Just Another Day at Walmart by Denise Tyriver

posted in: Uncategorized | 26

I looked around at all of the faces while my other Mom and I stood in line to check out.  The young couple with the brand new baby; the man who had to get around the store in the motorized scooter; the lady with the long weave that was red and yellow and the lady behind us with the adorable little girl.  Everyone was living their lives, buying Easter baskets and candy, greeting cards, Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, toilet paper….all of those things that make life, well life.  Just another day at Walmart!

But as I stared at those people,  I wondered how they could go on with their mundane tasks of Walmart shopping when I was standing here surrounded by my grief. When my heart was overwhelmed with sadness for my Mom and my family. When a limb from our family tree had broken off in the abrupt and deadly wind.  Didn’t these shoppers know I was mourning? Didn’t they know that they needed to not be so normal? Didn’t they know that inside I was screaming?

On Saturday, March 19, 2016 my Stepfather took his own life.  He had dealt with depression for quite a while.  His job was very stressful, especially in the last two years under different supervision, his relationship with his parents was broken, and he used alcohol as medication. I know that the demons inside of his head, mixed with vodka is what caused him to take that final step.  The one that made him say “enough is enough”; “I’m done”; “no one will care anyways”; “I’m worthless”; “I’m a burden to my family”.

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At times, he was a burden. You didn’t know which guy you were going to get.  The sweet, funny, quirky helpful one or the one who had self-medicated and slurred a few words.  But he was never worthless.  Never did we want him gone. Never did we want him to say “I’m done”.  And the demons were wrong….we do care. And so many others do as well as evidenced by the over 200 people who showed up to his Celebration of Life Service.

He was a smart man. Brilliant many have said.  He worked tirelessly to make the lives of our soldiers better. He developed projects that helped to save their lives. Besides his family, his entire world revolved around the Green Suiters.  The military has lost one of their more formidable advocates.  Our family has lost a presence for the past 26 years.

The saying “he’d give you the shirt off of his back” was created for him. That’s the kind of guy he was. Always wanting to help. Always wanting to make life better for someone.  I remember one time making a dumb comment about a waitress in a small town restaurant. I don’t even recall what it was but I do recall how upset he was at me and how he defended this young woman he didn’t even know.  He was always a proponent of the underdog and fought tirelessly for them.

He has, in one way or another whether financially or through physical labor supported everyone in our family.  If someone was in need of a computer, he found one.  A car? He gave one to someone for minimal cost because he cared about her future. Food? Always handing someone food. Always trying to feed someone.  Always wanting to nurture.  The times I tossed him out of my kitchen for “helping”.

He was a quirky guy but much of that can be attributed to the fact that he was truly brilliant.  We’ve all been around people like this. So smart that they can’t hold a regular conversation? That was him.  He would try to explain something to you but you’d tune out within minutes because he used words that you never heard of. He wasn’t doing it to show off his intellectual superiority. He was doing it because it was all he knew.

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Depression started to change him and it finally took full hold.  He is at peace now but has left behind a slew of people who are wondering what happened. Why. Him? No way. Not him. Scratching our heads. Wiping our eyes. And wondering how to move forward.

Worthless? No.  Loved greatly? Yes.  Not cared about? No. Missed terribly.  Yes!  The demons have lost control over him and now, he can truly rest in peace.

And when we see him again, and we believe we will, I believe he will have finally realized how much he was loved and cared about.

 

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This piece was originally written for dktyriver

26 Responses

  1. Tama Morgam
    | Reply

    Wonderful words and well said Denise….. Tama

    • Denise
      | Reply

      Thanks Tama! It’s been a tough few weeks.

  2. Lisa Glenn
    | Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. More and more, I am seeing suicide of all ages be the “answer” of choice. Would they truly hurt the ones they love so much? I believe those who commit suicide are not selfish as some believe. They are tormented and the chemicals in their bodies have changed- they are out of whack. They can truly see no other way to make things better.
    My heart breaks for those who are suffering. Those who long for the peace they cannot find and for those who are left behind to wonder “Why?” What could I have done differently?” to doubt God.
    Let me assure you as these events have so recently touched my life, that God knows our sorrow and pain. He knows our every thought, and what breaks our hearts breaks His.
    I think we will always question and wonder. Our pain will turn to all the memories, good and bad, but hopefully, rest on the memories that make us smile.
    Peace be with you.

    • Denise
      | Reply

      Lisa….I wasn’t able to respond before. Needed to step back from it (or so I thought). Thank you for your words and for understanding that suicide is not a selfish act. If those who made that decision were “ok” emotionally, mentally, chemically and more they wouldn’t do this to their families. Have to believe that. Thanks again for commenting and reaching out! Denise~

  3. Joy Robinette
    | Reply

    I am so sorry, I had no idea. I loved him, I remember when he would come in the restaurant. He was so nice and funny. So sorry for your loss. I know what you mean about being in Walmart or somewhere and everybody going about their business and I am just falling apart and you think “don’t they know.” Well said. I will be praying for you and your family.

    • Denise
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      Joy, Sweet Joy….thank you! I hadn’t even thought about those who knew him from Ole Hickory from all of the years but yes, so many of you! Thank you for your sweet words. Love you friend!

  4. Kate
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    I remember that feeling well. The first time I understood why people grieving during WW II times wore black armbands. I pray you are gentle with yourself during these days of grief and invite others to be gentle with you as well.

    • Denise
      | Reply

      Thank you Kate. “Gentle with yourself”…such a wonderful phrase. I will share that with my Mom, too.

  5. Margaret
    | Reply

    how beautiful, hugs to you and your family

    • Denise
      | Reply

      Thank you Margaret. Hugs always welcome. (if this is Margaret that I know….Perry’s sis….my prayers are with you all right now, too!!!)

  6. Robin Lee
    | Reply

    I adore you and I am so, so sorry. Thanks for sharing, I wonder about you often.

    • Denise
      | Reply

      Thank you Robin! The feeling is mutual, believe me!! I haven’t been able to respond to these comments until right this moment. Two months ago it happened….still not sure how we are all dealing. Well? Some days. Other days….tense. Stressed. Sad. Life can be crazy. And then so beautiful, too. Appreciate you friend!

  7. Amy Beard
    | Reply

    You did a wonderful job writing that Denise! We have been and will continue to pray for your family!

    • Denise
      | Reply

      Thank you Amy. Love you and your family!

  8. Teresa
    | Reply

    I wish you peace in your grief. So sad that he didn’t reach out to someone for help. What a wonderful piece you wrote I cried for you. So nice that he had a great funeral that honored him.

    • Denise
      | Reply

      Thank you so much! It is sad. So sad! And so many go through this. Depression is a very real thing. He did have a wonderful Celebration of Life. He would have been so touched.

  9. Mindy Newbauer
    | Reply

    Denise,

    This is absolutely beautiful and well written! Your dad was truly a HERO and an inspiration to some many of US! I am but one small soul that was blessed beyond measure with the opportunity to learn from such a gentle genius!! I love and miss him dearly!! You guys remain in my prayers for comfort and peace!

    • Denise
      | Reply

      Mindy, I think about you often and wonder how you are doing. For those of you at work, you saw him every single day….has to be so hard. He thought the world of you and I’m so glad you were able to learn under his brilliance! Wish you the very best! And that your job will know what a treasure they have in you!!

  10. Lric
    | Reply

    Good job, Denise. Thanks for letting us see what’s in your heart. May God multiply this story in our hearts to make a difference in the lives of others around us.

  11. Di
    | Reply

    So sorry for the loss of this loved one this way. I hope many people will read this heartfelt and well written part of you and your families hearts. Thank you for sharing to make a difference in lives. Love you and will pray for some peace for family.

    • Denise
      | Reply

      Thank you friend! Love you, too!!

  12. Teresa Gaught-Hicks
    | Reply

    Beautifully written Denise….love and prayers to you and your family!!

    • Denise
      | Reply

      Thank you Teresa! Hope that you are doing well!!

  13. Reta Tumlin
    | Reply

    Denise, this is so touching. I am so sorry for you all. I know this is hard. My step-dad took his life. My brother took a slower route with alcohol and drugs, but it was still painful. The world was just too much for him. I share genetic depression with him and other members of my family. It is a terrible, scary affliction with many dark places. My thoughts, prayers, and love for all of you.

    • Denise
      | Reply

      Reta, I didn’t know that about your Step-Dad. Depression runs a bit on both sides of our family so it’s a conscientious thing for us to stay ahead of it. I appreciate you sharing with me. And appreciate your thoughts, prayers and love!!

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