By Marc Joslyn. Marc’s Dad died by suicide in 2015.
My Dad is a Lion. This Father’s Day I celebrate him in a way that focuses on how he lived and not on how he died. He taught me a lot. As time marches forward, I realize more, just how much. He rarely spoke using words. Instead, he spoke with his actions. I am a lucky kid to have a Dad like him. He remains exemplary in so many categories, chiefly consistency. He never lied, always tried his best, and never spoke a negative word of anyone. Sadly, I can not claim the same record.
My Dad always seemed to know the truth of the universe in every situation. He was an independent thinker. So strong, so kind. He could have toppled any opponent with his intellect alone, but never did. He was so gentle. He reserved his rage only for himself. I find this both tragic and unnecessary.
Did I fail him?
What pains me the most… is presumably, because I do not know, why this guy I considered my lion, thought otherwise of himself. After all, why else would he decide the ultimate punishment and end his journey? I feel so terribly guilty that I was too obsessed with my own feelings to notice his. I would have done anything to carry his burdens or lesson his pain. I’m so sorry I failed you Dad.
I tried to talk to him once, I put it all out there. I was brave in the moment, but it was not enough, I could not save him, I was too weak. This complexity will impact all of my remaining life experiences. I want to honor his legacy with significant contributions to society but sometimes I feel so scared that I can’t do it as well as he always did.
My Dad’s best lives in me
The best way I know to honor my Dad is to love and openly practice gratitude. The worst way is fear. Fear manifests itself in me in mean words being spoken, blaming, shaming, gaslighting, Monday morning quarterbacking, and all-around general and all-encompassing cowardice.
My Dad’s cemetery monument is just glorious! A perfect collaboration between myself and my two brothers. I may say on my darker days this is all I have left. But, this is not the case. I can talk to my Dad anytime I want! He remains a lion, my lion. His lessons forever written. He set a fine example.
In closing, I am a lucky kid. I hope to meet each of you reading this in person someday so I can show you that my Dad’s best lives in me.