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”]

2 responses to “An Introduction to "Free Fall"”

  1. Dear Casey,
    I am beginning to read your stories that are clearly poignant, personal, sad, and happy. I’m not sure how I found your site, perhaps researching the Gauntt Clan, which we also have traced back to Flanders in our own searches. We are clearly related by the Gauntt’s in Athens Texas: R.L. Gauntt (the General) probably, who had a grocery store in Athens during the depression. R.L. Gauntt (great grandfather) John Douglas Gauntt (grandfather) R.L. Gauntt (my dad – recently died this year), and me Randall Owen Gauntt.

    Anyway, back to your stories and thanks for sharing these stories. Randy

    • AvatarCasey says:

      Dear Randy, I’m glad you stumbled on this website and found some stories of our shared past. Gauntts from Athens, Texas–we are most definitely kin. That is very cool we have the same great-great grandfather, John Washington Gauntt. My wife and I visited Gent aka Gand, Belgium in 2009. It is a beautiful gem of a city. You have read the story of The Letter. That was the door opener for me. Finally getting that letter from my father, Grover Cleveland Gauntt, Jr., 40 years after he wrote it, and it’s arrival on what would have been our son’s 25th birthday–if my father can go to all of that work to reach through to me, I can stop running away from his death and go back and found out who this man is and what happened. And that’s when I started writing, and I haven’t stopped. I recently completed a manuscript which condenses many of the stories on the site (and some that aren’t) into a flowing story. My intent is to have it published by the end of the year. I hope you will share some of the stories with other members of the Gauntt clan. I hope you will also read some of the other stories, such as The Fraternity and Suffering Is The Only Honest Work. I will be interested in what you think of them–as a family member!!
      Casey

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Author Bios

Write Me Something Beautiful Authors - Casey and Jimmy Gauntt

Casey Gauntt

is an attorney and senior executive of a major San Diego real estate company. He lives in Solana Beach, California, with his wife, Hilary. Casey grew up in Itasca, Illinois, graduated Lake Park High School in 1968, and received B.S., JD and MBA degrees from the University of Southern California.

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Jimmy Gauntt

was born and raised in Solana Beach and graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 2002.   A prestigious Trustee Scholar at the University of Southern California, he majored in English and Spanish. He authored six plays, five screenplays, and a multitude of poems and short stories. Beginning in 2010, the USC English Department annually bestows the Jimmy Gauntt Memorial Award—aka “The Jimmy”—to the top graduates in English.  Jimmy passed over to the other side in 2008 at age 24.

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