I’m not sure how my parenting would have been had my husband not died by suicide. I don’t know if I’d be more or less anxious, if certain things would still feel abnormal, or if I’d be more confident.
Most parents probably fret about their parenting skills. Am I making enough healthy foods to counter the junk food I allow? Where’s the fine line between screen time as leisure time and screen time as a break for me?
Most parents probably wonder if they’re getting this right.
But I do wonder if I’m a little more self-conscious about it than others. Or if my worries are a little different.
I always knew people died. We are born, we live a while, and then die. It’s a cycle, one that everyone who is born will complete. And yet, I feel the end more acutely than I did before the suicide. I know what it feels like to have a spouse die. It feels like you die. It feels like never ending days that trudge along, days that are filled with tasks that are weighted with lead. Every footstep feels heavy, every movement a burden.
My greatest fear is the death of one of my children. Or, more accurately, that one of our sons will decide to follow their father’s path. I’m afraid that the demons he faced will be passed along like a birth mark or personality trait.
My oldest is currently in counseling. He struggles with depression and anxiety. His self-esteem is low at times. He’s doing very well at the moment but the psychologist had told me that he does sometimes think we (his family) would rather be a family without him. He has a fear that we don’t actually want him. And my heart didn’t just break, it screamed for my son.
Suicide has tainted my family. It will forever be a blemish on the corner of our family portrait, a water stain that warps and discolors. It is the thing that damages and destroys what used to be beautiful.
I’m trying my hardest to repair what has been broken, to mend the stress fractures in my little family.
I don’t know if I’m failing or not.