It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years--20 years ago today, my father took his own life. For years now, this day has passed for me without much thought. In fact, there have been years when I only remember its passing days or weeks later. But this year, it's been on my mind a lot. I'm not exactly sure if it's that I've been melancholy or depressed. I don't think so. At least no more so than the typical late 30-something family guy. I guess it's the "20" milestone.
Most of my thoughts have been about regret. Not so much the regret that I should have said more or done more when he was around (it lingers, too). But the regret that he's missed so much--my graduations from college and grad school, my wedding, and the birth of both my son and daughter, not to mention my sister's children.
Nevertheless, his absence has had at least one positive effect on me and my life. It's given me perspective. At an early age, I learned that no matter how crappy life can be, it's worth living. And that things get better so long as you remember what's important.
So most things, well, just roll off my shoulders. The best example I can think of is my job. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and get a lot of satisfaction from it and the team I have the privilege to work with. But I work to live, not live to work. My time and worries are better spent trying to be a better husband, a better father, and a better man.
Which begs the question, am I better at these things?
I don't know. Ask me in 20 years.