What I Learned from My Brother’s Suicide (SiblingsSurvivors Guest Post)

Two years and 10 months ago, my brother killed himself.
He was 23 years old.
He had his whole life ahead of him.
And it was all over in an instant.
To be exact, I have not seen my brother in 1,041 days.
And in those 1,041 days, I have had a lot of time to think.
To think about the night “it” happened, and the moment I found out.
The moment that changed my life forever.
To think about all those years leading up to that moment.
And what I could’ve done differently.
I’ve replayed that night over and over again in my mind.
“Zachary took one of my guns and killed himself.”
My whole world spun.
I collapsed to the hard concrete.
Instantly my body was filled with a fierce cold.
Even though it was a painfully hot southern summer night.
It was the moment that altered my life forever.
And from that moment I have learned many lessons, three of which I will share with you today.
Lesson #1: Life is worth living.
I don’t care who you are or where you have been or what you’ve done, life is worth living. I don’t care how depressed you are, suicide is not the answer.There is always a reason to hold on. There is always a reason to keep fighting.
If you are someone who has considered suicide or see it as a viable option, you have to understand that your decision will affect people more than you realize.Even if you truly believe that no one will care, no one will miss you, or people would be happier if you were gone — You. Are. Wrong.
I guarantee you. If you think I am flat out wrong, I encourage you to open up to someone in your life and tell them that you are considering suicide. Allow at least one person into your pain, into the darkest confines of your mind, and perhaps you will feel less alone and perhaps that person will help you understand why you need to stay.
And if you don’t feel like you have anyone in your life who you can go to (which I highly doubt), there are amazing resources out there to support you in this pain. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1–800–273–8255.
Lesson #2: You are not alone in your pain.
The biggest lie depression will tell you is that you are alone.
This is incredibly false.
Everyone has something. The more you get to know people, the more you realize that everyone is struggling to survive in some capacity. Maybe you too have lost a loved one. Maybe you lost your job and are struggling financially. Maybe you lost a friendship or a romantic relationship. Maybe you struggle with chronic depression, social anxiety, insecurity, loneliness, etc.
I can guarantee you that whatever you’re going through, no matter how specific or how highly personal the situation may be, there is at least one other person out there in the world who knows what you are feeling, who has experienced what you have experienced, and who is willing to help you get to the other side.
I’ve always heard that life has a tendency to repeat itself, and the older I get, the more I realize how true this is. If life just keeps repeating itself, and if there are people out there who have faced what we have faced, why don’t we leverage the wisdom of those people?
Buy a self-help book, listen to a podcast, see a therapist — I don’t care what you do. Just do something. Just start somewhere. Better yet, start now.
Find a way to leverage the wisdom of those who have gone before you, those who have already known the pain of what you’re experiencing and can save you days, months, and years of more pain by guiding you through whatever you are going through.
Lesson #3: Gratitude is the only path to happiness.
Happiness does not lead to gratitude.
Gratitude leads to happiness.
We can focus on the fact that we lost my brother after 23 short years, or we can make the decision to be grateful for the 23 years he gave us.
You can focus on the relationship that suddenly came to an end, or you can focus on what you learned from that relationship and how it changed you for the better.
You can focus on the job that you lost, or you can channel all of your frustration and energy into finding something else.
Everyday when you wake up in the morning, you have a choice.
You can focus on what’s going wrong in your life.
Or you can strive to seek the light.
You can allow yourself to be filled to the brim with negativity.
Or you can strive to seek the light.
I don’t care who you are, you have a reason to be grateful.
Even if it’s only, “I am grateful for two eyes to see the world around me” —
That’s still something.
Life is worth living. You are not alone in your pain. And gratitude is the only path to happiness.
If you don’t know where to begin, start with those three simple concepts.
Keep repeating these phrases to yourself, even if you don’t believe them.
Life is worth living.
You are not alone in your pain.
And gratitude is the only path to true, lasting happiness.
If no one has told you this today, I am glad you are here.
I am happy you are alive.
You have a reason for being here.
A mission, a purpose.
And I hope you give yourself enough time on this planet to find that purpose.
Someone Who Cares
Contact the author:
Haley Hoyle

3 thoughts on “What I Learned from My Brother’s Suicide (SiblingsSurvivors Guest Post)

  1. Beautifully said. I’m struggling with the loss of my brother 16 months ago and when I struggle I grasp for the light. However dim it is. Some days are so painful! I need to go through the greiving process but keep my focus on fighting the good fight. Acceptance, foregiveness, love and light. Your 3 points are inspirational from many perspectives. I have to continually choose to be better not bitter. Thank you.❤

  2. Thank you so much for this. I’m going to try and print this out and hand out copies to my 3 brothers… we just lost our brother on Friday to suicide. It’s an unbearable pain and I’m only a few days in. The other brothers have all contemplated (or attempted) suicide in the past at some point as well, so I’m so scared of losing another. I’m going to tell them about this site. We all need support from people who “get it”.

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