After leaving my mom, everything was different. I felt a bigger void than the one that was already there. I missed her now more than ever. Since I left I felt like we talked every week, instead of every month. It was great to hear her voice, and just hear her say I love you. About a month later, my mom made arrangements with my aunts to have me travel to Vegas for Thanksgiving with her side of the family. Thankfully, my aunts agreed. The plan was to have me spend Thanksgiving with my dad's side of the family and travel to Vegas the following day to spend the weekend with my moms side of the family. I was excited and beyond grateful, I was going to see her again, sooner than I thought... OR so I thought.
As an adult now, I feel lost and I feel like my life was built around lies. Those lies might have been to keep me safe so that I wouldn't get hurt, but did it really? If you read my previous story, you'll understand.
Coming to terms with the death of my family (Part one) Trigger Warning:Family Trauma
TW: Update on my open letter:
TRIGGER WARNING: This letter is dedicated and intended for my baby brother who committed suicide. I miss him every single day. Please know grief is not easy and it comes in different waves, forms, and has no filter. If you are grieving.. please give yourself grace. If you know someone needs help—do what you can to help them. If you have ever been in a situation of wanting to take your own life, please know you are loved. Life is tough, unfair, and just out right hard to handle. But—Please get help. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed. Please reach out to someone. We want you here. I want you here. I send you so much love and so much light—and so many prayers.
We played all of your favorite songs and some of our own softly by your head all night. I laid by your side in that little hospital bed, my hand resting gently on your little chest. I wanted to feel your heart beating as much as I could before it was given away. The sound of beeping varied on the machines and the medication was altered more than a hundred times to keep you going, but only to make sure you could save the lives of others. We were far past the point of saving you. You were somewhere else, somewhere far more beautiful and serene than that tiny room, but we were here with just your little body, trying to keep your organs going.
I remember like it was yesterday. It was a Friday and I had just dropped off my son at daycare because my unit had a training holiday. I just got home and went to my room to relax a little bit before I went to go run errands. My dad was in the back yard mowing the lawn and my mom went to go outside to check on my dad because she didn’t hear the lawnmower anymore. I went to the back to see if my parents needed anything before, I went to go run my errands. I saw my dad lying on his hip on the ground.
"Gabriel is dead." Mama says with a regret I don't quite understand. "Okay." I say. I hand her the steaming cup of coffee I've just prepared and sit down on her bed. She looks as if she's going to cry. "Are you okay, mama?" I ask. It's a stupid question but I don't know what else to say to her. I can't bring myself to even pretend that I'm sad. Mama sips her coffee, "He died alone." She mumbles. "Ma, you did everything you could do for him and you gave him far more than he deserved. He made his own decisions and that's not your fault." I say and stare down at the floor. I don't want her to look into my eyes and see my lack of grief or my annoyance at her ever-bleeding heart. "You know his friend Karl... Karl said his kids took over everything then left him alone to die. Nobody knows where his body is. Karl said they might've shipped it somewhere south and had him cremated... they left him to die alone... Nobody deserves that." Mama says and begins to cry. I nod, "Nobody deserves that but it isn't like he didn't put himself in that position. He told you he didn't want your help anymore. What could you have done for him after he said that?"
Have you ever had a life-changing moment in your life that just leaves you breathless? So deep that when you think of it, your hear skips a beat and it takes you just a moment to gather your thoughts? Your stomach does a flip, you may feel a bit shaky and thinking is just something that you cannot do, let alone speak.
I wrote these words on my blog (here) four years ago; but they still ring true. I was reminded of this piece because a friend of mine is coming close to her own first anniversary milestone. We all get to a point in life when we grieve someone, when we have to face big life occasions without them. If you're there, I hope you find comfort in knowing that you're not alone - our journeys and timelines may be different, but the landmarks can be the same.