Monday, March 25, 2024

We always do, we always do.

 Because of my life circumstances, I've made a lot of new friends over the past few years, which in theory sounds really good.

It's awful.

A great many of the friends I've made are in the most horrible club imaginable. The Suicide Survivors Club. You do not want admission. Once you are in you forever wish you are out. You can never, ever leave.

One friend who is a very recent entrant to the club said to me, "I just have to make it through the funeral. If I can just get through the funeral it will be okay."

I didn't tell her she was wrong.

I remember feeling the same way. 

I remember the morning of my brother's memorial. I remember thinking that I had to stand up in front of people and say words and once I did that then it would be okay. I remember being so, so cold. I remember my body physically shaking I was so cold. The coldness did not go away, no matter what I tried.

I do not remember standing in front of the room, saying the words I had written.

I do not remember the words I said. At all. They are written down somewhere I'm sure, but my mind has buried them very deep, much like so many other things that have transpired since February 2022.

Late that night, after the memorial, after everyone had gone home I remember feeling so emotionally drained and exhausted I felt like I would never be able to get out of bed again. My body felt physically heavy. My soul felt heavier.

Since that day there have been many "firsts". The first time the 16th rolled around on the calendar again. It's been a month, I thought, and I don't feel better. Then it was his birthday. Then half a year. The first Thanksgiving. The first Christmas. Then it was a year.

Each time one of these firsts happened, I breathed a sigh of...relief? Maybe relief. I felt like, I have to get through this. I just have to make it through this and then it will be okay.

My new friend believed the funeral is the hard part.


The forever. 

The forever is the hard part.


The moments when no one remembers to ask if you are okay, because why wouldn't you be okay? It's been 768 days. You should be okay after 768 days, surely. 

The two seconds that you see your dead brother out of the corner of your eye, standing in the middle of the Sheetz, because that's a logical place that he would be. That you almost sprain your ankle trying to turn around quick enough to catch him, because he can't really be dead and he's just been hiding for 768 days. It's not him, it's never him, but those two seconds are the best two seconds of some days.

When the song that he loved comes on in the gym, right at the moment that you are struggling the most and you feel like you can't breathe. You think about him at sixteen years old, driving a little red car, blasting that tape in the tape deck, smiling and happy and okay, and it makes you gasp when you hear that song. It was so long ago, but it was also just yesterday. We were young and life was full of possibilities. Now he's gone and half of my life is gone too. For the next half I don't have a brother and that is impossible.

When you get a text from his son, telling you about things in his life and you are so proud, so damn proud of that kid, and there are these moments of absolute joy that you get to have this person in your life and also just pain that your brother, his dad, isn't here to experience it all too. 

When you touch the paintings, hanging on your walls. His blood, sweat, and tears are in those paintings and I think about how he lives on in his work, in his children, in his writing, in everything beautiful that he created. Masterpieces, all of it. I wish he could see it all. He could surely never feel like it wasn't enough, because look at all of it. Look at how beautiful it is.

It's the absolute, utter, gut-wrenching guilt. That I am here and most days I'm mostly okay. That I keep living and breathing and existing. That I have this terrible depression too, but I'm managing it. That my demons are different demons than his.

It's the first thing in the morning, when I open my eyes and randomly think about him.

It's the forever.


Forever is so long.


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