Honoring my dad, my hero.

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My name is Gianna and I’m from New Jersey.

I considered myself to have a pretty normal/ average life with my mom, dad, brother, and other friends and family playing a huge role in my life. I thought that something like suicide could never impact me and my average life. It was always something that happened to other people who were not close to me; until it directly impacted me.

My dad was truly one of a kind. We had a special bond that grew and grew as I got older. At some of his toughest times, he looked to me as his voice of reason, there to listen and guide him out of his dark places. It took a toll on me at times, but I was happy to do it. My dad did so much for me and my family, I felt so good to have this special connection with him and to be able to help him in return. He taught me so much about life and love, important values and lessons, and never ceased to spread his wisdom. We really bonded over music; we always knew what song was coming on just from 2 or 3 seconds of the introduction. He showed me strength, wisdom, bravery, love, support, and the importance of family.

My dad, the jokester, who had the most infectious laugh, was secretly battling his demons. Depression was taking over his life in a way that didn’t quite look like depression, in a way that we thought it was grief. He was sad, but functioning. He was there, but he kind of wasn’t. He was losing his strength and his bravery. And we had no idea what was really going on until the morning he went missing.

It breaks my heart to think my dad thought this world, our family, and this life would be better off without him.

I have always wanted to help people, but now as a Licensed Social Worker, I have made it my most meaningful goal to spread education and bring awareness to all things suicide: noticing the signs of someone who may be struggling or considering it, how to bring this huge problem to the world’s attention, and to always lend an ear for someone who needs to talk. If I could just help 1 person, I would feel like I made a difference in this world.

Be observant, be kind, spread love and bring awareness of these issues to those around you because you never know who may be suffering in silence.

You are not alone and your story doesn’t have to end here; keep going.

Story submitted by Gianna.

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