Surviving my child’s suicide

I had a dream last week that caused me to yell out in my sleep. I don’t remember ever doing that before. I dreamed I was with Krista, my wife, and we were on a boat close to a dock. I think the dock was a refuge. She jumped first and made it safely but once it was my turn the dock was to far away. I grabbed a rope and tried to swing out and reach her but the rope wasn’t long enough and I found myself being dragged through the water.

I thought of drowning. Just letting go and drowning and seeing my daughter again. It’s strange but sometimes she’s alive in my dreams and sometimes she’s dead.

I yelled out when a big shark, like some monster from hell, exploded from the water beneath me and crushed my body in its jaws. Right before I woke up I remember thinking, “So this it what it feels like to be eaten alive.”

It’s said losing a child is the hardest thing a person can experience and if there is something worse I can’t imagine what it would be. The last four months have been hell peppered with the smiles of memories. I cherish those when they come, even if they last for only a moment.

I also cherish the times when I forget she’s gone. Brief moments when I think of calling her to see how she is. Or, like I did last week, calling and asking her if she wants to come to Mexico with us again. Bitter sweet seconds.

Four months ago this week my daughter ended her life. I don’t know what her final thoughts were. Did she think of me, her mom, her sisters? Were her last thoughts random flashes of the pain she experienced during the last months of her life and she just wanted them gone? Was she mad? Did she cry?

This is the hardest thing I have ever faced. Much harder than watching my father slowly die from prostate cancer. That made me sad and angry, but nothing compared to this. This is an ocean of grief. I’m treading water in a tidal wave of pain, disbelief, anger, sadness, waves and waves of heartache.

Seventeen years old. That is so young. Seventeen years of memories I cling desperately too: her first words, first steps, first day of school, all the firsts I could get. Rehtaeh was my only child and I packed everything I could into being a father.

If I focused on her death I’d go insane and my days would be filled with a rage I doubt I could control. So I focus instead on our trip to Cozumel, our overnight train trip to Ottawa, the PEI waterpark in the summer. Afternoons in the pool or just walking through a park. Sometimes she’s in a stroller, sometimes she’s holding my hand, sometimes she’s as tall as I am.

I’m afraid of what’s next. How will I feel if the police don’t lay charges? How will I feel if they do? She’s gone now. She’ll never know justice.

Will I ever believe in justice again?

I am very proud of my daughter for speaking out about what happened to her. I know it wasn’t easy and I understand now why most women choose to remain silent. Sexual assault victims really do become the accused when the crimes against them are investigated.

Rehtaeh used to tell her mother she didn’t feel like she was waking from a nightmare, she felt like she was waking into one.

I get that now.

I walk around being eaten alive, hanging onto a rope, tied to a boat going nowhere.

Rehtaeh Parsons - Seaview Park, Halifax
Rehtaeh Parsons – Seaview Park, Halifax

11 thoughts on “Surviving my child’s suicide

  1. Pingback:World Court of Public Opinion » Justice for Rehtaeh Parsons? Arrests Announced in Cyberbulling Investigation but Rapists Walk Free

  2. I just don’t know what to say… but I’m deeply moved by what you and your family are going through. I have four kids, and two of them have been the subject of cyberbulling -and more-. Stay strong.

  3. I am so very sorry for the pain and agony you are living with. I hope that time will heal some of your wombs. I supposed it will never be over, and regardless of charges or no charges, you will have to keep on moving forward. Her life was not without purpose. Let’s hope that change comes and people become more compassionate rather be so insensitive to the damage they can inflict on others.

  4. Just wanted to let you know that I am always thinking of you Glen. I have no words that will help at all, but just wanted to let you know that you are very loved and always thought of. If you need anything, you can always reach out.

  5. My heart breaks for your loss and sorrow. I have been in your shoes and there is no worse, lonely, miserable, confusing place to be. After 4 years the grief remains but we learn how to cope and pretend. May you find some morsel of peace and contentment – you are in my prayers.

  6. I may not be from your country, but I do sympathize with your grief. But don’t be afraid, God is with you and your family for this battle of justice.

  7. My heart sincerely goes out to you and everyone close to Rehtaeh. My daughter is very sensitive and has been bullied as well. As a result she has extreme anxiety and is missing out on much of her life. I often think I could be in your shoes or others’ who have lost a child. I can’t even imagine how difficult that must be. I’m so thankful to see that laws are being changed and they are getting tougher against bullying. Hopefully it will save some children’s lives and bring you a little comfort as it stems from Rehtaeh’s story. People care and she is making a difference. My thoughts will continue to be with you and the rest of her family.

  8. Dear Glen,
    As a suicide survivor (my sister), my heart breaks for you. Everything that happened to your daughter makes me so very angry, I can’t even put into words. Screw the b.s. “justice system”; I’d much prefer to tar & quarter the bastards, feed their bits to crows; they deserve nothing less, imo.

    IF there is anything, anything at all I can do for you – sign a damn petition, whatever the eff you need man – I’ll be there.

    This new anti-cyber harassment/bullying law they made, I think they should name it “Rehtaeh’s Law” – so nobody ever forgets who had to bloody die to get it made.

    BIG HUG,

  9. I am just so terribly sorry, I so wish you had your daughter to hold in your arms still. It makes me cry to readall of this about your sweet child. Please know so many hearts are breaking along with yours.

Comments are closed.