A Father’s Influence

On December 26, 2005, my father attempted a fifth suicide that killed him. In the years since, his death has shaped my life significantly.

My father was born premature and doctors believe that his bones never developed fully. He had upwards of 30 surgeries ranging from his ankles to his neck, and everywhere in-between, seriously. He slowly developed a dependency on pain killers and sleeping pills due to the extreme pain he was constantly in. He attempted suicide several times by taking an overdose of pain killers, and eventually successful by carbon monoxide poisoning.I have had to live four, almost five, long years without him. He always tried his hardest to provide for my family. He was a great father because he always wanted to know what was going on in our lives and took us out to bond and spend time together.

The quality time I now spend with my family and friends I cherish deeply. I quickly had to become a fatherless child and the only man in my immediate family. Through his struggle with depression, I have learned to lead a more positive and caring outlook on life and try to transfer that energy to others. His love of food still resonates with me, along with a myriad of other dear memories that I will always remember. I have become such a strong person after seeing and dealing with so much devastation, and I do not let that get me down, instead, I learned from it. There are the days where all I want is for him to come back, but I have accepted the fact that he is not. My father, Jim Baumgardner, is the most influential and significant person in my life and I know that his spirit is always with me.

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