Ryan is a great dad and a spectacular human being, and he loved his son Alex with all of his heart.
When Alex passed away from suicide, Ryan experienced intense guilt and pain and considered suicide himself.
And now Ryan wants to share his story with the Suicide.org community because he wants to offer hope for others who are going through what he went through.
Ryan, God bless you, brother. You are an awesome person and you are a GREAT dad to Alex … and you have ALWAYS been a great dad to Alex.
I am honored that you are a friend of mine.
I love you Ryan,
Founder, Executive Directorr, Editor-in-Chief
My Son Killed Himself with My Gun:
The Guilt and Pain Overwhelmed Me
by Ryan (Alex’s Dad) and Kevin Caruso
I thought it was a good idea…buying a handgun to defend my family in case of a break in. I felt safer with the gun, and so did my wife.
But it was the stupidest and most irresponsible thing that I have ever done in my life.
Alex, my wonderful son, shot himself in the head with my gun; the gun that was supposed to protect him. Could I have been any stupider or more irresponsible?
My wife called me at work to tell me what happened, and I was so overcome with emotion that I thought I was going to faint. I couldn’t believe it. And I immediately knew that the suicide was my fault. I let Alex down, and I wished I was dead.
My downward spiral started with that phone call. I couldn’t handle what happened; I couldn’t handle the pain; and I couldn’t handle the guilt.
So I began to drink heavily and started overeating – and I soon gained almost 100 pounds.
I became depressed. I didn’t care about anything. I just wanted to die.
I thought about killing myself often. I would constantly think about different ways I could end my miserable life. But I mostly thought about shooting myself in the head. I wanted to die like Alex did.
And my life just kept falling apart. My job performance dropped. My social life was nonexistent. And I neglected my family – I became a horrible father and a horrible husband.
Most of all, it was the guilt that was destroying me. I could never forgive myself for putting the gun in the house and for making it accessible to Alex.
Alex was a very shy young man. He didn’t talk much about how he was feeling. He was just so reserved. So why didn’t I talk to him more? That was another stupid and irresponsible thing that I did. I was his father. I should have known that he was depressed. I just didn’t spend enough time with him. I failed Alex in every way possible. I don’t think I could have been a worse father or friend to him than I was.
And now he is gone forever.
Things got so bad that my wife was getting ready to divorce me. And I wouldn’t have blamed her if she did. I don’t know how she (and the rest of the family) put up with me after the suicide. I was a different person, not the person she married, just some slouch who could no longer function.
I hated myself.
I eventually saw a psychiatrist, although I had resisted that for a long time. Things went slowly at first, but then I started to open up. It was hell. I talked about the guilt, about my failings as a father, and about the pain.
I was eventually prescribed some antidepressants too. They didn’t seem to do much, so he kept changing the dosages and even the meds. I felt like a guinea pig, but eventually they helped too.
I didn’t really begin to feel significantly better for about a year. The clouds started to lift a bit.
But it took me over four years before I really started to get my head screwed on straight. By then I lost most of the weight that I gained. I had joined AA and stopped drinking. And I started to realize that maybe the suicide wasn’t my fault after all.
It is now almost 10 years after the suicide and my life is much better. I still struggle with emotions from the suicide and I miss Alex very much, but I am glad that I did not kill myself. I do have a lot to live for.
And I know that Alex would want me to live my life too.
I want to tell everyone who lost someone to suicide that things will get better.
Ryan, you are an intelligent and caring person and you are a GREAT dad.
Thank you very much for sharing your story and for your honesty.
And thank you for offering hope and encouragement to other suicide survivors.
I love you and care for you more than you could imagine.
God bless you,
If you or someone you know is suicidal, please go to the Home Page of this website for immediate help.
I love you.