The detective called at 9:15 P.M. on a Tuesday. Before I knew it was “The Detective,” I knew from the 772 area code exactly what I was about to hear, but you have to take the call, right? My heart rate elevated, and I put Go Dog Go! down on the bed I was currently preparing for sleepy-times with Sofia. I lifted the phone and answered, “Hello?”
After he uttered just two sentences , I was weeping inconsolably. Sean rushed in to scoop up our 20 month-old daughter so I could process, alone, the overwhelming guilt. My father had been lying in a self-induced pool of his own blood for a full week, and I had no idea.
Quite a few people said to me, in the weeks and months that followed, “Suicide is the most selfish thing you can do.” Even though I was gracious in my response then, I would like them all to hear these words right now: Go fuck off.
You don’t know anything about my father or his life or his pain. You know nothing.
I understand that when it comes to death people often don’t know what to say. But let me give you some advice: Never say that to another grieving person again. We have too much to unpack already.
My father was tortured from the day he was born. Abused physically and mentally as a child, an extremely sensitive boy shaped into a textbook narcissistic man riddled with addictions. He acted purely in his own self-interest and then felt enormous guilt and shame when it destroyed his relationships.
It is astounding that he made it to 74 years of age. Astounding. He left this world tortured by his own thoughts of self-loathing and regret. And although I still have flashbacks of the trauma he caused during my childhood and early adulthood, I forgave him years ago for who he was and what he could not control. In the last years of his life, he tried his hardest to make amends, to make himself a better person. He might have succeeded if those goddamn doctors hadn’t been so free with the opioid prescriptions.
So. I defend his decision to end his suffering. I defend his choice to silence his demons once and for all. I defend his, yes, extremely selfish decision because his good, sweet, boy-heart was stuck inside a rotting corpse of toxic tortured manhood. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but trust me—I did not come to it lightly. I am in defense of suicide.