My father committed suicide 9 years ago, on September 2nd 2002.
I wonder what he would tell me today if I could speak to him. I’m sure he’d be proud, though.
I always find it difficult to talk about him. He suffered immensely throughout his life and we never knew about it. He never showed it to us. I didn’t know him that well–choices I made as a teenager made it that I couldn’t spend as much time with him as I wish I had.
As I remember him, my father was a courageous man. Strong, full of pride, but also full of love that he could never express completely. He would do anything for me and my brother: pick us up and drive us places, help us in emergencies, make us lunch when we’d come eat there from time to time. One time my car broke down during a storm and he came right away, because I couldn’t reach my mom or her husband. He drove me home, and went back to his. I thanked him and closed the door behind him.
During the weeks before he died, he made a point to visit me and my brother. He showed up out of the blue at the address I lived at, supposedly to check some plumbing. That was the last time I saw him alive. He smiled. I’d never seen him smile so much. If I had known, I would have told him I loved him, that night. But I didn’t. I didn’t know. Nobody knew, not even his wife, until it was too late.
I know he knows I love him. I’ve never been angry with him because he decided to leave us. He suffered so much, and I know he’s much happier where he is. He waited for Labour Day on the year my brother entered college–he waited until both of us were old enough to take care of ourselves. I don’t know how long he waited.
9 years and I’ve come so far, metaphorically and literally. But Montréal, Vancouver or China: he watches over me. In school, out of school, working or not: he watches over me. Sometimes I’m amazed at how long it’s been–it still feels like a month ago, sometimes.
I remember my father, because memories are all I have so far away. But they’re also the best thing I have.