A man that I loved committed suicide. This man was my uncle, a man I admired. In my eyes he had always been a joyful man, ready to tease me and pinch my cheeks at a moment’s notice. He was funny, bright, clever, a good friend, brother, uncle, father, and husband. He laughed at jokes, the hardest at his own jokes. He’d hug me so hard I could barely breathe; he’d even kiss me on the cheek. He’d tell me he loves me, ask me about school, tell me that I’m growing up to be a beautiful young woman and that I must get it from my mother. He’d tease his sons. He’d cuddle up next to his daughters. He’d goof off at a Christmas party when he was supposed to be serious. He’d sit in church and sing about the God he loved. He’d hold his sister’s hands and tell them he missed seeing their pretty faces every day.
But he was hurting. His heart was broken too. He had a sadness that wouldn’t escape. Honestly I don’t know much about his personal suffering that led him to taking his own life; but I can let you know how I suffered.
On November 22, 2014, I was told that my uncle died. It was the week of Thanksgiving and I felt as if I had nothing to be thankful for. I tried to sit there and remind myself of all the great people in my life, but all I could think about was what was missing. There was a hole in my heart now. Something I felt deep inside me. I was so sad, I’d never been that sad before. I had never been so sad that my whole body ached and felt as if it weighed a thousand pounds. I’d never cried so much that the next day my eyes were swollen and puffy. I’d never written so angrily that I tore the paper. Nothing helped. I tried to pray, to journal, to yell, but I was still confused. I was torn up inside. I was fighting my anxiety and making sure that I didn’t become depressed from all the shit in my life.
Sometimes, things were okay. I could do a day full of school, homework, babysitting, but before bed I felt it. I’d try and pray and I didn’t know what to say to the God I had spent my whole life loving. I was so mad at him. It didn’t make any sense to me, that suffering and pain. He had a wife. He had four children. He had nine brothers and sisters. He had 13 nieces and nephews all left to suffer and miss him. I was mad at my uncle, too. There was absolutely no scenario in my mind that justified it. I could not imagine him ever thinking that the world would be a better place without him in it. I had no comprehension of his choice from his perspective. I felt angry and sad. I didn’t like to think about it because it took months and months before anything got better. Every day scared me because I was afraid that another horrible thing would happen to me. I didn’t bother to make long-term plans because every time I tried to, something would change my future. I was feeling the unpredictability and brutality and finality of life more than ever before.
It took months and months and lots of hard conversations, but things finally started looking up. My God, my friends, and my family never left my side. I still don’t understand it all, the feelings of anger and sadness creep back on the bad days. I have a hard time talking about it; it makes me feel weak somehow, even though it shouldn’t. I still have that hole in my heart, and I don’t think that will ever change. But now, I can talk about him and be happy. I can laugh at memories and honor the life that he lived. It’s not always easy, but it’s not always hard, either. It will always be a part of me.
But what I want to say, to everyone and anyone, is that the world is better with you in it. There’s someone out there that loves you, and there’s people that love the people who love you. It will affect more people in more ways than you think. It will break hearts and confuse people. It might even lead someone down the path of depression. If you are someone who has been depressed, you would never wish that on anyone. You would never want to put someone in that dark room of sadness; with that little monster that tells them they’re not worth getting out of bed. Think about the people who love you. Call them. Tell them you need them. Love them. Let them love you. Don’t build walls around yourself because you don’t have to be strong for everyone. You don’t have to pretend like you’re unbreakable. Everyone is breakable, everyone is weak, and we are all sinful. You are not alone. You are loved. And your story should not end here.