My Dad Killed Himself and I Can’t Shake This Grief

Bayo Ajibola

Last year around my birthday, I woke up to messages from two relatives telling me that my dad had committed suicide. Life has been a blur ever since.

I met my father for the first time when I was 20. He hadn’t known that I was his daughter, because my mother was quite toxic and had lied to him and told him I wasn’t his. After meeting, we spent five years getting to know each other. There was real love there. His mental health started to steadily decline after those five years.

He fell back into alcoholism. Eventually he started to scare me, threatening me with a loaded gun twice and mumbling about how helicopters were following him and his phone and house were bugged.

I tried to get him help and he would refuse each time, growing suspicious of me and suggesting that I was a spy. One day he went to the police by himself asking them to arrest him,he was committed to a mental institution after that. I was told that it would be a good idea for me to distance myself from him for my own safety and allow him to improve himself. And I did that.

It wasn’t until I spoke to the people at the coroner’s office that I was told they’d found prescriptions for bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia beside him in his bedroom. Old prescriptions that he didn’t appear to be taking any longer.

I was told that his body hadn’t been found for weeks. He had no one to come and check on him. Someone from the apartment complex he was living at entered the apartment when he hadn’t paid rent and found him. They said he was barely recognizable.

I was in the U.K. at the time and couldn’t afford to go and see him or sort out his belongings at his apartment.

The guilt, the shame, the pain I feel—it haunts me every day. The thought of strangers finding his body, not knowing who he was. I wanted to be able to go and hold his hand. I know he was already dead, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was still there, feeling alone. No one, not even the relatives who contacted me, cared enough to go and see him. I feel like a failure for not being able to do it myself. They had to identify him thanks to his dental arrangement.

I miss him. He didn’t leave a note or anything, but I can’t help wondering if him doing this around my birthday is its own sort of message.

Now, even in my marriage that has grown toxic, I am so horrified about the thought of losing anyone else. Of feeling more like a failure to protect what I love. Even when my husband and MIL are mistreating me. I can’t differentiate anymore.

I’m sorry this is a long read. I just feel like I need some support, to clear my thoughts and make sense of things.

Bayo Ajibola

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