READ BETWEEN THE LINES DUDE

I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to continue this blog, since I haven’t written in what feels like forever. But this has been weighing on me for a few weeks now.                         IMG_0902.jpg

As many of you may know, my dad took his life on September 24, 2016. Going on three years and it still feels like he’ll be walking back through the door any day now.

For those who don’t know how he went… he shot himself. Sorry for the bluntness, but it’ll make sense soon.

A couple weeks ago I was at one of my accounts for work. And in this industry, it’s more about the relationships and connections you make with your clientele than almost anything else.  So the conversations are usually pretty laid back and goofy.

I was listening to one of my accounts complain about how his dog threw up on his floor that morning and how he had to clean it up. All the sudden he said, “Yea I just wanted to kill myself” with the gesture of putting a gun to his head.  This has infuriated me over the years.

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               “Are you F***ing kidding me?!”

                    “You’re so inconsiderate.”

                              “Douchebag.”

                                   “WTF.”

 

The list of reactions I’ve had when hearing/seeing this is uncountable. But this time it was different…

I looked at him and agreed that cleaning dog puke does suck and added, “Your dog would be really upset if you did that.” And as cheesy as that sounds he responded, “Oh, I would never actually do that. I was just playing.” And it caused him to stop and think about what he said.

After the meeting, I sat in my car for about 20 minutes replaying that comment over and over again. Then all the sudden I said,

“I get it.”

Up until my dad killed himself I was that person. I was the person who would constantly use the gesture or say something like, “I’ll go kill myself.” I said it freely. Without thinking twice. Most of the time it just rolled off my tongue. I never actually thought about who has been affected by suicide or if people were going through their own personal struggles.

I UNDERSTAND.

I understand that is such a common thing to say nowadays. I will always be thrown off and when hearing it, but I won’t get mad. If I did I would be a hypocrite. BUT, that being said I pray that people will be more considerate for people and their feelings.

You don’t know what people are going through. Everyone has something going on.

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.

There are so many different phrases to say instead of “I’d rather kill myself.” Really, It all falls back to the saying,

Don’t say anything you don’t mean. 

Life is precious and never take it for granted. The good and the bad are all lessons in life. Learn from them and grow. You are loved. You are special. YOU ARE WORTHY. 

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I’ll always love you.

– Little Bear

 

 

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God’s Building an Army


So since my last blog I’ve had multiple ideas on what I wanted to write about next but nothing really stood out to me until Easter weekend when I saw majority of my friends. We were coming home for Easter as always, but we ended up coming home on that Thursday…

Over the past year and a couple of months tragedy has struck way to many times, not only for me but for others as well. I have seen so many of my friends hurt in unimaginable ways because the loss of a loved one, and to make it worse every death was a DAD.

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So as I’m writing this I want you to keep my dear friends in mind:

  • Candis Feazell  •  Taylor Horsfall •

• Kendal Jones  •   Jordan Talley   •    Kaylin Goss  •   Carter James •

Over the years I had the opportunity to grow with each and every one of them, whether that was in high school or college. Some of us were closer than others, but reScreen Shot 2017-04-23 at 10.33.42 PMgardless each of them have impacted my life. I either knew their dad and I considered them family, met them through the friendship, or didn’t at all but still heard great stories about them. Regardless if I was close with them or not, they are the people they are today because of them. Our dads will forever live through us now and will continue to shine their light.

It wasn’t until my dad died when I actually understood what death was. Of course everyone has the idea, but it hits you in a much different way when you experience it yourself. Its harder, deeper, and much darker than anything you could imagine. So for those whose dad passed before mine I’m sorry I wasn’t there like you were there for me. I didn’t fully grasp the aftermath of a death especially when its a parent. If I could go back I would do so much more than what I did do. BUT that being said THANK YOU for being there for me. For always checking up on me, reaching out at the most random hours of the day, and making sure my family and I were loved. Thank you.

So Easter weekend was the first funeral I attended since my dad died and that’s where I saw majority of the people on that list. It was so overwhelming seeing all of us. 22-year-old college students all sharing theScreen Shot 2017-04-23 at 10.44.36 PM worst thing to have in common in one place. It was so sad to see all of us standing there, but at the same time it was the most comfortable and peaceful feeling. We could relate to each other. We all stood in a circle talking until it was time to go in and sit down. As I walked in it felt like a million pounds was laying on my chest. It brought back so many memories/feelings from my dads service. We sat down all in a row and the music started playing. Carter and his mom were the first to walk through the doors and tears started rolling down my face. Carter (my brother from another mother) carried himself with such poise, unlike me when I walked into my dads service. I lost it. But not Carter. He held his head high, holding his mommas hand, and embraced the moment. Seeing that I was able to understand why people are so short and sweet when they give their condolences. I WAS SPEECHLESS. I had no idea what I was going to say to him and his family afterwards. What do you say to someone who is having the worst day of their life. Nothing you say makes the hurt stop no matter how hard you try. I just wanted to take the pain away from them, take it away from all my friends that have been hurt by losing their dad. It sucks, it’s not fair but it’s life.

So my point to that was to let people know that I get it. I get why people act so weird when it comes to death. Death is a tricky thing. You don’t want to take light of the situation because then you look like a heartless jerk, but you don’t want to take it so deep that it just makes the person feel (cry) worse. You have to find that happy medium.

Death is ugly, but it shows true beauty

I feel like I can speak for everyone on that list or anyone dealing with death when I say this. When I got the call that my dad had passed my first thought was “I don’t want to be sad”. I thought I was going to become weak. I thought that the rest of my life IMG_7428would be pure sadness and darkness. But I was wrong. Losing my dad was a wake up call to me. It changed me in ways I didn’t think was possible. I realized I am STRONG. It took some
convincing from Candis, but she wouldn’t let me think anything different and she was right. I don’t think I would be the person I am if it wasn’t for her. Through all 17 years of our friendship she has had my back no matter what. She was/is my rock. I became the person I always wanted to be. I’m not hesitant about my decisions anymore. I just do them. I am more motivated than ever. My dad is my motivation. I knew I would not let death win. It was NOT going to take over me. The sadness, the heartache, that madness, and everything else that comes with death. I wasn’t going to let it consume me. I was going to do everything to make him proud. I found the beauty in death. I learned that I will never be alone.  I don’t complain about the little things anymore, there are far more important/worse things to complain about.

When I talk to my friends I notice they feel the same way. Those people listed above are some of the strongest people I know. You don’t understand what “strong” means until you experience something traumatic in your life, whatever that may be. Strong doesn’t mean that we don’t show emotion or get upset, it’s a different kind of strong and it’s hard to explain. The type of strong that I see through each of them is something you should strive for. They’re caring, more caring than anyone I’ve ever met. They are understanding. Each of them are selfless. They would go above and beyond just see someone smile. Most of all each of them are open-minded, understanding, and accepting. We bend but don’t break. I will be forever grateful for them. Unknown.jpg

We take back our power.

Embrace the change.

Face our fears.

Respect the new normal. 


“Some of us think holding on is being strong but sometimes it’s letting go”

                                                                                                             -Hermann Hesse


Isaiah 40:31

SuicideSucks1*


So as I’m sitting here on a Friday night wearing one of my dads tshirts I figured I’d give y’all a lil somethin’ somethin’. People I’m not writing this to have a pity party or anything. I’m writing this because like I said in my about me I’m better at expressing myself when I don’t actually have to speak. (ask anyone)

PART I (stick with me people)

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On September 24th, 2016 the Berryhill household/world got flipped upside down with just two words…

“Dad’s gone.”

 9/24/16 was a typical Brooke day which consisted of playing volleyball, watching Tulsa football, and hanging with friends. After every volleyball game I played I would always call my dad to either 1. gloat about the win or 2. bitch about the loss and every time he would always give me a pep talk or advice that went beyond volleyball. So of course, I called my dad after the win against ECU and talked for about 30-45 minutes like always, and at the end we said “I love you” and he would always add “I‘m so proud of you and am excited to watch you play again“. If i had only known that was the last time I would hear his voice I would have never hung up the phone.

Later on that night, I decided to stay the night over at my boyfriend’s house. It was 4:55 AM when I got a phone call from my mom. I missed the first call, but I already knew something was up. We played phone tag for about five minutes since both of us were calling each other, and after what seemed like forever we finally got each other on the line. I didn’t even know what had happened, but the sadness and confusion and disbelief in my moms voice made my stomach drop right away. In the back of my head I was thinking someone got in a car wreck and they’re in the hospital or something along those lines. Never crossed my mind that a death had occurred.

Mom: “Dad’s not with us anymore…”

Me: “What do you mean? What happened?”

Mom: “Dad got really depressed.”

At that point, I froze. I was speechless. I think I sunk into the floor. I hung up the phone and laid it on the bed. Kolton (my boyfriend) was sitting up and just staring at me knowing something wasn’t right. I looked at him and lost my damn mind. I busted out into tears, yelling “why?! why?! why?!” and hitting him in the chest as he held me. (I’m honestly surprised I didn’t wake up his roommates.) A couple of minutes passed and I told him I had to go home. 30 minutes later with a frantic packing spree both of us were in the car on the road to Haslet.

I’m not lying when I say that 4 hour car ride felt like 6 because it did. Not only because of all the phone calls and text that were flooding in and the thoughts in my head, but traffic sucked. During those hours I went from sad, pissed, concerned, sad, pissed, concerned, and so on. Tears would randomly roll down my face without me saying a word because of thoughts and memories that were going through my head.

“How do I help keep this family together?”screen-shot-2017-03-03-at-10-36-44-pm

“God… He was such an amazing dad.”

“Who’s going to walk me down the aisle at my wedding?”

“How dare he do this to us?”

But one thought that wouldn’t leave my mind was how sad it’s going to be when I walk into my house. I hate being sad. I hate showing emotion. I hate talking about feelings with people, it’s just not my thing. We pulled into the driveway and it felt like people were staring out the window waiting for me to arrive. I put the car in park, looked at Kolton and asked, “are you ready?” he looked at me so confused and said, “are YOU ready?” I took a deep breath, turned off the car, and got out. Right away my two sisters come running outside. One tight hug after the other we walked inside. From that point on I knew it was only going to get worse. I walked through the door way where at least 50-60 people were sitting/standing in silence. Tear marks were stained on cheeks and everyone looked so pale. As I walked in, leading the way for Kolton, Hayden, and Camryn everyone’s heads turned towards me. If I made eye contact with someone their eyes would feel with tears or hands would cover their face.

During all of the hugs and condolences from everyone the only response I could give was…

“It sucks, but it’ll be okay. We’ll be strong.”

And that’s exactly what us girls did. That day felt like it was never ending. So many people were coming in and out of the house. Old faces, new faces, relatives, friends, police officers, fire fighters, coaches, teachers, and the list goes on. SO much food was brought to the house, but nothing compared to the amount of flowers my family received. (our house looked like a jungle, but it was the best smelling jungle you’ve ever smelt)

One thing I learned throughout this whole process is the amount of lives my dad touched. Whether it be large or small, good or bad, that man left an impact on everyone he met. Regardless if people liked him or not they still had respect for him. He was such an amazing man in SO many ways. The amount of people who showed up to his service with only a two-day notice was astonishing. The church said that they had never had a service with so many people.

When the doors opened for my family to be seated at the service I lost all control of my emotions (ask anyone I held it all together for like three before this) I broke down when I saw the amount of people who were there to support us. It took my breath away.

SO THANK YOU FOR EVERYONE THAT HELPED OUT THAT WEEK, BIG OR SMALL. Y’ALL ARE AMAZING AND WE’RE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL FOR YOU. SERIOUSLY.

Today my family and I are still healing. We will never be the same people that we were before. We will never be able to fill the hole in our hearts. Every 24th of the month will drive us crazy. We will have random breakdowns. We will hate the world and blame everything. We will laugh at the goofy memories from him. We will grow stronger each day. We will have an open heart and mind to everything from now on. We will always support each other. We will hate each other (sometimes). We will never forget him. We will ALWAYS be Berryhills.

At first I didn’t want anyone to know how my dad left this world. I was embarrassed for him img_0947and my family. It felt like my mom and sisters were trying to keep it a secret as to what really happened because we didn’t want people to think poorly of him. For my younger sister (Camryn) and I we didn’t want anyone to talk about it. Even the word suicide made us cringe. It was like we were ashamed.

It took me a couple of weeks to realize it, but if you knew my dad then you would never think anything different of him. The way he went about his life was a story of its own. He was such positive role model, advice giver, incredible host, wonderful dad/husband/coach/friend, and probably one of the most selfLESS people I have ever met or will meet in my entire life. People think that suicide is a selfish act, but those are also the same people who know nothing about it. To some extent yes it is, but for the most part suicide happens because they believe it will help their family or friends live a better life. I would suggest for people to actually research suicide instead of just assuming the worst. You will more than likely have a whole new outlook on it, I know I did.

It wasn’t until some girl in my psychology class that made me register this, but people tend to bypass depression until they actually experience something traumatic like a suicide death or attempt. Depression doesn’t just go away. People can’t just snap out of it. So for those of you that think that way STOP. Do your research and learn a few things.

Now for my dad, we don’t know if he was depressed or not. If he was we didn’t know or think anything about it because we didn’t know how to handle it. It could have been numerous things for him. One thing I know that will NEVER change is that I love him just as much as I did from that last phone call I had with him.

Just to clear the air:

  • NO, my parents weren’t having problems during this time
  • NO, money wasn’t an issue
  • NO, his job wasn’t at stake or anything along those line    

I mean c’mon people… my dad enjoyed driving his swagger wagon around town. He was a proud van owner.

My dad was an incredible man and if you got the chance to meet him you would agree. If you didn’t then just take the time to listen to all the great stories about him and you’ll understand why he was.

I love you, dad.

For those who are still struggling with the grieving process 

click the link above. It’s helped me. ^


John 14: 1-3