On Thursday, October 25th my little brother took his own life. Just typing that sentence takes my breath away. It’s been twenty-two days and I still can’t wrap my mind around it. Can’t accept that he’s gone. Just gone. Sometimes the pain is so strong, so heavy, so unbearable that I’ve taken to trying not to think about him at all. But that only gets me so far, and when thoughts of him sneak in anyway they hit me so hard it’s like a physical blow.
Josh and I haven’t been close in a while. I haven’t decided if that’s a curse or a blessing. It’s a blessing because he wasn’t part of my daily life. I don’t walk around my house and have physical reminders of him. (Unless you count his daughter, but that’s for another time.) I don’t hear a song on the radio and remember it was his favorite. What I do have, however, is guilt. Overwhelming, tremendous, indescribable guilt. I am the oldest of all my siblings. Significantly older than some. Given the age difference I have felt a responsibility for them most of my life. To look out for them. To protect them. To love them. To fight for them. When I had children of my own they became my priority. I rationalized that my siblings were adults and didn’t need me anymore. Not a day goes by now that I don’t feel the weight of that decision. That I don’t run a million “if only” scenarios through my head. Josh was my brother. A part of my family…a part of who I am and where I come from. And I let him down. I knew he was broken. I knew it and did nothing. I let him down and I can’t ever make it up to him. Ever.
Writing has always been therapeutic for me. Right now I need an outlet. I spend most of my days thinking about him or talking to him in my head, and if I keep it all inside, I may just burst.
I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t fight harder for you. There were a million times throughout the years I could’ve and I didn’t. I’m sorry that you had to go through the things you did in your short life. I’m sorry we weren’t closer as adults. I’m sorry we didn’t spend more time together. I’m sorry that when I read through our texts they were all you asking me to babysit, and me almost always being too busy.
I’m sorry that you didn’t reach out to someone. I’m sorry that you thought you had no other choice. I’m sorry that your little girl will never know you, or how much you loved her. I’m sorry that you didn’t know how many people loved you, or how much they did. I’m sorry that you didn’t know the impact your decision would have on us all. Your absence changes everything. In ways I didn’t even know were possible.
I’m sorry that sometimes I’m angry at you. That sometimes I hate how selfish you were. And then I hate myself for hating you. Sometimes I hate my husband for not understanding. Sometimes I hate people for asking me how I am. Or telling me not to blame myself. Or that there’s nothing we could have done. Sometimes it scares me how strong my anger is. Sometimes I think I can’t stand another minute of the emotions warring inside me.
I’m sorry that it took your death to bring our family back together. I wish we could’ve done it in time to save you. I wish we could have known what you were thinking.
What were you thinking? What the hell were you thinking?? I try and try and try to imagine what could’ve been going on in your mind. And I just can’t.
I love you. I pray to God you knew how much.