Through the Head, Not the Chest / by Rebecca Tillett

Dad, 1964
Dad, 1964

Two nights ago I found out my dad shot himself through the head, not the chest. I can see why most people might wonder why such a thing matters. Dead is dead. But it does. For the last almost-15 years, I've been dealing with a tragedy based on facts that were actually WRONG. And I have no, no idea how I even got said facts. Did someone tell me that? Did I make that assumption when I was being pushed out of my own house and barely got a glance of him? Did I overhear it? Did I create some fantasy of what happened in my head, not really knowing?

I don't know. I don't know but I collapsed when I found out. Into a puddle of myself on the floor - It felt like I was reliving it all.. It was terrible and empty and angering.. I felt grief and despair and shock and sadness like I haven't felt in years.

My mom, one of the least comforting and sensitive people I know was even acting concerned for me, told me to stop going through his things and that I'm going through enough. Told me she was thinking of me and would call and text me to check on me.

"I forgot to tell u that i love u. I know u r going through a lot right now but try & not dwell on the past. U r a strong, beautiful & talented young lady. I'm here for u always. I love u. mum"

I AM going through enough. Is this just another addition to the "my life spirals downwards about every 5 years" average? Was this handed to me because I have a lot on my plate at the moment and what's one more thing? Do I handle difficulty better in bulk?

I always thought my dad shot himself in the chest... and probably spent a good amount of time afterward bleeding to death.. I've always thought it was a blatant cry for help, and less of a desire to really die.

But no, it was none of those things. He shot himself through the side of his head. He knew exactly what he was doing and it's clear he was intent on dying.

How many more years of my life will I lose to this grief?