This morning I woke up with puffy eyes – the same puffy eyes that I woke up to every night for at least 2 weeks straight after he took his life by hanging. I looked in the bathroom mirror and saw a face still dealing with the pain of loss. It’s hard to imagine that it has been 7 months without Eli. The permanent absence of his laugh, of his smile, of my favorite arm to hold, is hurtful. The pain of the loss of my big brother who was so close to my heart and soul is gut wrenching. I look around see the pictures I have scattered around my apartment, which now collect dust. Sometimes, I can be superficial and remember good memories. Sometimes, I stare at them in anguish. I get this feeling in the back of my throat like I shouldn’t be breathing when he is not around. How could this be my life? How does this even happen? How is he just.. GONE. He’s not even on this Earth anymore, how could that even f’ing be?! Escalating feelings of unfairness and sorrow well up inside. Then I have to let them go.
This roller coaster happens probably every week, but I think of him every day. I hear people say this a lot, and didn’t know what it meant, but it’s so so true. I think about him EVERY DAY!!! When I went hiking in Colorado last week, when I go running, when I make smoothies, when I go to bed, when I eat a sweet potato, when I talk to my incomplete family, when I consider working in psychiatry (but right now I say nope, can’t handle that). I think of my wonderful, loving brother every time. I let myself feel the pain, then I let it go. This is how I survive.
I feel more anxiety now than I ever did before. I don’t feel as confident anymore. I try not to bury feelings, but it happens anyway. I’m just surviving in this world now. Now that I’ve lost a loved one to suicide, no one can relate – not even my own family members grieve the same way that I do. However, through the pain I hold my family closer to my heart than ever before. I actually think I value the average human life more than ever before. There is something sweet to every sour. A soft side to every sword. We live with both. That is humanity. Learning to deal with hardship is a lesson we all learn. Every person has their own hardship, and we have to stand strong together and wipe each other’s tears so that we can all move forward. I hope all of us can someday be an advocate for stopping suicide. We have to speak out and make a change, because nobody should have to experience the pain of loss like this.