After saying goodbye to Logan, I walked up the stairs to see my Mom crying on the couch.
I sat down and the words poured out of her in sobs "Zach's dead."
Shock does strange things. My initial thought was "I have work tomorrow" but then it hit me.
My Dad Zach is gone.
Just 24 hours before I was talking to him about attending my friend’s funeral after he had taken his own life. I asked my Mom what had happened to Dad but I already knew the answer. Suicide.
He had given up.
The next couple of weeks were full of emptiness-nothingness. No emotions, no one talked or connected eye to eye. I hadn't seen my family on Dad's side in years and I went in there feeling blind. I didn't feel welcome and I didn't feel hopeful of the events coming. None of them had ever let me in.
After dealing with that and having no outlet to feel or connect in any real way to anyone about the depth of my pain, I came home and isolated myself. I started self harming, neglecting to take care of myself and drinking almost every day.
I couldn't cope with the fact the one person I had in my life to run to, was gone and he took himself away from me.
I used to write and sing and laugh but those things I left in the past. Weeks and months went by where I neglected myself and my needs. I stopped talking to friends and family and felt like no one could ever help me again. I don't know what it was or what had happened, but one day I woke up.
That day something changed in me. The grief broke and grew into something else. I showered and I realized the cuts on my arms burned and stung. I could feel my arms once more. I could feel my body. I was back. My eyes looked like I had cried enough to last me a lifetime. It was time to start living again.
I picked up a pen and started writing again, I sang even louder than before. I went back to voice lessons and performed my heart out at the end of the year. I laughed even when I felt like crying.
Going out with my friends making new memories and sharing with them the struggle I had just faced helped me learn to smile once again. I started trying in school and I even went on to graduate like I always promised my Dad I would. I could feel him with me that day and I know whenever I'm feeling down or alone he's right beside me helping guide me through life. I'll never be without him and his memory will forever be with me.
Today I talk to kids in high school about depression. Whether it be online or in person, I let them know the effects of suicide and self harm and let them hear my story. Depression and suicide is an epidemic that needs to be tackled and it starts with one person being honest and sharing their journey for the world to change.
I work a full time job and plan to attend University so I can learn social work, someone who can help others and reach out more. I still write poems and songs and I'm also starting to write a book. I make time to sing whether it's in my car or in a room full of friends. I go out and live my life as though every day is my last...
An excerpt from Autumn's Story...
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