I never imagined losing a sibling to suicide, yet here I am sharing my story! The holidays are fun and great! But they’re also a time of hardship for many. In my case, it was losing my brother to suicide. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide or battling depression I urge you to please seek help!
I never thought I would share my story on what it’s like losing a sibling to suicide. It was this post that inspired me to share my story. Of course, this is extremely difficult.
The passing of my brother happened 17yrs ago. He was 34. I had just turned 18. He was a son, a brother, a father, and a friend. A few days prior we had spoken on the phone, I had received an A for a paper I had written and was eager to share the news with him (he cared deeply about my education). I could hear it in his voice that something was wrong. I had assumed he wasn’t feeling well.
Two days before Thanksgiving at 5:15 AM we received the devastating call that changed our lives forever.
Losing a loved one to suicide is devastating.
He loved and loved deeply. People often ask “why? Did he leave a note behind? Was he battling depression?” The truth is I don’t know. We saw no signs of trouble from him. However, unbeknownst to us, weeks prior he was “joking” with his friends about his suicidal thoughts. He disguised his troubles well. Too well, but it’s obvious now, he was struggling. And I wish we could have been warned.
Everyone has a story. No one fully knows a person. In my eyes, my brother was kind, loving, and strong, and he went out of his way for others. If he were alive today I would tell him I’m sorry. I love you! Because I didn’t get to say those words to him when we last spoke.
I saw the above post from the IG account @metoomanyvoices and it hit hard. Losing a loved one to suicide is a battle. A suicidal person/thought is never to be taken lightly. When discussed it sickens me to my core that people will think it’s attention-seeking. It aggravates me and truthfully the way the media speaks of mental illness and suicide is grotesque. For us who have lost, we learn to heal. As I’m crying writing this it’s a reminder that the pain is still present – but it has strengthened me today.
Here are some ways I’ve healed after losing a sibling to suicide
I stopped Fighting My Pain
In the beginning, I would fight my tears, I wouldn’t allow myself to cry. I was my mother’s strength. She’s suffered her whole life battling PTSD and depression. Now, to have lost a son to suicide? Nothing seemed right. I had this idea that I couldn’t show emotion. I’ve since found that letting your tears flow, and going with the motions is all part of the process, normal, and great for healing. In fact, it is absolutely necessary for healing! Allow yourself to cry!
I Found Peace in His Peace
This is tough. in fact, it took many years for me to come to terms with it. My brother was not ok, he was suffering and fighting demons I didn’t know existed. I now find peace knowing he’s at peace and no longer at war with himself. Because of the heartache, I’ve learned over the years the importance of self-kindness.
I Stopped Blaming
Say it out loud. It’s NOT your fault! For years my mother blamed herself, wondering how could she not know. How she couldn’t help save her first-born son. This elevated her depression. I blamed myself. Obviously, I blamed others for not warning us. However, it’s important to note he was ego-driven and determined. No one could stop him.
I will never know the answer as to why my brother took his life. Instead, I find solace in knowing he’s doing well. He’s free. No longer being attacked by demons. I’ve forgiven everyone including myself and most importantly him.
It’s ok to not be ok. Perfection is non-existent. We are all battling with something. If you need help or know someone who may need help please speak with a professional, and if you/someone you know has contemplated suicide call 988 the national suicide prevention hotline! Please seek help! Do not let your story end.
Finally, know that you are loved. You matter!
Resources to help after losing a loved one to suicide
Rethink.org | Rethink Mental illness
APA.org | Coping After Suicide Loss article
xx Zee xx