Subject: The Day My Brother Committed Suicide
Unconsciously we expect things to be a certain way, and that the ones we love will be here forever. For me, forever fell apart.
It’s been 9 months today since my brother took his own life, but it still feels like yesterday. On May 16, he was supposed to turn 36… he only made it to 35. Two years apart- we were born on the same day. This year was the first that I had to celebrate without him, and exactly one year since the last time we talked. Ever since the day he went away, nothing has been the same. When people ask me how I feel, truth be told- I don’t know. There are no words powerful enough to describe how I feel, no words strong enough to heal my pain… and no one like my brother that can ever fill the empty space in my heart. It’s like being in a different time and universe, watching the rest of the world move on like nothing ever happened. It’s so surreal.
Not only did I lose my brother that day, I lost a piece of my family… No matter how much I pray that time will heal and that things will get back to normal- how it used to be, I know it won’t.
I was in Sweden visiting family and friends when I found out that my brother had committed suicide. After years of struggling with drug addiction, he just couldn’t take it anymore. He was in
Psychiatric Inpatient Care at a hospital when he decided to end his life. I never got the chance to see him that summer before he died, and it really hurts. I will never know if it would’ve made any difference, but the thought of it breaks my heart- a little more for each day passed. I desperately went through his only two plastic bags of belongings, looking for some sort of note, letter or anything- But there was nothing. I just have to accept that I will never know where his thoughts were in that moment, or the final straw that made him come to the conclusion… What
caused the moment to lose all hope? Or maybe it wasn’t just the moment?
So many questions without an answer.
I can only assume. And in the middle of all this, my flight back to LA and school had to be rescheduled. I had to make a decision fast, whether or not I wanted to continue my education in LA or move back to Sweden. I booked another flight that gave us about two more weeks to plan for the funeral and everything that comes with it. The following weeks went by slowly. Mom and I spent hours, even days in front of the TV, but I’m sure none of us would’ve been able to recall the name of any show that we watched that week. The couch became a therapy zone where we dwelled our thoughts and emotions. We spent days organizing all the practical things, so much that I think it served more than just one purpose. Somehow, we had to find ways to survive the emotional shock.
Grief is personal.
You don’t believe that it’s real when you lose someone that close to you, and I think it’s part of the process. The most bizarre part is when you have to choose a casket for the funeral, clothes you wish to see them in before you say your last goodbye, an urn for the remains of your loved one- a poem to describe your whole life together in just a few sentences… at the same time you’re trying to process the loss of your loved one to suicide. There is no right way to grieve, no time-limits for how long we need to process loss, and some people experience more complicated grief than others. I was co-dependent before I could even spell the word, and I lost my brother to drug addiction long before he died. The saddest and the hardest part to accept is that I don’t remember the last time he was happy.
For each day passed, I miss him even more.
When people ask me how I found the strength to get back upon my feet, and start school only a month after my brother died- I tell them that I didn’t. Strength found me. I don’t have any super powers, neither does my mom, my dad or my younger brother… You just live.