by Sarah Price. I work for LOSS and my big brother died by suicide in August, 2012.

In the midst of this horrible bullshit called suicide, I’m learning. Dare I say I’ve been experiencing post-traumatic growth?

I’m learning this spectrum of feelings can be overwhelming, almost suffocating.

These things existed before I met grief and mourning but I was unaware. The blissful ignorance can never be returned.

I’m learning the beauty I’ve witnessed has only been so stunning because it is from a depth of immense darkness and pain in myself and others I have joined, but what do I do with this information? I’m broken, fractured, splintered, shattered; yet I continue to be a full human being experiencing life, which includes witnessing, participating, and feeling. Is this post-traumatic growth?

I’m learning I hate feeling.

I’d rather dismiss feeling. I’d rather think my way through this instead of feeling all these things that go deeper than I thought was possible. This stew pot of emotion is simmering with a range of feelings I can’t even articulate, mixing together to become one tangled scream of agony and appreciation. How dare I appreciate anything? Am I a psychopathic monstrosity because I have joy alongside my abyss?

The heavy ache inside my soul sharing a space with the immense lightness of being humbled with gratitude is something I’m not able to fully process. I scream I want my blindness back. I’d trade the magnitude of this spectrum before my heart could finish a beat if I was given the chance. Wouldn’t I?

What kind of person am I to not demand my loved one live?

What kind of person am I to demand I return to the state I previously existed in while my loved one carried a darkness that scarred his soul?

I can’t imagine demanding he live the way he was, not anymore…the way that led him deeper into his pain….the way that forced his brain to lie to him that he has no other choice but to die….his different tipping points in the complex health crisis the public calls suicide, reporting deaths sometimes in a depersonalized and simultaneously sensationalized manner all the while my brother’s death transported me, my entire family, all of his friends, into a different dimension of existence, a different reality in the most personalized and intimate of experiences.

How is everyone else doing? Is their grief different? Is their struggle similar? I don’t know. We aren’t talking a lot about our pain these days.

I continue to demand that he and everyone else live in the way that is fitting for me. To live without the struggles and to live in a glorious fantasy realm.

A life without pain and only joy.

A life without hard decisions, like:

  • Do we donate his organs?
  • What do we write for the obituary?
  • What do we do with his guitar?
  • Do we donate his clothes?
  • His music collection?
  • His friggin’ tools for work?

I demand the most unrealistic life for myself and everyone I care about.

Does it help that I know this internal standard is not even close to being possible? I’m not sure.

I do know that there are demands that I have which are possible and are livable.

I demand that his death doesn’t define him. I’m fortunate where I can think about our life together and not play his death over and over and over like some form of torture anymore.  I demand that his death not define me or my family. I demand that I do something so others don’t have a similar isolating experience like I did in the beginning of my journey. Maybe his death gave me a gift that I’ll never be grateful to have been given but can’t imagine any other way. I’m living my life purpose now and I never had that before. I guess that is post-traumatic growth.

I wonder if this is like the mythical Phoenix coming to life once again as only it can from the ashes that destroyed the original. Am I a Phoenix witnessing others become their own Phoenix?

If you or someone you care about are struggling with suicidal thoughts please get help. 911 | 1-800-273-8255 | text “4hope” to 741741