None of my own experiences combined with what I know of my father's life make me think any less of a person who chooses suicide. In this week of unhappy reflection, I've found myself repeating that phrase a lot. Who are any of us to understand what pain another is going through, or to what depths?
What I carry from him, like coins in my pocket against the poverty of his loss, is an understanding that all any of us has is whatever is left of the day. And I make the most of it, hay while the sun shines, and I raise a toast to life.
In Dad's stately block printing K was declarative -- shorthand for the unsolved mystery of why he preferred to be called Harold instead of Ken. And then one day K dissolved on the page as he tried to sign his tax return.
I had never seen anyone die before. My dad went peacefully but still, it was awfully hard to watch. I had my hand on his forehead the whole time. My siblings each held a hand or rested their hand on his leg.
Perhaps for the first time, I saw the world through the eyes of a dying man, and it was so much better. Time moved slower, the flowers were brighter, people were kinder, and my family and friends were more meaningful.