It was such a horrible finish to the weekend. During family weekend at the University of Evansville to see my oldest, the last thing we did was see a play put on by the theater department. It had a scene that showed the moment of the suicide of a father from the point of the moments before it happened to the moment it did. During the scene, it also showed the reactions and thoughts of his daughter at the age of 10, 19 and 43 portrayed by three different actresses. The carnage portrayed was overwhelming.
The Suicide Scene
It was excruciating for me to watch and it tore me to pieces to the point I have actually been sick since I came home. My stomach is so upset and my heart is in so much pain. The show was about a husband and father who committed suicide by stepping in front of a truck. I can’t remember fully what was being said by all the people, but what I walked away with was the 10-year-old telling her father she needed him to see her. The college student was wondering if her choices led to his choice to die. The 43-year-old, having just remembered her last time alone with her dad and the things not said, was wishing it hadn’t happened and all the questions that come with those left behind by suicide. This was only made harder by the father’s telling the awful things going through his mind just before he turns around and the headlights and horn of the truck are heading his way. It was utter chaos in a scene.
I was broken. Having lived through it made it so, so much harder to watch. I couldn’t stop crying and the agony in my heart floored me. I felt nothing but the carnage, the lies and deception that surround the choices to commit suicide and the guilt and questions that blanket the survivors for years after.
The Day He Died
I remember the day my husband died. The things I would have normally done, that would have let me know what he was up to, I didn’t do. I didn’t find the telltale signs because I didn’t go into the office to find his lists he had made for me. I gave him the code to a rental home I was managing and, even though I asked why he would need it, I took his answer at face value and didn’t press. The last thing was when he was leaving to go to his “meeting”, he asked my youngest for a hug (my oldest was out of town with his class) and then told him he could do better than that. I remember abruptly looking at him with the question in my eyes of “what’s that all about?” But, again, I didn’t press.
Before he left that night he told me he was really sorry and I said, “Yeah, then prove it.” (For those of you who don’t know the story, I had just found out four days earlier about an affair with someone who was supposed to be my friend – the first affair I discovered.) I walked down the stairs after that and never saw him alive again. My mom said she had noticed some things too that seemed off with him, but how could we have known? There was so much pain clouding my mind, I couldn’t think straight. I was doing everything I could to survive and function that I couldn’t think straight.
The Turmoil Remain
Seeing this scene has taken me back to a very bad place. Should this be so hard for me still? The physical and emotional effects that scene set into play are confusing. To see a suicide through the eyes of the person committing suicide was too much. The pain, confusion and turmoil this man was going through hurt my heart. I know my husband was in turmoil, too, even though it was due to the choices he continually made. It was too much to watch and take in. When it was combined with the hurt and agony of the daughter at all three stages of her life, my mind could no longer focus or function properly.
I’m at a loss about what to say, think or feel at the moment. For that reason, I will end it here.
~ Joanna Lynn