Daniel's Story - told by his wife Heather

My husband and I were married almost 13 years when he died of suicide. 

He was the most outgoing, fun, caring person I’ve known.  We had rough spots in our marriage, like most people, but we also had those great times too. 

For the first 6 years of our marriage, he went through these “rough times” every year, around the same time in April.  He would go through spurts where he couldn’t do anything but sleep and go to work.  And then a few weeks later, he’d have so much energy, he couldn’t sleep.  Each of these “episodes” lasted about a month each.  As each year approached at this time, the episodes seemed to get longer and longer, making it very trying on our marriage.  He saw Dr’s, etc.  They told him he suffered everything from anxiety to Attention Deficit Disorder.  In 2000, he lost his job of 7 years.  That started a downward spiral on not only our marriage, but also his self-esteem I think. 

From February 2000 through June 2002, he went through at least 7 different jobs.  He tried everything, but was having a hard time concentrating, and just making it in on time.  Our third child was born in August 2001.  She was a surprise, yet loved by us both with all we could give.  That seemed to pick him up for a few months, and then his Mother died four days before Christmas that year.  After that, his “episodes” started again.  And with them, came something that didn’t always happen, temper.  He would go off at the littlest things, not only with me, but also with our son.  This went on and was taking a toll on his relationship with not only our marriage, but with our son.  In August of 2002, I asked him to move out.  Our son was being hurt mentally by his father, and I had to stop it.  I tried talking to him numerous times before I asked him to leave, that it just wasn’t working. 

He agreed that we needed to separate at the time.  Christmas came and went, and we didn’t hear or see him until he called me from a hospital on January 8, 2003.  He had told me that on January 5th, he overdosed on some sleeping pills.  During his stay there, they determined that he had been suffering from Bi-Polar Disorder all these years.    I still loved him so much, but was so tired.  I wanted everything to be ok, and for him to be better.  When he asked to come back home I told him we would talk about it.   But I never told him that I still loved him.  That is one thing I will always regret. 

He got out of the hospital, and came over on the 12th with Christmas gifts for his kids.  We had a good day, I made him dinner, and he did a few things around the house and played with the kids.  Then that evening, he told me he was getting kicked out of his apartment, so would have to stay.  I told him I didn’t think that was a good idea.  He told me that I have no choice; it’s his house too, until we divorce.  I found he was right, and he stayed.  I knew that I would have to make the best of it,

so I did what I had to and didn’t get upset.   That week I helped him fix his computer; we all played Monopoly, laughed, and just had fun.  Monday, January 20th, I woke, got ready for work, and as I was leaving, he was folding his blanket (he slept on the couch).  I told him to have a good day, and he said you too.  I went to work.  At about 3:30 pm, I got a call from my son just as he’s supposed to do when he gets home from school, and he told me that he was calling me from his Dad’s cell phone.  I asked him how he got it, and he said that his Dad’s home, but left a note saying that he went for a walk in the woods, and that he’d be home after I got home from work.  My heart dropped, but I didn’t think twice, until my son said that he was looking for something, and found another note in my room.  He began to read it to me, and it started with, “Well, I finally did it.”  With that, I told my son to put it down, and do his homework and that I’d be home soon.  As I made the 60 minute ride home, I got closer and closer, and just knew he was gone.

I pulled into my driveway, and seen someone moving in his car.  I pulled next to it to find my son in there, crying.  I will never forget the look on his face.  I asked him what was wrong, and all he said was, “Mom, I found him”.  I knew right away what he meant, so I asked where.  He said in the garage.  I asked if he’d called 911, he said no.  I brought him in the house and we called.  I didn’t go in the garage, I was scared to.  In between hugging my son, and completely losing control of myself, not being able to even think straight, crying like I’ve never cried, I managed to call 911.  I told them that my 11-year-old son found my husband in the garage, and that we had found notes.  They asked me to go out and see if he was alive, I said I couldn’t.  They asked what he did; all I could say was that “my son just found him laying out there, I don’t know”. then my son simply said, “no Mom, he’s not laying out there, he’s hanging”.  That broke my heart, for my son, and my husband.  He had such a low tolerance for pain; I can’t imagine him doing a thing like that.  Hearing the words, “I’m afraid he is gone” will haunt me forever.

A little late, but I have finally researched Bi-Polar Disorder, and it explains a lot of who he was throughout our marriage.  I understand now, his tempers, his “episodes”, his job losses, inability to concentrate, etc.  I just miss him more than anything, and I want him back home.  I scream at him as I drive to work for him to come home.   I tell him how sorry I am for hurting him.  I wish he knew how much I truly love him, and always will.  I will never let our kids forget him. It breaks my heart knowing that our youngest will never remember her Daddy.  Never seeing his big beautiful blue eyes, the eyes she now has.  Never knowing how much fun he could be.  Never getting to go fishing with him, like our older ones would all the time.  But she will know that she has an angel, and his name is Daddy.  

 

Daniel Robert Griffin

August 6, 1965-January 20, 2003

 

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