→ 21 Sep 14 at 7 pm
TRIGGER WARNING: Mention of suicide and addiction
DISCLAIMER : I never really know how to talk about this which is why it has taken five years.
(also be warned this post is probably going to be a bunch of scrambled thought but keep in mind I have a hard time talking about this and I don’t know which are the right words.)
1962 - 2009
That is my uncle Mario. Five years ago today he took his life.
I was not super close to my uncle, but close enough that it affected me.
Suicide is not cowardliness. Suicide is not an “easy” way out. But it should never be an option, I wish it wasnt possible. He had many problems in his life, as we all do. In a moment of weakness he decided he was over it and he wanted out. I say a “moment of weakness” because he was highly intoxicated when he died and he did the act on his daughters 15th birthday, so no. I don’t think it was fully thought out. I honestly don’t.
I miss my uncle. He wasnt perfect but he was human. I will always associated burnt hot dogs with him, because at family bbq’s he would always grill them too much. I used to hate it. Now I don’t mind because I think of him, and I wish he was still with us to have bbqs. I’ll also always associate the Smashmouth song “All Star” with him because I remember he had those Now ___ ! cds and I remember him popping one in the cd player in the my grandparents stereo and that came on. Its those weird little insignificant memories that stick with you. Like I don’t remember anything else from that day, but for some reason. I can close my eyes and remember being in my grandparents kitchen with the yellow linoleum floor and the big stereo and him putting in the cd, that song coming on and him walking into the other room.
Another thing I remember is the only time I really spent one on one time with him was on his daughter (my cousin)’s 1st communion. He picked me up in his little red car to take me with him to go see the church mass. I had never been in a car alone with him before and I remember being nervous because he drank, but it actually ended up being a nice day.
I also remember a few weeks before he died he was living in my grandparents house, my grandfather had passed away a few months prior and he was going thru some stuff in the garage and he told me he had a bike and asked if I wanted it. I had found it weird at the time…why was he offering me a bike..? It wasnt till years later I read somewhere that sometimes people planning to take their life start giving things way… it hit me like a ton of bricks..
I actually said no to the bike by the way. Which I have mixed feelings about now. I don’t know how to explain that.
I’ll never forget the day I walked home from the bus stop and noticed my moms car home, and my god moms car home across the street. How strange I thought… this can’t be good. Last time this happened, my grandmother had died. I cautiously turned the key to my house, no one there. I walked across the street and in my godmothers living room was my other uncle and his girlfriend asleep on the couch, my dad and mom at the dining table and my god mom in the kitchen.
Everyone looked somber. No one spoke. I asked if everything was ok, they told my my uncle had died. I said what?! They said he took his life.
A little while later I asked my god mom alone how he did it. Because believe it or not.. I needed to know for some reason… I was 16. No one wanted to tell me, and I won’t bother saying it here as, it mattered to me because I needed to have the peace of mind that he didn’t shoot himself (he didn’t) (I don’t know why it was so important to me that it wasnt like that. Probably because of the gore, I don’t know) and he didn’t. To this day I respect my god mom for being honest with me because none of the other adults wanted to tell me. I respect that she understood I needed to know in order to process it within myself.
His wake and funeral were non publicized as sadly typical in suicides of normal people (non celebs). He had no money to pay for a funeral and had no will so my mom forked the bill and made to it that he had a proper and respectful burial and stone..
As I mentioned earlier. He was my uncle and we were close enough but not super close. For years after his death I was plagued with strange dreams and even nightmares in which he appeared. My grandparents house is pretty much haunted. I have absolutely no doubt of that. Things happened after his death that again, no need for the details.
Today his daughter turns 20. I can’t help but feel a little uncomfortable saying happy birthday “enjoy your day!” every year because that has to be tough. You can’t forget your dad died on your birthday…
His youngest daughter is 8. She still remembers her dad, her mom and sister won’t let her forget him and often ask her what she remembers about daddy to keep his memory fresh in her mind. Its sweet, I’m glad they do that although it will never bring him back, I think his spirit is with them.
At the conclusion of this post I don’t know what else there is to say. Thats the thing about suicide. You think of the could’ve beens. I understand now that he struggled for a long time and lost the battle to his addiction and probable mental illness. But it doesnt make you stop wondering. It doesnt make you wish they were here, to see one more day. To see his daughter on her birthday, to see how smart and strong she is and to see his youngest growing. By this time next year, he officially has 4 grandchildren from his two oldest kids. There were strained relationships with his oldest children, but things change with time. Time heals many wounds, and his time ended too soon.
When we cleaned out my grandparents house to sell it after his death I came across this note I had written him as a child, I was shocked he would keep something like this, it broke my heart…
“Dear tetee (uncle) mario I could not take the 5 dollar bill you need the money. i did not take the flag those are your only memories of portugal. send me a post card!
from: katherine ^ps but i think chris took it. send the card the day after christmas. i really really really love you but please when you play music put it very low because i don’t want my grandparents to die.”
I still think about him daily. I hope he is at peace now. I miss him and like anyone affected by suicide, I think of how things could’ve been different, was there something I could have done? Was he not coping with my grandfathers death and hiding it? I can’t know the answers. We don’t know why he did it. His note only said he was going to do it. No details as to why.
If you or someone you know is talking about suicide or considering it please reconsider. Please check out one of the helpful links below. Save these links if you have to.
In an Emergency, Contact:
- Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Psychiatric hospital walk-in clinic
- Hospital emergency room
- Urgent care center/clinic
- Call 911
Read about suicide risk factors and warning signs.