The following means a lot to me, but I will tell it in the shortest way possible…
When I was 5 years old, my father committed suicide. I don’t often discuss this occurrence, but as I have grown older, I have come to realize that his decision has influenced most of my own decisions.
I came to understand that my heart would always lead me where I needed to be, but it would never lead me down his path. I came to understand that my mind would always help me to find the truth, but it would never betray me as his did him.
I realized that I would not be my father.
With his death, my family became lost in a dark sea of roiling treachery. My mom was the safest and most comforting of ships, and she often saved my sister and I from plunging into darkness; but, for some reason, she couldn’t direct the ship. The helm was always turning – first one way, then another – but the direction was lost. Thus, we three floated together through the unknown darkness. We survived.
And then one day, I saw a light. A bright light far in the distance that would flash at times, almost winking at us, seeming to say, “don’t stay down there, come in.” It was my gramma. She had found us in the darkness and was doing her best to beckon us into her waiting arms. I knew then that no matter how dark things became, gramma would summon us back to shore with her warm, sparkling light.
For the rest of my young life, gramma was my guiding light. She helped me to find my way whenever I felt my feet slipping. She became my lighthouse in a sea of roiling darkness and confusion. And since that day, her light has continued to guide me.
To my future family and all of the souls that I have the honor to touch: my hope is that I will be able to pass on this guiding light that helped me survive the darkness so that you may find the light for yourself and those you hold dear.