On July 9th, 2015, sixteen years will have passed since my father died by suicide.
It will be a day filled with awareness of a club that I never thought I would be joining: The 42 Second Club.
It gets its name from the fact that every 42 seconds, someone dies by suicide.
That leaves people like me to represent something that I, nor anyone else, would want to represent. But it is something we must accept. It is something we must get accustomed too.
Every 42 seconds, someone falls onto the battlefield after fighting for months, years and even decades against the struggles, pain and suffering that life had been throwing at them. It also means that every 42 seconds, someone has to come to the reality that they have just lost a loved one, someone that they cared for deeply or someone that meant the world to them and was an idol to them.
Suicide victims put up a heck of a battle against everything bad and negative that they were up against. They didn’t take the easy way out. They didn’t give up on life. They weren’t selfish. They didn’t mean to hurt those that they loved and who they cared for, unconditionally, by the outcome of their death. They fought on a battlefield for so long that they had lost all of their strength. Their will-power had been drained. They fought on that battlefield for years or for decades, all by themselves, without any solutions in sight.
The enemy kept them fighting continuously without giving them a break or some time off from the battlefield. They fought on that battlefield all alone. In the mind of the victim, there was no one at their side. No one to help them out. There was no one to understand what they were going through in life. That is what stigma makes people believe.
On July 9th, 1999, my siblings and I had to join yet another ‘club.’ It is what I call the dreaded No Pops On Father’s Day Club. It is a very strange, weird and nerve-racking thing to have to write about and it’s even weirder to have to imagine.
There are too many emotions tied to the loss of a loved one, especially when it is a parent. The anger, the sadness, the pain, the heartbreak and then the frustration and bitterness begin. It is even more hard when that parent dies by suicide.
These two clubs are clubs that I never wanted to join. I never saw myself becoming a member of either one of them. But since I have two membership cards; the days, the months, and the years of my membership will only continue to climb.
For myself, these two clubs are so closely related to each other, both in time and in reason. Naturally, they remind me of my father. A father that I lost when I was 22 years old. My father’s birthday is in June. Father’s Day is in June. The anniversary of his death is on July 9th. On the last Monday of May falls Memorial Day.
Very soon 5,844 days and 192 months will have passed without my dad living on this planet. One of the most important things I have learned throughout those many days and months is that my father is not at fault for how he died—it was the fault of the battlefield.
Author: Brian Splater
Editor: Alli Sarazen