A year ago this month, I attended a funeral for a second cousin who had committed suicide. Even though I hadn’t seen him in years, witnessing the pain his death caused in those close to him was heartbreaking, because I know what it’s like to lose someone you love so violently.
Seven years ago today, my grandpa, “poppy”, shot himself in the head. (The story is here.) Even though so much time has passed, his death still causes a strange ache inside me. There is something about a suicide that never lets go. There is always the “why?” question that never will be answered. I think of that day and the days that immediately followed. I think of my family and the shock and the crushing pain. Awhile back, I found myself with a handful of sleeping pills, wondering how many it would take to put me to sleep. Forever. I’ve thought about my pistol; the gun safe combination and a trigger. So simple. So quick. And then I think of my kids. And I think of poppy. And I realize that I will never do it. Suicidal Ideation is one thing; the actual act is another. No one can know what goes on in another person’s head and we have no right to judge, but for me, I know that as deep and as dark as my depressions can get, I know I will never go that far. Why poppy did, I’ll never know.
I had a tattoo created in his memory; as a tribute and as a reminder of what life is. It is several very vibrant, very life-like poppies, an obvious reference to “Poppy”. The flower is also my birth month flower; it is the flower of remembrance and consolation. They are rendered in a deep red-orange color; representing passion, happiness, life, vitality, and survival. It’s in a very prominent location on my upper left arm. It’s not a tattoo I take lightly, and every time I look at it I’m reminded of everything that is important to me.