Who Am I?


Good question. 


First let me tell you who I am not.  I am not a trained counselor, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, doctor or “suicide expert”.  I do not pretend to have the answers, as I am still searching for those myself.  In fact, at this point, I do not even have a firm grasp on what the questions are.


Next, let me tell who I used to be.  I used to be viewed as someone who could solve problems.  I was someone others would come to for answers.  And, for a while, I actually believed that my solutions had value.  It was satisfying discussing intellectual issues with highly educated people knowing they respected my opinion.  I would often present an alternative perspective or a unique solution.


But who am I now?  To be honest, I really don’t know.  Since Shawn, my only child, committed suicide, I really do not have a role in life.  For over twenty years of my life I played the role of father.  Did I do a good job?  Not in my definition.  I view a parent’s responsibility as protecting the child, providing for the child, preparing the child for the world.  The worst possible outcome for any parent is to see their child die. So in the most important “job” of my life, I could not provide the most critical decisions with valid solutions.  In the only thing that really counts, I failed.


In retrospect, all of the other “intellectual” pursuits were nonsense.  What else matters when you lose a child?  Income?  Career?  Where you live?  What kind of car you drive?


I do not have the answers. 


And, unfortunately, neither does anyone else.  After reading numerous of books on suicide, surviving suicide, depression, the loss of a child, etc., the volume of what is “known” is dwarfed by what is “unknown”.  Some authors try to explain why a person commits suicide; others claim we can never really know why.  Some think the tendency towards suicide is hereditary; others say it is learned or environmental.  Some say that there will be telltale signs that a suicide is imminent, other say that there is no predicting it.  So what is the truth?


I do not have the answers.


All I can offer are some observations.  Some of these may pertain your situation, others may not.  If you are looking for expert advice, please go back and re-read paragraph one above.