I do not have to agree with my dad’s choice to commit suicide.
I know that seems obvious, but it switched on in my head like a lightbulb. It’s taken me a long time to believe these words. I’ve heard them over and over again, but they were abstract concepts. Logically, I knew they were true, but I didn’t feel they were true. All these years I’ve been struggling to make sense of his suicide, and when this sentence made sense to me, I felt lighter. I do not have to agree with my dad’s choice to commit suicide. I never will agree with it. He could appear before me right now and explain it all to me, and whatever reasons he gave would never satisfy me. I may have a better understanding and sympathize, but he would never convince me that taking his own life was an acceptable solution to his problems. If I know I will never agree with him, then I don’t need to spend my life struggling to make sense of it. How do you make sense of things when there is no sense to be made?
I am not responsible for my dad’s death, because if I was, it wouldn’t have happened.
To assume responsibility for his death, or to place responsibility upon another, robs my dad of his personhood and invalidates the enormity of his pain and his desperate need for relief.
You can forgive someone without excusing, rationalizing, supporting, or agreeing with their behavior. Part of loving someone is accepting all of their decisions, even when that person is self-destructing. There is only so much you can do, and then you have to let them go. You can’t control someone else’s life, and you can’t convince someone that life is worth living if they can’t see it.
I will always wonder what happened. I will never get over his suicide. I will always miss him. I will still get angry that he left me, but I know I will be able to forgive him when I am ready. For now, I do not have to agree with, support, excuse, rationalize, or try to explain my dad’s choice to commit suicide. It was his choice, he made it, it’s done, and I need to accept it, forgive myself, and forgive him.