Hi hi hi –
Where do I even begin? A part of me is frustrated for not having any posts go up, but a part of me knows that that’s how life is sometimes. I’m going to be quite frank with you guys – this post may become extremely uncomfortable for some and it may even trigger some of you. If you are sensitive to subjects like depression, suicide, and negativity, please close this screen and spend time doing something you thoroughly enjoy.
I have kind of been around the bush about this, but if you watch my vlog on me YouTube channel, you’ll know that back in April, my uncle took his own life. For me and my family, we haven’t fully been able to close this chapter yet. There were three high schoolers in our family that were graduating and we didn’t want to take away from their special day. Now that all the graduations have completed, we will be going back home for his funeral services and I have been struggling for the past few days with my emotions.
Personally, I wasn’t close with my uncle. He was the quiet one of the family who never really talked. He started opening up to my mom and my aunty about the way he had been feeling a few months prior to his passing. He told them, “All my friends are so happy and healthy on Facebook. They always joke around and are always have fun., I want to be that happy and healthy.” After a few more conversations, my mom told him, “Manong, I think you are depressed, you need to tell your doctor what’s going on.” He never really acknowledged it, but he told her that he had set up an appointment to see a therapist. Then, a few days before his appointment, he told my mom that he was doing a little better and that he cancelled his appointment.
But he wasn’t doing better. On Sunday, April 29th my mom told me what my uncle was going through. She told me all of his burdens and troubles, his physical ailments and everything in-between. Knowing and understanding where he was coming from, I told my mom what next steps she needed to take with him. I told her that I couldn’t reach out because he didn’t confide this information with me – he trusted her enough to tell her these things. For me to barge in there and reach out when he didn’t want my help, it could make things worse. I left my parents’ house that day making sure my mom, and aunty, knew what to say.
On Monday, April 30th, I woke up to multiple text messages saying that my uncle had taken his own life. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing nor did I want to believe it. Never in a million years did I think that this would ever happen to my family, especially on my mom’s side. We are all so close and it’s been that way for as long as I can remember. We very much embody the collectivism culture and we embrace. Where one is weak, we are strong and I thought that this would be something that we could help my uncle with.
That day was grim and it was a living nightmare. I felt guilt and shame that I never reached out to him. I felt betrayed by him in a way, for leaving us the way he did. I felt pain for my cousin who had to find him and I felt the sorrow and grief that my mom, her three sisters and her brother were going through. There was a point where I didn’t know if the tears would stop or if we would ever be able to laugh or smile again. I wasn’t sure if the pain would go away or the guilt that I felt. I kept thinking to myself that I should’ve just reached out, but I wondered if it would have made a difference or if it would have just prolonged the inevitable. My mom and I tried to put the pieces of his life together so we could understand, but I knew that it was all in vain. He was gone and the world seemed darker and lonelier.
The thought of ever laughing again or smiling left me feeling guilty, because he would never be able to do that here. My grief and pain turned to anger – I was so mad at him for leaving us the way he did and for causing my family so much pain. There are so many unspoken things and moments that we have yet to share, but it was cut short, by him. The shitty thing about the whole ordeal was that we, as a family, only had one day to really grieve his passing. One day to let everything out – the next day, we went back to our normal lives/routines. We had to face the world with a mask of strength, when underneath it all, we were all struggling to find that strength. Tuesday was rough. I couldn’t talk to anyone without tearing up or wanting to completely cry, but I knew I had to go back to work for my own sanity.
That Thursday, I was getting ready to meet my family at our local casino for our typical dinner, but while getting ready, I just felt angry. I started to “talk to him” and just rant on about how selfish he was, how upset I was that there wasn’t even a note, mad that he let his son find him, mad that he didn’t reach out, etc. I kept “talking to him” as I got into my car and started driving down to the casino, and finally after about 5 minutes. I ended my “talk” with, “Uncle, I just want to know why.” Then the radio station I listen to, SOS Radio, played a new song by Tenth Avenue North called Worn. As I drove, the first few words were, “I’m tired, I’m worn.” In that instant it was like my uncle was telling me everything that he had been going through the past couple of months. I felt every bit of his spirit in that car and it was almost as if he was saying, “Please, understand.”
Now here’s the crazier part – that radio station, whenever they introduce a new song, they tend to play it quite often. However, with this song I didn’t hear it for weeks. I even added it to my playlist on Spotify and it would never play while I was getting ready in the morning. The very next time I heard it was on my way home from work – the day I started working on his eulogy.
What triggered me to write this was the passing of Kate Spade. One of my favorite brands/designers. She leaves behind a daughter and a husband. This hit me hard because even though from the outside, someone has it all, you never really know what they are going through. My heart hurts for all those affected by suicide. It’s a tough thing to go through because you are always left wondering if there was a way you could have prevented it.
If you are suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, please, I beg you, seek help. There are so many resources available to you. If you are afraid to talk to a stranger about what you are going through, reach out to someone close to you. Please, I beg you to reach out. I am speaking from the perspective of a family member who has received very little answers. We are stuck here feeling the guilt of our actions, or lack thereof. You can’t let the people you care about and love go on the rest of their lives feeling guilty. Please, please, please there is always another way.
You can contact the Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 or click here for more help. Remember that you are loved, you are important, you are valid, you are perfect in your own way.