Zachary R. B. September 4, 2017. My big brother. My best friend. The one person who understood me. I wrote a post a few years ago on this site titled ‘I Wish it Was Me’. I don’t think about him as much as I used to. The pain has subsided and introduces itself in small increments every once and a while. Not the same pain. Different than before. I was 18. We shared everything together…… and by everything I’m referring to all of our sadness. The depression. What we really felt and how we viewed the world. How we felt shackled to the earth, destined to live out our days in misery. One night he had called me crying at 4 am. I didn’t care if I would have gotten in trouble by my parents at the time for leaving at such an ungodly hour. I went. No questions asked. I sat on his back porch smoking cigarettes with him that night while he told me everything. How he sat with his knees to his chest and his back against his bedside table every night in tears. Contemplating. Fighting himself. He expressed to me how badly he wanted to do it. I cried. I told him I knew exactly how he felt. And in tears with my heart clenched, I asked him to promise me. Promise he would never pull the trigger. He promised. After fighting the promise and shaking his head and telling me he couldn’t. He finally promised. And in tears I promised him as well. It hurt me at the time to promise such a thing. The shackles grew heavier. But I did. About a month after this discussion he pulled the trigger. It’s hard to remember all of the feelings I felt. I think the mind has a way of masking and burying those emotions deep down inside of your brain. You may have glimpses of the memory if you really think hard enough but you can never feel the exact pain again. I used to sit in bed in the fetal position and cry. The pain was so bad that it felt like I was paralyzed. Like somebody had shot me with a double barreled gun and I couldn’t get up. It’s all a fog now. My life has gone on. I dropped out of college after failing out. I used to skip class to go sit in my car and smoke weed and look at nothing. It was a miserable time. My entire dream of what I wanted to do with my life seemed so obsolete at the time. I regret that now. I’ve worked multiple jobs. I’ve continued battling depression. I’ve been kicked out of my parents home to try and motivate me to do more with my life. I went through not one but two evictions. I’ve lived in a car. I’ve slept outside. I’ve used my last 5 dollars on a pack of cigarettes. Out of all the chaos I became who I am today. I met someone. We shared our souls with one another. Professed our love for one another after three days time. Gone through one of those evictions together. Smoked that pack of cigarettes together. I got pregnant. I found out I was pregnant while I was couch hopping with my partner. My entire world was thrown out of order once again. We both knew what we had to do. We loved each other too much to let go of our creation. But we couldn’t raise our child the way we were living. A life of depression and squalor was no place for a child. No matter how much the parents love each other. We both worked two jobs. He found a nice high paying job. I found a job that I didn’t have to stand too long on my swollen pregnant feet. We worked as hard as we could and saved as much as we could. We bought cars. We started renting a home. We bought furniture. We gathered all of the necessary things we needed to start this baby’s life off the way we wanted and the way it deserved. I took my prenatal everyday. I went on walks. I ate how I was supposed to. I drank water how I was supposed to. We gave it our all. I delivered our beautiful baby girl via c section as my partner held my hand. The first thing I thought of: I will protect this child with all of my being. The second thing I thought of: she’s perfect. The third thing I thought of: I wish my brother were here to be her uncle. I wish he could see how I’m doing. He would be so proud of me. She’s 7 months old now and absolutely thriving. She is the smartest, silliest, and most importantly; the happiest little girl I’ve ever seen. Every day is more perfect than the last. She gave me purpose. I think of him from time to time. How I wish he could have been a part of her life. How he would have made the most amazing uncle. How he always wanted to be a father and for our children to grow up together and be best friends. Would my life be the same if he hadn’t have pulled the trigger that night? Would I still have met my soul mate. Would we have learned how to thrive by each other’s sides. Would we have been given this beautiful miracle. I’m not sure. I am thankful for all of the things he taught me while living. I’m thankful I had him by my side when he was. I’m thankful for all of the things he taught me after he did what he did. And I’m thankful for his impact on my life. The good and the bad. His life meant something.