It’s been 8 years since my father killed himself. It’s likely I will cry answering this question. I am a psychotherapist and I hear a lot of heartbreaking stories every day, I don’t cry all that easily.
Six months after he died I desperately needed people around me and wanted to me as much people as possible and party with them and drink with them. As if there was no tomorrow and my own death was near.
I also woke up crying. I would cry WHILE I was sleeping, and wake up with tears running down my cheeks, sobbing. This happened a lot over the years. Something I had never experienced before and didn’t even know was possible.
I wrote a book about him, in Dutch, it’s called ‘raw morning’, I cried a lot writing that.
According to my wife I’m still mad at the whole world for losing my father. Which is partially true.
For a while I lost all my motivation. I stopped running, I stopped working out, I stopped taking care of myself and I started binge eating. I also looked for sex everywhere, as the antidote to the feeling of gloom and presence of death.
I still think about him every day. Life will never be the same again without him. Nothing can replace him. He was the funniest, wittiest guy I have ever known, and -although he commited suicide- also the most fun guy to be around. Really the life of a party.
When he died 90 percent of my joy went with him. I can’t stand to listen to music anymore, I don’t invest time in shallow ‘friendships’ anymore, and I don’t care about most things that people use to prop up their ego and pretend that they are amazing and achieving something. I used to surround myself with lots of people, now I live in something like ‘splendid isolation’. Part of me can’t understand that the world just kept turning without him.
As a therapist it has helped me understand pain more, be even more empathic, and it has made me even more careful not to hurt other people’s feelings.
All I can hope is to take the best qualities he had and carry them forward, and to give him a legacy through my work, my children and his grandchildren and in the way I treat every person I meet.
Will I ever feel as good as before his death?
No, but I can make it bearable and I can turn it into a gift to pass on to others.
My throat is cramping up, so I can’t write more.
This was my answer to a question on Quora.