Twice.

I had two siblings. My sister was 4 years older, my brother was 6 years older. My sister was always mentally challenged. My parents would tell me to imagine her brain in a wheelchair. I felt as though she always took my attention because of it. Mid-October, I was in my 8th grade english class. The day had gone by pretty well and it was almost over. That’s when the school counselor came in, told me to get my stuff and follow her upstairs. I had recently had severe back surgery and had just come back to school, so I thought it had something to do with that. However, once I got to the conference room, I saw my mom in tears, with my dad on the phone, since he was in California for work. I asked what was wrong, and my mother told me the words I thought I would never hear. Your sister committed suicide. She’s gone. I broke. My heart sunk. After what felt like hours in that room, I got to go home. It was a Thursday, and while someone would normally miss a ton of school because of this, I had already had surgery and missed a lot of school. I went back on Monday. This is why I am the best fake smiler. I had my best friends come over and stay with me each night just to chat and keep my mind distracted. The day I found out, we watched Twilight. I couldn’t get 3 minutes without crying. Life sucked. I had to figure out this new normal. I had to go to family therapy, then individual therapy. Luckily, even though it wasn’t identical, my brother was grieving such a similar loss. That’s why my heart was shattered a year and a half later. I was at youth group. I called my mom to come pick me up, and I sensed something was wrong. I asked her and she said nothing. My dad picked me up, as he had been working out. We get home and I run in to say hi to my mom and eat dinner. But instead of finding my mom cooking dinner, I found her sitting on the floor with a victim police officer. I was so confused. She rushed me to collect money for petsitting at my neighbors, and I reluctantly did so, while my mom talked to my dad. I was texting my guy best friend, and was freaking out. I told him, “this feels exactly like when I got called to the office for them to tell me about my sister”. When I got back, I wasn’t allowed in the house. The victims officer tried to chat to me and ask me what I did, but of course I thought it was gonna be used against me in court, so I said nothing. She told me that my parents were ready for me inside. I opened the door to see my two parents, normally filled with joy, sobbing and seemingly broken. They only had to say 4 words. I knew. “Its [your brother]. He’s gone.” I had a different reaction. I didn’t break down this time. I screamed. I punched. I kicked. The only word that I seemed to be able to say was “no.”. My parents tried to hug me. I tried to push them away with all my force, still screaming “no”. After my energy was completely drained, I tried to go upstairs. They wouldn’t let me. I had to be downstairs. This time I didn’t have a sibling to share the grief with. My parents are grieving a different loss than I am. I lost my 2 best friends, the rule-follower uncle my brother would’ve turned to be, and the crazy aunt that randomly shows up at your door that my sister would’ve become. My brother passed on March of 2019. With both of their losses, It has made me feel alone. However, I have 2 stories of hope that have come because of this. In 8th grade, during late winter, one 7th grade girl in my choir class had a suicidal brother. He was scaring her, and she had no idea what to do. She reached out to me, and because I talked her through it, her brother lived. This second story of hope hit me hard. I got an app to make snapchat friends. I thought nothing of it. Until one night, this one guy I had added seemed upset in a selfie he took. Nothing that anyone would normally notice, but watching 2 siblings go through suicidal attempts for many years trains you. I asked him what was wrong. He was on the verge of suicide. This guy had a knife, and was ready for it. But I was talking to him, checking on him every minute, sending him encouraging things. I knew I had to help him. I was so worried about him. He said he was feeling better and that he had to sleep now. I made him promise that he was actually going to bed and not just saying that. Fast forward about a week or two later. He reaches out to me. Only a few words. “You know you saved me, right?” I was confused, blowing that night off as just emotions and hormones running high. However, he was serious. He told me I had saved his life, and he was just about to sign off of snapchat for the last time, when I had asked if he was ok. All people need is one person to listen. Be that one person. I never thought the pain I’ve endured as a 15-year-old would help me in any way. But it has saved multiple lives, and will continue to save lives. Have hope. Listen. Check in on your friends. Spread love and positivity.

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