You may not know it, but this week is suicide prevention week.
Suicide seems to have always been a weird and morbid constant in my life.
The majority of the people I've loved who have passed away, died at their own hand.
The most prevalent loss being my Uncle Mark, in 2001.
My uncle Mark was an artist in Chicago.
Relatively successful, a jewelry maker, a painter, a sculptor and occasionally for spare money, an amazing carpenter.
He was my dad's little brother, and the closest person in my dad's family to him.
When he died on November 29th, my whole world changed.
I woke up to a note in my bathroom from my dad saying he had to go to Chicago to take care of Mark, and he'd be back as soon as he could.
I had no idea Mark was dead.
My dad was gone for a month, and my sister moved in to help out.
We talked to my dad.
We wondered what happened to Mark.
On Christmas morning my dad finally came home.
He told my sister and I that Mark had died, from hanging himself in his kitchen a month before.
And then my dad went to bed and didn't get back out for months.
When he did, he was never the same person.
A lot of people think when they kill themselves that their life is the only one they're ending.
Their death, and the feeling that everyone who loved them has that they died by choice, and what a terrible betrayal that is, changes everyone forever.
The guilt and the anger and the regret and the terrible aching loss....I see it all on my dad's face still to this day when Mark's name comes up.
And what we're all left with....the scraps and the keepsakes and the little insignificant things we hold onto to try to keep those lost people close...an old t-shirt, their jewelry, the motorcycle they used to ride that sits unused in my side yard, their leather jacket that hangs limp in the closet, pictures that we still look at to try to discern some kind of sign that of what he was going to do...all those things that we can't let go of, that still do not equal a life.
They do not add up to one single second with that person who's gone now.
They don't mean as much as one breath from their lungs, or one more glimpse of their face.
They're nothing, and they're painful, but it's all we end up with when someone we love more than they could ever have loved themselves, goes away.
Just remember you're worth it.
More than you think, and more than you'll ever know.
Depression lies, and there is still hope.
Even if all you can do right now is cling to the couch and weep, hold on.
And ask for help.
Because somebody out there loves you.
Even if you don't love yourself right now.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
Call it, if you need it.
For my dad.