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