just shakes peoples worlds when loved ones decide to do this. I can't come close to imagining the complete sorrow and depression someone must be going through in order to do it. Being a Social Worker, I have empathy for the victims (the loved ones left behind to live through the pain) as well as the people who "do it" (suicide).
    One of the hardest things I've ever heard someone say to me was what this client who attmpted a few weeks ago said: "I wish it had worked...I wish I was in Heaven now."

    By Blogger ypsichick, at 3:00 PM  

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