on: my dad's 56th birthday

(originally posted on instagram, may 7th, 2021. tw; suicide)
today my dad would have turned 56.
this morning i sat and cried in the shower.
today i wore his denim shirt to work.
this evening i ordered takeout from the restaurant i know he would have chosen and right now i’m eating it in bed .
tonight i’m going to call my best friend and stay up too late to drink wine and laugh at her dog on facetime and cry.
 
there is a really giant hole in my heart.
my dad was really happy.
i’ve never once seen him angry in my life. never raised his voice. he’d help anybody do just about anything and he loved to play with anything on wheels on the weekends. his favourite thing to do together was just bop around town for errands so we could listen to the radio and walk around and chat and look at stuff. we loved to antique hunt and go to canadian tire. he’s picked me and my friends up from the local bar dozens of times at 3 am with a huge grin on his face and dropped everyone off all over town, in any kind of weather.
he had family nearby that loved him, friends he saw often.
he loved where he lived and we had plans for road trips, buying more toys, teaching me about cars, buying property and building in the woods.
we had plans for next week and for forever.
my dad was stressed, lonely, in debt, and in pain.
he lived through a lot of trauma and pain in his life and had the scars to prove it. he worked a lot of jobs with long hours, physical work, and a lot of time away from home. he hid the worst of it well but he told me fractions throughout my adult life and we were always working together to get him on a healthier and more sustainable path.
the fact that it was so bad living in his mind and body that he saw taking his life as the only way out is still horrifyingly unreal to me, 2 months later.
it’s mental health week and that reminder has been so painful.
if the past few years of burnout topped off with the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s to prioritize my own well being and mental health. i completely re-routed my life and am constantly working on re-wiring my habits and my environment to ensure that i am setting myself up for cycles of creativity and happiness and dynamic possibilities, so that i can live in my best mental space, because i took the last decade to really figure out what that looks like
(and what it sure as fuck doesn’t)
i talked to him about this. he’s seen all my babbling online about it like most of you have. we talked about his pain management and his sleep and his diet and all sorts of factors. he wasn’t unversed in the world of mental health, but he clearly wasn’t able, comfortable, willing, or understanding enough of his own situation to seek the kind of help he needed, so he chose otherwise.
i’ll never know what made him do it but it doesn’t make a lick of a difference.
 
check in with yourself. with your family. with your friends. really check in.
we'll never know 100% of someone else's mind - their thoughts, their struggles, their needs. make your mental health a priority. get to know yourself and your needs. be honest with those around you on what those needs are.
really, be honest.
take the time and put in the effort on yourself. work on healing your trauma. nourishing and moving your body. create good habits, good energy, good relationships.
 
don't let it get to "i had no idea it was that bad."
 
because 56 is really young.

a photo of megan and her dad in coats and hiking boots. in the background - snow and mountains at the athabasca glacier, alberta

love you. 

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