I lost my only sibling July 25, 2002. From that day forward I found myself grieving the loss of the memories that I longed to have. This impacts me to this day. I want to offer hope that you can become stronger through this loss. The number one thing I did after losing my brother to suicide was to journal. During the first six months after my loss, I often wrote my raw emotions. This was not easy. I now realize that it was courageous. It was necessary and so helpful. I don’t think I would be where I am today without my journals.
I find that it is difficult to continue to grieve the reality that I can’t have a relationship with my brother. I also realize that my current relationships are impacted by this loss. I find that I am not satisfied with surface level conversation. I want that deep relationship. Not everyone understands this and it is difficult to communicate.
The greatest hope I have to offer those who are recently going through a suicide loss is the idea that each of us go through loss at a different pace. We can’t rush things. I realized that I needed to go through my emotions. Sometimes this was incredibly difficult.
An illustration that really helps me think about this is the effort that it takes for a new highway to be built that needs to go through a mountain. I can only imagine how much effort and specific attention is needed to make that happen. This is similar to my own journey through this grief. It isn’t easy. It isn’t pretty. No one wants to do the work, but I’m the only one who can do it.
If I could only share two things that helped me in my journey I would talk about the importance of journaling and how important exercise was to my recovery. I didn’t always want to go for a walk or run, but it was very helpful in providing the energy to do the rest of my life.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was on the summer break before my senior year of college. It rocked my world and almost immediately took away my energy. Any type of exercise helped provide the energy and the strength to do what I needed in my classes.
Going back to college and finishing school was a great decision for me. I believe that if I would have stayed at home I would have felt sorry for myself and I would have been stuck in my grief. Taking that step and going to back to school even if it meant I needed to drop a few classes so I could make it through was worth it.
I know that my choice to go through, not around, my grief and my emotions is what helped me to become who I am today. My mission in life is to help those who are going through suicide loss.
I am a therapist and I am in the final process of writing my memoir called Sibling Suicide: Journey from Despair to Hope to be released in September 2016.