On Loss And Longing

portrait photography of woman lying on grawss
Hector Gomez / Unsplash

It goes without saying that it’s hard to move on from the death of a loved one.

My brother died by suicide nearly five years ago. We were very close; best friends. He was a military veteran who suffered with severe PTSD for many years before his death, so I get it. That didn’t stop me from feeling every emotion imaginable when it happened. I was in shock and numb for a decent amount of time, then I was angry for a long time. I blamed myself, I blamed him. I found comfort in knowing that he wasn’t suffering anymore. I was sad for a long time. I still am. I don’t think the sadness or longing for a person’s presence ever goes away.

For a long time, I felt that I couldn’t go on with my life. I felt that I shouldn’t. It didn’t seem right to do anything if he wouldn’t be here to see it. That weight of that thought was almost unbearable for a while, but I kept going.

I moved on from my part-time job with a wild schedule to a well-paying 9 to 5 with full benefits. It was painful to do that without the option of calling him to give him the big news; I was finally a real adult. I enrolled in college after a few years off, and I did well for a while. Of course, I wanted to tell him that, and the depression I felt over it kept me from succeeding for a while. I’m still pushing through though. I tried dating here and there, but I vowed to never marry when he wouldn’t be there to see it. Last week I got engaged to the man of my dreams. He says I talk about my brother so much, it’s like he knows him, and he can picture the two of them sitting in an interrogation room while my brother drills him on his intentions. I always smile when he says that, because minus the interrogation room, that absolutely would’ve happened if he’d had a chance to know him. I know it would end with my brother loving him, too.

My whole point here is that it always gets better. I’ve spent many nights of the past five years in a very low, scary place. I’ve had thoughts that were overwhelming, telling me I shouldn’t go on. Those have all eased up, and I’m in a much happier place now. I’m doing the things I vowed to never do without my brother here.

My fiancé always tells me that he lives on through us. He lives on in our memories, the stories and photos we share. I find comfort in that. He’ll never be gone as long as we keep him here. For anyone suffering with loss currently, keep that in mind. Keep in mind that it will get easier. TC mark

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