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A moment in Time that flipped the script

I remember the phone ringing like it was yesterday. It was when everything stopped, and my world suddenly froze.

It was a Sunday morning, and I was going to spend the day with my family at the pool. I was told to run upstairs and get into my swimsuit. I sprinted to the steps and got halfway up the staircase when the phone rang, and then I halted. I will never forget what happened next; my mother’s smiling face fell, and as she yelled out for my Father by name, I knew the elevated tone of her voice meant something was off; boy was I right.

Nothing was said to me then, but all the adults started whispering and shuffling around in the sense of flurry. I was told I would be going to the pool that day without my mom and dad, and when I resisted, I was silenced by the look my mother only gave when she meant business.

Looking back, I don’t remember being at the pool all day. What I do remember is the way my father greeted me that evening when he and my mother came to pick me up to go home.

I ran to him like I always did when he entered the doorway, but when I got to him, I hugged him; he did not hug me back.

Confused, I backed away and was swiftly guided to the car, where I was ushered into the back seat. Driving home, my father suddenly pulled the car to the side of the road. My mother turned around and told me that my Father’s brother, my Uncle, had shot himself this morning and died this afternoon while in surgery.

Undone, I looked to the driver's seat and saw my Father weeping.

Innocently, I inquired, “Why did he do this” and my Mother stated. “I do not know; maybe he didn’t know how much we loved him.”

Leaning back into the leather car seat, I wondered what I did wrong. What had I done not to show him how much I loved him? How could I have killed my Uncle?

The silence that befell the night enveloped my family and me as the car started moving again toward home. A home that no longer existed.

Suicide is not a silent killer.

Suicide is loud.

The person who dies does not go out quietly.

Suicide is viral, and the person who dies leaves this world with a tsunami of survivors in their wake.