When Allyn Lewis was a senior in high school, she lost her father to suicide. For most of her life, she didn’t have the strongest relationship with her dad. However, it had begun to improve towards the end of his life which is part of what made the loss so immensely painful.
"When you lose a parent, a part of you goes with them. After all, they are literally half the reason that you are alive," she says.
Knowing that it was his choice to be gone too soon is what hurts her the most. While she doesn't blame herself, she wishes he had picked up the phone to call her one more time. Maybe hearing her voice at that moment or being reminded she was there would have been enough for him to stay.
Since she was headed to college, it was a very challenging time to cope with a loss. Instead of dealing with it, she kept herself as busy as possible for years after that, even overbooking herself in her business at the time to deal with the pain. The aftermath of losing her father (whose mother had also passed the same way when he was a child) also left her with an irrational fear that someone else close to her would commit suicide.
It wasn’t until she organized an event for suicide awareness and began sharing her story with others that her strength and healing around the loss truly started to build. She’s continued to speak openly about mental health and suicide in hopes of encouraging more people to reach out and get the help they need.
“There’s no right way to get over the loss of a parent to suicide,” she shares, “however, when you lose someone, especially in this way, it becomes extremely important to keep checking in on your own mental health.”
She believes that we need to raise more awareness about the topic and share our personal stories.
"When someone decides to commit suicide, they don’t realize just how much it will affect the people around them."
If you’re considering suicide, I’m begging you to get the help you need. You do have a purpose, and your life is important. This world needs you.
"There is nothing embarrassing about reaching out and helping yourself – it’s a sign of courage, not weakness. There are so many resources out there; you just have to speak up and find them. People who judge suicide and mental illness with a stigma are the ones who really deserve to be judged themselves," she states.
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Thank you, Allyn, for sharing your courageous story and being such a strong advocate for mental health. You can read more about her story and advocacy at hitthegem.com.
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