We recently put up Free Fall on the site. This is the fifth story of the series involving my father, his death by suicide and the long journey to healing. If one wanted to read these in order, I’d start with Grover C. Gauntt, Jr.(Part 1), followed by Living Large, Gravity, Free Fall and finally One Suitcase. Researching and writing these stories was a critical part of my healing work.
[aesop_image imgwidth=”50%” img=”https://s3.amazonaws.com/websitegarden/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Free-Fall.jpg” align=”right” lightbox=”on” captionposition=”left”] After I received The Letter from my father that had been safeguarded by Emily Sue Buckberry for 40 years, and absorbed my father’s words and all he shared with me in the letter, I was compelled-no obsessed—to know more about my Dad. What did he mean when he wrote his “thought process has been prejudiced by a depression in my youth and insecurity, a religious fanatical mother I could not reason with, by a war in which I was in the infantry.” Why did he write “I don’t consider myself as successful.” What demons had my father battled over his 51 years here? As I said in The Letter, my father reached through and grabbed me when I was teetering on the ledge after Jimmy’s death and I finally stopped running away from him. I turned around and I went to go look for my dad—what happened to him as a child, a young man, a soldier and during the final years of his life. In Free Fall, I go back into that rabbit hole immediately following his death.
I also wrote these stories to put in perspective for me and others the unfathomable magnitude of that moment Ms. Buckberry decided to track me down and return the letter to me. After Jimmy’s death the last person I ever expected or wanted to hear from was my father. He’d caused me and my family so much pain and suffering. In fact, I partly blamed my father for Jimmy’s death. That’s another story. But then he shows up- with “All Love.”
Healing from a loss such as a suicide is complicated and in my case protracted—40 years. In an unusual twist of fate or destiny, it was my son’s death that opened the door for me to finally deal with my dad’s death. One Suitcase is sort of the culmination of my family’s healing from his death. Of course the healing is never done—but ultimately I found peace with my Dad. I was finally able to forgive him and love him. I have a new found respect for my father. He was indeed one of the strongest men I’ve ever known. He was there for me when I needed him the most.[aesop_image imgwidth=”100%” img=”https://s3.amazonaws.com/websitegarden/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/trio.jpg” align=”center” lightbox=”on” captionposition=”left”]