“My dad, Kenny Mills, passed away on August 1st, 2021 at 53 years old.
He was a US Marines Corp veteran and proud Delta Tech Ops employee for 30 years. I was so proud of this that I constantly told anyone who would listen, even at 31 years old.
When I was growing up, we were inseparable, from quick stops at a gas station to catching a movie during school hours (once or twice). He showed how amazing music could be and we bonded over our love for heavy metal, unreleased songs, and rare footage of concerts. He would scour eBay to find me a VHS tape of a Nirvana concert in 1992 just for a surprise gift on a Tuesday.
He was also an avid video gamer. He worked 3rd shift my entire childhood/teen years and you could always count on seeing Dad sitting on the living floor playing Xbox while my brother and I got ready for school. One of my favorite photos was of an infant me watching in awe as he played a primitive baseball game, and he passed his love of video games and music onto my brother and me.
Our worlds were rocked by his sudden death. He had recently experienced an unexpected and devastating shift in his life, which left him unsure how to move on.
He took his own life on August 1st, 2021. My dad is such a loving, hilarious, and considerate man that I don’t want his last decision to define who he is. We spoke a lot in the past about normalizing conversations about mental health issues and I’d like to keep that going to honor him.
It can be hard to see the signs that someone is struggling, even when you’re distinctly watching that person. Thoughts of self-harm can distort your perception so severely that you truly can’t see all the options, which is why open discussion and early intervention is crucial. This allows you to be there as your loved one’s North Star, to help them see through the clouds and hold on until they are thinking more clearly again.
I know my dad would’ve made a different choice if he could’ve waited for the clouds to pass and support to get to him. I would’ve moved Heaven and Earth to get to him.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling please reach out to family/friends, local or national crisis lines or your local crisis stabilization unit. The world is a better place with you here.”
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255 (Press 1 for veterans)
– Heather Ashley
Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]