Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We Are Here Now

In our busy lives, it often takes extrinsic motivators to inspire self-reflection. It is nice to have certain days throughout the year to constructively assess where you have been, where you are, and where you are going. New Year’s Eve is really the grandest of them all.

December 31st, marks the milestone of another completed year. Tomorrow is the first day of the next year: a symbolic fresh start or clean slate.

Reflecting on 2013 is difficult for me. It was an eventful year with my wedding and the loss of David: it has been a year filled with highs and lows. There has been excitement and heartbreak, happiness and despair.

The emotions are painfully contradictory. How can love be so pure, and pain be so raw, at the very same time?

I am not sure if feeling happiness first makes the pain more severe, or if the pain is made more bearable with the memory of joy. Either way, it's difficult to look back at this year and see these polar opposite experiences so close to each other.

2013 has opened my eyes to real pain, real loss, and real questions. It is a year that has shaken the ground upon which I stand. I have been confronted with the honest reality of life: created in an instant, developed over years, and gone in a moment.

Doesn't it seem impossible? It is counter-intuitive that something that requires so much work, perseverance, and patience, can end in the blink of an eye.

This year, I have learned that there are questions that will go unanswered, there are actions left undone, and words left unsaid.

There is no promise of tomorrow, but there is today. There is only this moment for certain, there is this breath and this thought. Life is delicate, fragile, and fleeting but we are here now.

2013 will forever hold the most recent, most dear memories with my brother David. It will house the memories of my wedding and the joy that was felt. It will hold the sorrow of losing my brother.

2013 will be a changing point, no doubt; a clear fork in the road of my life’s journey. This year holds experience and growth that I wish I never had to experience. Since I did, I am thankful for the ability to endure. 

Holding this close to my heart always, I will move forward to 2014.

As the new year draws near, I breath in and breath out, thankful for this moment. Thankful for the year's end and hopeful for the new year's beginning.

This coming year, I hope to be better. Following David’s example, I hope to be more compassionate, more loving, more grounded, and more curious. Inspired by his spirit, I will strive to do my best every day.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas

Our Christmas celebration was kicked off with mass and a gathering of our immediate family. We had a delicious meal, made cookies, played games, and exchanged gifts.

We did a candle lighting ceremony in David's memory:


"As we light these five candles in honor of you, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories, one for our love, and one for our hope.

1. This candle represents our grief. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

2. This candle represents our courage- to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other, and to change our lives.

3. This candle is in your memory- the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, and the caring and joy you gave us.

4. This candle is the light of love. As we enter this holiday season, day by day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your living brought to each of us.

5. And this candle is the light of hope. It reminds us of love and memories of you that are ours forever. May the glow of the flame be our source of hopefulness now and forever. We love you, David."

This is the first time David has not been with his family for Christmas and he is greatly missed. We miss his love of the season, the sweet way he gave gifts, and his appreciation of food! He was a really special person to have around.

A gift this Christmas is the ability to be happy, while also being sad. There were times when I didn't know or understand how that day could ever come.

I am so sad that David is not here with us this Christmas. I am sad that I can't call him to talk or make plans together. I am sad that I have to live the rest of my life here without him.

I am also happy. I am happy to be with my family. I am happy that we can still laugh together. I am thankful for them.

I feel peace knowing that David is at peace. I feel hope when I imagine his new reality.

I know for certain that David's spirit lives in each of those whom he loved. His memory lives through us, and that is most comforting.

One of my favorite poems is written by EE Cummings,

"I Carry your Heart."
 
I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
 
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear;
 
and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

 I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
 
I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
 
which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

I love the message in this poem. The idea that unconditional love is the dance and exchange of two hearts, something that can never go away. I feel this for David, and now carry him on in my heart.
 
Merry Christmas to you, David, I love you.

Merry Christmas to you all! Sending my love to you and your families in this very special time of year. God Bless!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Brothers and Sisters

I have been enjoying time with my sister for the last couple days. She has arrived home after a semester abroad. Spending time with her, I have been made so aware of her similarities to David. I talk to my brothers and feel the same way: things they say, what they do, and how they do it; all is so reminiscent of my brother, David.

Talking with them reminds me of all of our similarities: our intrinsic, natural kin-ness. It reminds me of the value and beauty in brothers and sisters. There is no one else in the world as paradoxically similar and unique as your siblings. We all share the same two wonderful parents, and are each a speckled version of their different traits.

We have been created by the generations before, and we will create generations after. David will never have his own children, but we will carry forth many of his beautiful qualities. We are not him, yet we each have a part of him in us. His memory will live in our hearts, and his spirit in ours. Our children will know him through us. Not only through his memory we share, but also through who we are. We are different yet we are the same, and that brings me some comfort.

It is important to recognize and appreciate what an incredible gift family is. In the best of times and in the worst of times, they are our blood: the carrying agent that brings life to us. They are part of us, and us a part of them.

Christmas will be difficult this year because someone very important will be missing. The blessing is that we remain, and David will be there in all of us. We will be reunited and we will be reminded of the things we love about David, through each other.

We will laugh and we will cry. We will probably fight, but we will make up with "I love you."

We will be there. We will celebrate the life that we have, and the many blessings we've been given. 

We will remember our brother David and as always, we will miss him.

Skiing over Christmas vacation at Sundown.

Night out in South Beach Miami before David left for Colombia.

Perfect afternoon at the Park Farm Winery this summer. 

Beautiful place, beautiful people. 


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

I haven't written in a few days. I've been busy and sad which doesn't make for very inspired writing. I have been occupying my mind with Christmas preparations. Mostly shopping for gifts and being distracted by material goods. I've never enjoyed Christmas shopping as much as this year. This year, it is the perfect distraction to think about something different. To focus on the person I'm getting a gift for, rather than the recent hardship in my life.

Every year my family draws names for Christmas. David always told me that he hoped I had his name. "I gave the best presents!" The truth is that he was one of my favorite people to draw. He had such defined interests and I understood his style very well. We shared similar tastes and he was fun to shop for.

When I was traveling in Europe, one of the gifts I bought David was a green and blue braided belt. I loved this belt! It was one of those gifts that you hope the receiver will appreciate as much as you! David did! He wore it every day, told me at least five times, and even wrote on my Facebook wall telling me again how much he loved it.

It makes me sad that I can't buy him gifts anymore. When I see things that he would love, I feel a sadness in my heart.

Today in Barnes and Noble, "Hark the Herald Sing" was playing, it sounded like the exact version that is in the last scene of "It's a Wonderful Life." My breath was taken away with this song. "It's a Wonderful Life" was David's most favorite Christmas movie. Every Christmas Eve, he would turn it on. I often gave him grief about this because I would get annoyed when he was able to quote EVERY single line!

It's interesting to think now of David's love for this movie, especially since the role suicide played within the plot. Here's a brief video synopsis. I remember David telling me he loved the happy ending. Maybe he identified with George Bailey; maybe he liked the happy ending because he hoped for the same.

Maybe David knew I needed to hear these words today, the third verse in particular:

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"


My hope and belief is that David did get a happy ending. Not the one George got in "It's a Wonderful Life," but a different one, an even better one. I hope David is with the Herald Angels, joining in their song. I hope he's at peace. I hope he can still feel my love.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Two Months

Today marks two months since David's death.

In a sense, only two months while also two entire months. Do you understand what I mean?

Nothing in my life is the same anymore.

David changed my life through his presence, and now he is changing it through his absence.

David opened my eyes to a realm of new questions about life and death. He has taught me something each day.

Often times I learn from myself. When you think long enough, you begin see things in new ways and gain a deeper understanding. Eventually, you begin to teach yourself. In this counter-intuitive way, David is teaching me through my own thoughts and ideas.

David has always been my role model. Now he is an example in a different way.

He has made me more empathetic, understanding, loving, and also impatient.

I get very impatient with the trivial details of life. Impatient with the meaningless complaints voiced on social media or by people on the bus. I get impatient with myself when I am the one voicing these complaints.

It's amazing how after feeling real pain, I can still complain that my feet are cold. I feel so different and I am so different, but yet I am still human. Somehow, I am still alive. While my thoughts are wondering and contemplating, my person is here living: doing the best that I can do.

There are moments throughout the day when everything feels normal. I feel at peace mentally and occupied with other things: tasks, responsibilities, and ideas. These moments come and go, and are violently awakened with the memory of David. The memory of my new reality.

The abrasive memory of my loss causes a physical reaction. My feet stop walking, my head quickly shakes left to right, and my heart feels the now familiar stabbing pain.

Over and over I think, "this is not what David would have wanted." He would not have wanted to cause this pain. This is simply not David.

It is important to draw the distinction between David and the disease. David vs. Depression.

David is who I want to remember. David is who is with me now. He is in my mind through memory and he is in my heart through love.

I read this quotation today:

“We all want to do something to mitigate the pain of loss or to turn grief into something positive, to find a silver lining in the clouds. But I believe there is real value in just standing there, being still, being sad.” --John Green

I think that this is a good reminder today. Take time to remember and to celebrate. Become better people: more educated, more understanding, and more contemplative. Also, remember to sometimes just be sad. Be still. Sit with your grief and feel its pain. Allow it to push you. Allow it to heal you.

I am thankful today is over but I am thankful that it happened, too. Everyday is a gift and one day closer to being reunited with my brother David.

Sending love to him, and all who loved him, tonight.



Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Big Black Dog

This is a wonderful video discovered by a close family friend. I felt I needed to share:


I wish David would have been able to embrace this same acceptance of the "Black Dog," though I understand that I cannot begin to imagine the fear and pain he was feeling.

I'm thankful for this man's creative ability to share the disease in such a relateable way.

The clinical studies showing that physical exercise and talk therapy can be equally effective as medication are very exciting. I remember feeling very empowered with this knowledge while studying psychology. Due to these findings, I was very opposed to medication. I believed very strongly in the body's ability to heal itself.

Through this experience, my opinion has changed. I now feel that there are instances when medication is necessary.

The tragedy is that there times when none of the above will work to alleviate depressive symptoms.

I imagine that sense of helplessness to be terrifying.

Sending love and understanding to my brother David tonight. Missing him.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Brothers are Forever

February 12th, 2010 David celebrated his 24th birthday in Iowa City. His actual birthday was February 21st but he had a special event at his school in West Branch so he planned his festivities a little early.

My parents came to Iowa City and we all went out to eat for pizza at Herb and Lou's (probably the only bar/restaurant in West Branch!) Carlos was coincidentally at Herb and Lou's (he had arrived in Carlos time: 1 hour early!) We all enjoyed talking: Mom, Dad, David, Carlos and I. David was excited to see his many friends who were coming to watch him play in a staff vs. students basketball game and he had planned a get-together after the game to celebrate his birthday.

David was the coordinator for student government and he had organized the basketball event at West Branch. I didn't know anyone playing except David but that was enough to be thoroughly entertained! David was entertaining in everything he did. He also liked to be the center of attention so he knew how to captivate an audience! I should also say, David was really good at basketball!

David warming up for the game!

After the game, we said good bye to our parents and I rode with David to my apartment. He took a quick shower and I changed my clothes. I remember asking him if I looked okay, he always said the same response, "Yes, you look really nice." It's funny looking back on this now because I later learned how nervous he was for me to be meeting his friends. His fear was that I would date them, even worse, marry them! That night I had a high-neck dress on that went down to my knees. Perfect for David!

David and I walked downtown to meet up with his friends. It was a little awkward for me at first but David tried to make me feel welcome. He was so sweet to me. Eventually, while David was talking to other friends, Carlos struck up conversation. We ended up hitting it off! We talked on and off the whole night, and I knew that there was something really special about him.

Fast forward a few years: (I'm skipping the transition period when David acclimated to my dating his best friend, and lots of other good memories in between!) Carlos and I were engaged to be married. Carlos not only talked to my parents before proposing, he also asked for David's blessing!

As soon as we began making wedding plans last fall, I thought of asking David to give a toast at our wedding. David knew us both best. He knew me as his sister and friend, and Carlos as his friend and sister's boyfriend! I told David we would love it if he gave a toast, but only if he wanted to. I told him we wanted to include him because he played such an important role in our relationship and he was so important to each of us.

This summer, David moved back from Colombia. I can still remember him telling me he was coming back early so he could help with the wedding. He also brought back up his wedding "speech." I was a little nervous and said, "Speech? Well, I thought it would be nice to give a toast." If David was doing something, he did it all the way! He told me he had already written his wedding speech and I laughed. I said my only requirement was that it came from his heart and was written with love. I was a little nervous about what David might say in his "speech." He was a little hurt about this and ensured me that he would say nothing less than loving.

David spoke of our relationship growing up and the way we'd become close as adults. He shared memories of him and Carlos in high school and beyond as best friends. He told us how happy he was for us, and that he thought we were perfect for each other. The way David said this was so genuine, it made me cry.

The last line of his speech was, "At first when Anna and Carlos began dating I was sad to lose a best friend, but now I see that I gain a brother. The thing is, best friends come and go, but brothers are forever."


David was, of course, directing this to Carlos, but now I think of these words often: "Brothers are forever." 

David was an integral person in Carlos and my relationship. He means so much to both of us: individually and together. I never in a million years imagined that he wouldn't share life with us.

This makes me really sad. I miss him for all we had, and all that we would have had.

I am counting on heaven because I need more time with my brother David, preferably forever.

Missing and loving David J.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It Loves

Really missing David today. 

I haven't written poetry for quite a few years. I used to really enjoy it so thought jotting down my ideas would maybe bring me some peace tonight: 
It Loves

broken heart
broken apart

pieces here 
pieces there

broken heart 
broken apart

hurts so badly 
yet can still love

eyes fill with tears and 
chest with pain

but heart does love

it hurts and it loves

it cries and it loves

it hopes and it loves

broken heart 
broken apart

somehow it loves

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Result of a Loss

When I was a teenager, I had a phase when I questioned what it would be like if I died. I wondered who would care, and what would happen. I didn't have self-destructive behaviors, but knew plenty of classmates who did. There were times when I felt I would rather die.

I didn't see the point of life's hardship. The circus of striving and achieving, only to realize there was more work to do. The never-ending game of trying to be better. Our culture's way of seeing more as better, nothing ever good enough.

A lot of these things bothered David, too. How could some people in the world endure a life of suffering, while others live one of luxurious ignorance? Why do some struggle to have their basic needs met, while others go about with an excessive lifestyle?

For me, I found my happy medium somewhere in the grey area. I seek a healthy balance of moderation and simplicity. I try to be aware of my blessings, and do what I can to turn these privileges for good.

David was similar although I don't know that it ever came easy to him. I witnessed a constant distress regarding the injustices of the world. There was an ever-present anxiety about the rat race of life. He continually was striving for better, and I'm not sure he ever felt it was good enough.

When his second episode of depression returned after believing the first was triggered by environmental factors, I believe David was terrified.

He didn't fit the mold for someone who would be depressed. In fact, depression was so opposite David that I now wonder if he struggled with it more than we knew. It's possible he struggled with it more than even he knew.

Maybe his tendencies for depression pushed him to fight with opposite characteristics. Instead of laying in bed all day, David would busy himself with activity. His mind and body were always working: reading, exercising, socializing, etc; David was go-getting and life-loving.

I believe the second episode caught him off guard, with his defenses down. So overwhelmingly painful, it was impossible for him to see outside of it. I think that David felt helpless. No matter how proactive he was: working out every day, eating right, being social, etc. the depression could still come and knock him off his feet.

Maybe he couldn't see the point. David lost sight of all he had done, all he had, and could only see the illness. It was all-encompassing and he was hopeless.

In a book I am reading, No Time to Say Goodbye, the author writes that suicide is often the result of a loss. For some it might follow a separation from spouse, loss of a job, etc. but for many it is the loss of the will to fight.

I empathize with David's feelings: he didn't deserve his illness, and yet he had it. It pains me to think of his pain and fear. As much as is possible, I understand his despair.

In a way, my grief is selfish. I know that he has found peace, yet I am here talking about my great loss.

I am thankful that David does not feel the pain anymore. I am thankful that he does not have to live in fear of another episode knocking him to the ground. I am thankful for his fight and his example. Most of all, I love him. I will always love him.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Processing Grief

Today is Monday, the first day of the week and the second day of December. It's hard to believe it is December already. David died in October. How could that already be almost two months ago? Time is the strangest thing: on one hand it feels like those two months were an eternity ago. On the other, David's memory is so alive in my mind that it feels like we just spoke yesterday.

David would be nearing the end of his semester at the University of Minnesota. Otherwise, if he decided not to continue with his program he would be job searching. Maybe he would have already found a job by now. Who knows?

I still catch myself hanging on to the hope of David's return. Anything is possible, right? I snap myself back to reality with the memory of saying goodbye to David's physical body. That memory feels fake, like I really really didn't live it.

I've been thinking of so many things: suicide, depression, death, afterlife, etc. My mind works on overload, processing and reprocessing details, ideas, and questions.

Today was the first morning that I woke up and my first thought was not the heart-wrenching memory that David is gone. This morning, my alarm went off and I was searching for excuses to stay in bed and hide from the chilly morning. I'm not sure how many minutes went by until I thought of David, probably not too many. I wonder if this will continue. Maybe over time, the once instantaneous memory, will become triggered after minutes, then hours. How will my grief change over time?

I feel conflicted about this. I want to hold on to my grief as it's the way that I am able to hold on to David.

One Sunday in mass the priest explained that grieving is our mind's way to form a more concrete, living memory of the person that we lost. By going through each memory you share with that person and experiencing the painful sorrow of your loss, you create a more clear image of that person and relationship.

I really like this explanation of grief and I feel its truth in my own life.

I miss David for all that he was, and all that he was to be. I miss our times together, and wish I could re-live every one and savor each moment. I wish I would have discussed more about the future with him so that I could feel his guidance now.

With the recent tornadoes in Illinois, I thought of analogy. David's depression began as a cloud, but it quickly became darker and darker. The storm began and the wind picked up. David was sucked up in a tornado and taken away. All who love David were also picked up, only we were spit back out. We were thrown out of this storm with our physical houses un-damaged, but our emotional and spiritual homes leveled to the ground. We know we need to rebuild, as other storms could come our way. We need to heal.

The dilemma is rebuilding in a way that leaves a space for David.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Post-Thanksgiving

We made it through the first holiday. Our Thanksgiving weekend was filled with many emotions: highs and lows.

I haven't had Thanksgiving with David for the last two years. While he was living in Colombia, he came back for a long Christmas break. That probably made the days go easier than they would have otherwise, it's so easy for me to still think that David is in Colombia.

Despite this, there were still many tear-triggers. The first was seeing my husband and his two brothers talking together. I have never thought about Carlos being one of three brothers. It caught me completely off-guard.

The second was seeing a pumpkin pie. David LOVED pumpkin pie. He claimed in was his favorite. Now, if it really was his favorite or if he just was buttering up my Grandma I don't know. Either way, she eventually began making David his own personal-sized pumpkin pie each Thanksgiving. The love for her precious third child (third-born in the family like her) materialized in a miniature-sized pumpkin pie. David loved it! He would proudly polish the entire thing off, satisfying my Grandma with every bite!

These two triggers were ones I had not considered. Others I had prepared for and were not as affected by.

Spending time with my family is difficult. It's painful not to be with them, and it's painful to be with them. Everyone is grieving and feeling their individualized pain. We need to be gentle with each other, at a time when we are raw. Though there are difficult moments, I am thankful for this time. Each of our worlds have been turned upside down. There is no one who is able to understand my personal relationship with David or my mothers, fathers, etc. but we can most closely empathize with each other's loss.

I'm thankful that Thanksgiving is over and though I am not looking forward to Christmas like in years passed, I am looking forward to it in a different way. I am anxious to be reunited with my entire family, hug them, and make new memories together.

A thanksgiving-related memory:

Thanksgiving break my Freshman year of college, David invited me over to his apartment in Iowa City. He picked me up, we made a frozen pizza, and watched a movie. At the time David was making his way through a list of the top 100 movies of all time so we checked one off the list. I don't remember which it was. The entire night David was such a gentleman and made me feel really special. After the movie, he drove me back to my dorm. This was our first brother-sister date and served as the changing point in our relationship. I will forever treasure this memory.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

I have always loved Thanksgiving. 

It's a day when I can let my flag of gratitude fly freely. I've always tried to be aware and appreciative of the many great things in my life: the most wonderful and supportive family, my husband and best friend, and many challenging and exciting opportunities. I've always felt very blessed. 

Each year I treasure this time as an opportunity to reflect on these blessings and feel especially grateful. 

In the days after David's loss I remember saying through tears, "But our perfect family, our family is perfect."
My dad was quick to say, "Nothing is perfect, Anna" in a sad and logical way.
I explained, "Yes, nothing is perfect, but our family is perfect to me."

Prior to losing David, I lived in a happy bubble of "perfect to me." This Thanksgiving, with things obviously less than perfect, I am left with the ongoing task of re-evaluating the way I see things. I am here, looking for the silver lining, the way I can make sense of it all. There are many uncertainties but some things are clear.

I am thankful for my family. I treasure each and every one of them. I am thankful for my loving parents and my incredible siblings. 

I am thankful to feel inspired and challenged by each one of them.


I am thankful for the most wonderful life partner Carlos. 


I am thankful for our joy-filled wedding this summer.

I am thankful for the gift of David's speech and blessing at our wedding.


I'm thankful for the memory of my three brothers singing "Sweet Caroline" at the reception.



I am thankful for who David was. 

I'm thankful for his sense of humor, unteachable dance moves, and passion for life.

I am thankful he had such loving friends and family.

I'm thankful for his incredible opportunities to create change and impact lives, especially through teaching. 

I am thankful for his accomplishments of travel, academic achievements, and living each day to the fullest.

David hiking near Machu Piccu.

I am thankful for his beautiful and exemplary life.

This Thanksgiving, I continue to give thanks. There is still much to be thankful for.

David isn't with us in person, but he is here in spirit. 

He will forever be a part of our family, and that family will forever be perfect to me.



*Wedding photos by Kim Ozey Photography
*Family portrait by Emily Ann Photography

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

One Conversation

David called my phone on October 8th at 12:58 pm. I was downtown Chicago at the time and the call did not register. I had been meeting a friend for lunch, and then wandered down to State street to do some browsing. I had a couple interviews coming up and needed to purchase a few things.

I went home that afternoon around 5:00 pm. My phone had been on silent while I was doing this shopping, and I had missed quite a few calls. Four different people had called me from Northwestern University, as well as multiple texts and voice messages. I'm not sure if this is why, but David's call did not show up. Most likely it was pushed down in the queue of missed calls and I just didn't scroll down to see it.

I walked to the train, took the train home, and listened to my messages/returned those who needed returning. I was feeling excited by all the potential opportunities and distinctly remember wanting to talk to David.

Since I had spoken to David for awhile on Saturday, I decided to wait to call him until Wednesday.

Wednesday, I finally followed David's encouragement and went to a yoga class. This was my first class in over a year, and I was feeling great! Since David asked me, every single time we spoke, if I had been working out, I was really excited to tell him!

I took a 3:00 yoga class and called David on  my walk home. His phone went straight to voice mail and I felt a little surprised. I thought, "Wow, what a good student. He must shut is phone off during class."

Less than three hours later, I learned the worst news I've ever heard in my life. My world stopped and changed completely, all at the same time.

I didn't know about that missed call from David until Thursday, when scrounging through my phone history looking for anything I could find. I learned Thursday that my brother had called me the day before he died, and I had missed it.

I have gone through many stages related to this incident. Initially, I remember feeling relieved that I had not known he had called. If I had seen it, yet purposely decided to wait to return the call, I would feel even worse. I thought maybe it was a blessing, what if I would have answered and told him I was too busy or said the wrong thing. I felt comforted knowing that David had received love and support from my parents and brothers, and he was not alone.

I know that this is nothing I can change, and I know that there is nothing I can do, but I can't help but think that I had a chance and I missed it.

Time and time again I've thought of what I would say if I could have that one conversation. The first night and the first couple days, the only thing I could say to David was that I loved him. Over and over those words came to my mouth, "David, I love you."

I imagine what that conversation would have been. I imagine what I would have said and what I would have heard.

I know now that David must have been incredibly scared. I know now that David was experiencing thoughts that were not his own. I know now that David was ill, more ill than he, or anyone who loved him, knew.

Knowing what I know now, these are some things that I would like to say:

"David, I love you. I am so sorry for this pain that you are feeling. I can't imagine what it is like and I know it must be terrifying. Remember that this is an illness. It is deceiving you to believe it is you, but it is not. Remember that this will pass, just like I said last year while you were in Colombia, this, too, shall pass. 

Today may be hard, but tomorrow might be easier. 

Please live. Fight. You are so incredibly loved. This world needs you. You have so much work left to do. I want to grow old with you. I want to live close to you, David. 

You are my best friend. You challenge me more than anyone in my life, I need that. I need you. I love you. I will do anything to help and support you.

Nothing matters but your well-being. Don't worry about school. Don't worry about where you'll live or what you'll do. Take care of yourself and those answers will come. 

Believe in yourself, because everyone believes in you."

This could go on and on. The harsh reality of the events which unfolded give me a clarity of the situation. I know now what he may have needed to hear. I know now what I should have said.

Since I cannot go back to that day and see that call. I have to find peace.

It's also possible that what I said to David may have helped him in on Tuesday, but that moment may have still come on Wednesday. The moment when all hope was lost and David's illness allowed him to see only one way to escape the pain.

This is an article from a Catholic priest who has laid a wonderful foundation of understanding related to suicide.

Now, much of what I wish I would have been able to tell David, I need to tell myself.

Most importantly: "This, too, shall pass. Today may be hard, but tomorrow might be easier."

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Good is Beautiful

I couldn't help but think of David today as snowflakes fell to the ground in Chicago. Neither him or I like the cold winter, but we both appreciate the novelty and beauty of the first snow.

There's something really peaceful about watching gigantic white flakes gracefully fall from the sky.

So many things in our world are beautiful. Everyday things like the sunrise and sunset, dew on the grass in the summer, colored leaves in the fall, and snow coating the world in winter. Things that we may appreciate, but don't really spend time thinking about.

Experiencing a great loss, especially when life is lost earlier than expected, it's very normal for belief systems to shift. Many of the things I held as certainties: "God is all powerful," "There is a plan," "Everything happens for a reason," these things that I believed as fact through faith, are suddenly turned to questions.

Trying times encourage you to step back from held certainties, and look through a different lens. My different lens is grounded in a more mature understanding of pain and suffering, yet it is still yearning for hope.

Today as I saw these big flakes fall to the ground, I couldn't help but smile.

Life is beautiful. Our world is beautiful. People and relationships are beautiful. There are blessings in every corner, if you can just see them.

I'm not sure what this means for my questions, but I feel hope in the good. I think that while my lens is grounded by this suffering, it is also more appreciative of life's beauty.

The bad can be overwhelming, but the good is beautiful.

Maybe that is God. Like an idea of yin and yang, the bad exists, because for some reason it has to, but the good exists too.

It's comforting to think that there's some greater plan. Some objective that is being achieved through this suffering, but maybe there isn't. That doesn't mean that we cannot create goodness from hardship.

I would trade all my growth and perspective in a moment if it could bring David back. But since it can't, at least it challenges me to be a better self. I'm challenged to find good, create good, and be good.

I am thankful for that.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

We Remember Them


Today is International Survivors of Suicide Day. Events were held in over 300 locations around the world.

This was something that I really didn't want to attend (much like my support group and individual counseling) but I felt like I needed to go.

The event was nicely put together. It took place downtown Chicago on Michigan Avenue.

It's quite surreal walking into these things. There is an unspoken understanding in the room, without a word being spoken. People are there for a reason and even if you don't know their story, you feel a connection with them.

It is comforting to hear others' stories and empathize with their loss. It's nice to share your ideas and thoughts and hear other perspectives. It feels good to witness, learn, and share.

Though it was comforting to be there, it was a very emotional day for me.

It's funny that I say that because every day is a very emotional day. David has been gone for over a month now and yet it still doesn't feel real.

I dream of David, it seems like all night long. Only once has he spoken to me in a dream. That was a few weeks ago now, and his words were something like, "Wow, isn't that bizarre?!?" He said it in his unique David way and then walked away. Since then he's been present in my dreams, but more like a character who's not in the scene. I haven't seen him or heard his voice again.

During the day, I think of him every moment. I am obsessed with this grief. At times overcome by its intensity, other times dulled with its defense.

There are moments of shear pain, utter despair. In these moments, I feel empathetic to the pain that David felt. I feel like I have a glimpse of what it was like. This is the closest I can get to understanding his suffering.

These moments are suffocating. Energy and emotion intertwines forming an arrow, exploding through my heart and dissolving in tears.

Sometimes these moments come welcomed with open arms, I've been numb for too long and want to miss him again. Other times, they linger for too long. In these moments, I try to visualize the pain leaving my heart, the thoughts leaving my mind. I tune into my breath and close my eyes.

Every day is another day without David. What I need to remember, is that every day is another day of my life, too. It's important to live, even in times where my mind and heart are overcome with loss.

I will close with a poem that we recited today. It comes from the Jewish Book of Prayer. 


We Remember Them


In the rising of the sun and its going down,
We Remember Them.

In the bowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
We Remember Them.

In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring.
We Remember Them.

In the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer,
We Remember Them.

In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn.
We Remember Them.

In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
We Remember Them.

When we are weary and in need of strength,
We Remember Them.

When we are lost and sick of heart,
We Remember Them.

When we have joys and special celebrations we yearn to share,
We Remember Them.

So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are part of us.
We Remember Them.

Loving and remembering David J. today.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Right Answer

Today I had an interview.

During the interview, I was asked "Do you have any siblings?" The question came out of no where and my mind began scrambling. It was a sense of panic. I couldn't formulate what I was going to say so I just began talking. I said, "Yes, I have three older brothers and a younger sister. We have a really great family. My oldest brother lives in Miami. My next oldest brother lives with his wife and daughters in Iowa, and my next oldest brother is David. David passed away just over a month ago."

That's where I stopped.

She interjected, "Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that. What happened?"

This is only the second time I've been asked this question by someone who didn't know.

The first time I was at a memorial mass and I simply said, "He battled depression." I said this while holding his candle and with tears running down my face. She immediately understood, asked his name, and told me she would keep him and my family in her prayers.

Tonight was different, when she asked "What happened?" I replied without a thought.

"He was in a car accident."

She said, "Oh, no! Was it at night?"

I said, "Yes, he lived in Minneapolis. The other driver was okay but my brother died."

I said this without thinking and I felt sad as the words came out of my mouth. Maybe I said them because I wanted to know if they would feel better. Would it feel any less sad if I lost David to a sudden car accident? Would it be any easier to say?

The answer is no. This lie rattled out and it felt worse than the truth.

Since David's passing, I have taken a vow to talk about it. Maybe if I share the truth, someone else will know it's okay for them to share theirs. If we don't start talking about it now, when will we? It will never be easy, but it will be the truth and that makes it right.

I feel guilty for my lie, but more than that, I feel sorry that David's gone. I miss him every day.

I am sad that people who didn't know David won't get to know him. I'm sad that his illness, just that one part of him, now defines his death and to those who didn't know him, somehow his life, too. David was so much more.

I think the right answer might be to add one sentence, "David is gone. David battled depression. He was an incredible person who I strive to be like everyday." 

I hope then they'll ask what he was like because that's a question I would love to answer.


***I decided to write her an email tomorrow explaining what happened when she asked about my siblings. I know that she will understand.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Labor Day Visit, Part One

David moved back to the U.S. in July after living abroad in Colombia for the last two years. He arrived just in time for family festivities as my husband and I were married early in August. David was a the person who introduced Carlos and I (a story for a different post) so he was very involved with the wedding and gave a speech at our reception. With the wedding preparations, I was very busy and did not get to spend as much time with David as I would have liked.

As soon as things settled down, Carlos and I planned a trip to visit David in the Twin Cities. It worked out perfectly that we could visit over Labor Day weekend.We left Chicago on Friday afternoon and arrived early in the morning Saturday. Despite our middle of the night arrival, David insisted that he pick us up at the bus station. I was so excited for this weekend get-away. After a year of wedding planning, it was so nice to feel like I could just live again. I was very happy to spend time with David and excited to explore the Twin Cities.

We got a quick tour of David’s apartment upon arrival. He was living in an incredible historic mansion in Minneapolis. His room had a beautiful view of the downtown area and his love of history made him appreciate the place even more. He was excited to have us there and I was equally excited to be there.

David's House. His room is the one with four windows at the very top. Photo Credit: Luke Gibbs

We woke up Saturday morning and David fixed us breakfast. He made eggs, toast, and hashbrowns. I stood in the entry-way of the kitchen and watched him cook. He allowed me to keep him company but did not let me help. I’ll never forget that, the proud and excited way he prepared our meal. We all ate together and talked about what we wanted to do for the day. We had discussed different options but decided to rent bikes and explore around the lakes. David had a bike so Carlos and I just needed to rent them. There was a bike depot right near his apartment so we walked over and picked up our bikes there.

David led the way as we rode up and down the hills of Minneapolis. It wasn’t long before I needed a break. The rental bikes were super heavy and I was using every ounce of my energy to pedal those hills! David asked me if I would prefer to use his bike, he thought it would be lighter and an easier ride. I gladly accepted and we resumed our ride. He was right, with David’s bike I was able to move even faster than the boys.

We went down along the lakes and I rode ahead a little bit. Singing to myself quietly but listening to David and Carlos talk. It made me so happy to be there, sharing my brother with my husband and my husband with my brother. I felt proud and lucky. 

I remember riding and exclaiming, “this is the happiest I’ve felt in a long time!” David was surprised and said, “Anna, you just got married, shouldn’t that have been the happiest?” I said, “Yes, that was happy, but in a different way. This is a normal life kind of happy.” I couldn’t really explain it to him, or I was too embarrassed to be so honest, but really, I was feeling so excited that he was back in the US. I couldn't wait to be close again. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. My two best friends, were best friends. I couldn't wait for us to make many more memories together.

David was so fun to be around as he embraced life. He took advantage of opportunities to be active, experience new things, and have fun. He was a good influence on me.

We eventually parked our bikes along the lake and walked over to the beach. After only a moment of deliberation, we decided to go swimming. There was a floating island out in the middle of the lake and we swam out to it. The water was perfect after getting in and felt so refreshing after our ride. Growing up we did a lot of creek stomping and swimming in a nearby stream. We would hike up to the spring on our parent’s property. Some of these memories came back to me as we swam out to the island. I remember feeling young and happy to have this quality time with my brother and friend.

View of the island is off in the distance. 

We took turns jumping off the island and eventually just sat on the edge hanging our legs off the side. I was pretty in love with Minneapolis by this point and I told David and Carlos that I wanted to move there. We talked about this for a long time and eventually decided that maybe we could move in a year.

David and I talked about how nice it would be if all of our family lived close again. We’ve been spread out over the last few years and treasure our precious time together, usually once or twice a year. David and I talked with love for each of our siblings. I remember the feeling in my heart vividly. Sitting on that island, my feet hanging off the side into the water. Talking and laughing with David and Carlos. Feeling so blessed, like life was a dream.

Photo with David after we got out of the water. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Talking about Suicide

I can remember a lecture on suicide in my Clinical Psychology class in college. Unlike other lessons, I don't remember any personal anecdotes shared from our professor. We learned facts and statistics, many focused on gender differences in relation to suicide. Even in my Psychology class, suicide was something that no one wanted to talk about.

I started this blog with the hope of talking about some of these hard topics. I want to create awareness, while also trying to make some good out of this horrific bad. Most of all, I want to honor David.

I'm finding that this is very difficult. The hard topics are hard for a reason. No one wants to talk about suicide, including me.

Suicide is sad. It's sad because it exists. It's sad because it's misunderstood.

Even among many health professionals, suicide is talked about as if it is a choice. Not just a choice, but a bad choice. People who “commit” suicide give up. They use the most selfish means to end their pain, and burden all who love them. Life is too hard so they just take their own life.

Suicide is seen as the illness. It is rarely seen as the result of an illness.

I don’t see suicide as a choice. I think that those who die by suicide see it as the only option. They use the most painful means, to harm themselves. They endure suffering. They give up their successes, their dreams, their loved ones, and their future. They don’t feel that they are supposed to live anymore. Their brain is sending a signal to die. Their brain convinces them that they have to die.

Is there anything more scary or tragic? The dis-ease in your mind, literally taking your life from you. Taking your life from you, and doing it in a way that makes it look like you took it from yourself.

I can’t think of anything worse.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Quiet

I haven't been very inspired to write the last couple days. I've been cycling through feelings of sadness, frustration, anger, abandonment, helplessness, and quiet.

I feel the quiet right now. It's not an emptiness of emotion, it's tinted with sadness, but it's more like a sense of acceptance. It's almost a sense of peace.

This feeling comes infrequently, but when it does, I'm thankful for the break. It's a time to calm my mind and my heart, it allows me breathe deeply and relax for a moment.

I wonder if over time I will feel like this most of the time? Maybe that is the "new normal" I've heard about. Forever grounded in this loss, yet quietly grateful for my relationship with David.






Thursday, November 14, 2013

Burn Bright


I wish David could have heard this song. Now, I need to hear it. We need to hear it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Confusion

There are two conflicting ideas felt when you lose someone you love. Two opposing forces felt with equal intensity depending on the moment.

On one hand, you feel grateful. You feel so lucky to have had them for the time you did. You feel honored by their memory, inspired by their story.

On the other hand, you feel crippled with their loss. You feel that their death is unfair. It doesn't make sense and most of the time you just don't believe it.

Yet, you want to make them proud. You want to honor them with the life you have. You want to work hard and aspire to be half as great as they were.

But, if they couldn't finish graduate school, have a family, find a job they love, experience the joy of life, why do you? If they, in your eyes one of the best, most worthy people you've ever met, were robbed of these blessings, why weren't you?

You want them to know how much you love and miss them, and maybe the way they'll know that is by the despair you feel now. Maybe they'll see how loved they were and for a second you believe that that might bring them back.That doesn't last for more than a second when you realize that they are gone. They have passed on.

For some reason, they have passed on, and you're still here. You're here. Your body is here to take care of, your mind is here to challenge. You heart is here to feel and your loved ones need to be loved. You are here. The only part missing is them. The hole that they left.

You realize that the hole they left will not heal if you allow the outsides to soften and grow. They would not want that hole to over-take you. They would want you to do your best. They would want you to live.

After all, of all you learn when you lose someone you love, possibly most clear is how precious is life. The intimacy of each day. The fleeting nature of it all.

With that said, I decide to embrace the day, savor the gift. Feel comforted by the memories and empowered by their story.

That is what I decided yesterday, and what I'll decide tomorrow.




Return to the River

"There is a mighty river. The river is vast and infinite. The river has no beginning and it has no end—just the eternal flow. At a certain point in the river, the water goes over a cliff, breaking the river into droplets of water that fall over the edge in a glorious waterfall and return to the river below. The waterfall is life. Our life is the fall of one droplet of water. Each droplet yearns to connect with other droplets, sometimes making new droplets in the process. The river is God. The river is the whole from which we came, and the whole to which we return. God is in us and we are in God. Our yearning for connection with other people is our heartache for God. In the end, our individual droplet selves return to the river, and become part of the infinite whole once again." -Source Unknown


I found this inspirational post and picture on a fellow suicide survivor's blog: http://survivingmybrotherssuicide.blogspot.com/. I'm thankful for its beauty and hope.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Two-Sided Coin

I am humbled by the amount of readership "Loving David" has received. As I've written, I want this space to be one of celebration for our gift of David. I want to remember the happy memories and all of his greatness. While it would be very easy, and feel very good, to only focus on these comfortable stories, I feel equally called to shed light into the disease and experience which ultimately took him from us.

The caveat is that I don't want these less comfortable details to obscure David's healthy goodness. I want to create an understanding among those who loved David, and those who didn't have the privilege to meet him. The way I have processed these two sides of the coin, is by seeing them as just that. David was healthy, happy, loving, active, funny, bright, and dedicated. That is who my brother was. He very tragically was also ill and his depression contorted his thinking. The depression filled him with self-doubt and hopelessness. The depression is what ended his life.

One year ago, while living in Colombia, David got a physical illness and it lingered for over a month. David, a person who went to the gym nearly every day, played every sport he could learn, and who placed an insurmountable value on physical health felt trapped in his own body. For weeks he was not able to run, play sports, or get a good night's sleep. Not surprisingly, it did not take long for David to become pretty down-in-the-dumps.

His curious nature and quest for understanding led David to where most of us would be led to learn more: the internet. David began researching everything he find about his illness. His anxiety built about the worst-case scenarios and David began to lose a little hope. Much like mental illness, physical illness can take captive one's spirit. This line between physical and mental health began to blur as David's anxiety began to worsen his physical symptoms. Sleep became even harder to come by, due to his ever-cycling mind. David's anxiety began to be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy and soon he realized that his fixation on his illness was not healthy.

David sought out help in Colombia and began to see a psychologist. David was never given a diagnosis but was told he possessed certain "tendencies." Many of the traits which made him so successful and high-achieving: perfectionism, curiosity, etc. are the same traits which were able to become unhealthy. With the right triggers, these could unveil an obsessive nature which could be detrimental.

David resisted going on medication for quite some time. The research of the medication they wanted him to take revealed very scary side effects: Anxiety, Nausea, Insomnia, Restlessness, Dizziness, Weight Gain, Headaches, Constipation; the worst of all, Suicide. David did not feel comfortable taking this medication with the possibility of perpetuating his symptoms, especially while so far from home. Eventually, with the support and encouragement of his immediate family, and a few close friends who were in Colombia, David decided to give the medication a chance.

Within a few weeks, David was feeling more like his old self again. His physical illness was almost entirely gone by this time, and David was able to become active again. The medication helped lift the emotional cloud which had overtaken him, and I can remember the difference in his voice, the life had returned. David shared that he was feeling much better and so relieved to feel enjoyment in the simple things again.

This story will be continued...


Saturday, November 9, 2013

One Month

Today is the one month anniversary since David's passing. I still have moments of shock like I am learning what happened for the first time. I frequently want to call him, only to remember that I can't. I can still talk to him, but in a different way. I am working on that: how to talk to David without feeling foolish. Sometimes I feel his undeniable energy. It's very interesting and hard to explain. In those moments, I just know that David is with me. He's always with me, but in those moments he's right with me.

I miss our memories, our friendship, and our hopes for the future. It's very bizarre to miss him for events that haven't even happened yet. I miss him for the holidays, for his wedding, for experiencing parenthood together. I miss our shared hope to live close together again, and the fact it didn't get to happen. I miss making meals together and growing up together. I miss him.

When reflecting on how much I have learned in the last few weeks, I came up with a few lessons. I know this list will only continue to grow. It's incredible how David can continue to teach others, even when he's not here to do the talking.


David mid his Peruvian travels.



Things I have learned from David, and from losing him:

-Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Tell them how special they are. Hug them and kiss them. Love them.

-Make time to cultivate relationships. Whether stranger or old friend, never lose sight of the beauty found in people’s stories.

-Appreciate humor and take advantage of humor as a way to brighten others’ day

-Never make assumptions. Ask questions and LISTEN to the answer. Specifically ask, “How ARE you?” Mean it. Listen. Understand.

-Appreciate mental health. Appreciate physical health.

-Appreciate family. Love family. Spend time with family.

-When an intimate family or friend passes on from this earth, they live on through you. Aspire to be more like them. Allow them to empower you.

-Find joy in the simple things: a light breeze, a blue sky, or even a box of animal crackers.

-Be positive.

-Do the best you can do every day. Make a difference in everything that you do. Leave a lasting impression with all you meet.

-Some days will be hard, some days unbearable. Push through because the sun will shine again. The clouds will lift, and you will feel happiness. I understand that David's disease did not allow him this privilege. Appreciate this as a privilege.

-It is okay to have a bad day. It is not okay to feel bad for days. Seek outside help and support when needed.

-Appreciate nature. Every bird, every gust of wind. The world is so beautifully connected. Admire its intelligence.

-Keep faith. Trust yourself. Trust God.

I've also learned very much about mental illness generally, and depression and suicide specifically. Those are lessons for a different post but more poignant than any lecture I ever had studying psychology.

In one month, my life has changed completely. The way I see the world is different because my world is different. I have learned so much in only one month, and I am thankful that I am able to face tomorrow, despite my heavy heart and tear-filled eyes. I love you, my brother David.



Friday, November 8, 2013

Hopeful Metaphor

A tree as vibrant as David. 
My husband shared a hopeful metaphor with me: the pain I feel from missing David is like a burning flame. Every time my thoughts get close to specific memories, hopes, or dreams I get burned. The pain can be too intense to bear. But over time, that flame can be molded into something else, something different. It could be a diamond, gem, or crystal. It can be something beautiful that I hold with me at all times.

I know that sometimes it may still bring tears, but overwhelmingly, I will feel proud and humbled by who David was. I will feel love. I will feel thankful that David was my big brother for 23 years of my life. I will feel empowered by his struggle and more compassionate toward others. I will remember who David was, what he taught me, and what he encouraged me to be.

Today I am thankful for today. I am thankful for all the yesterdays. I don't know what tomorrow will bring but I have hope. I love you, David.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Brother

David began his Master's in Public Policy at the University of Minnesota this fall. He fell in love with Foreign Policy at the University of Iowa while earning his undergraduate degree in Political Science. David had an ear and heart for the injustices of the world. He struggled with the question why. Why does this happen? Why can't God ease some of the suffering in the world?

The love David had for others whom he didn't even know, is only a glimpse into the love he had for his family and friends. David thrived in a group of people, whether strangers or old friends, he was quick to instigate a meaningful conversation, debate, or share a funny story to break the ice. David had a charismatic glow about him. Everywhere he walked, and he walked with a pretty great stride, he was connecting with people.

Growing up four years younger than David, I wanted to be as cool as I considered him to be. We had a volatile relationship growing up, he was jealous of me due to the attention I received as the first girl. He was pretty mean to me at times, and this caused a resentment in me. Even though I admired him to no end, I did not let him know this. I put on a hard shell toward him and acted like I was better than him. We knew just want to say to each other to cause pain.

It wasn't until my Freshman year of college when this changed. I moved to the same city as him and began my studies while he was finishing his last year. David was really good at school. He worked hard, earned excellent grades and really learned what he was studying. He loved history and political science. He felt proud of his ability to spout off dates and specific events that changed our world. I often felt intimidated by his knowledge.

David would critique my papers for class and taught me how to make a logical argument. He brought me grocery shopping and at some point we began to hang out by choice. He liked asking me to go shopping with him, I remember with great happiness shopping for his first suit. He looked so sharp and was very excited. Through our friendship, I learned of David's kindness and sensitive heart. His outward shell of humor and intelligence, often overshadowed his extreme compassion. Learning this about my brother made me love him even more. Through our friendship over the next few years, something in my heart changed. David not only was my big brother, but I felt like his big sister.

We constantly told each other how proud we were of the other. We still had little tiffs, but immediately would work to find a peaceful resolution. We would make up with a tight hug and two "I love yous" one from him, and one from me.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

One Month Ago

All the love in the world. All the heartache in the world. All the prayers in the world. None of this can bring David back to me.

I am in disbelief. The days have passed and I don't know where they have gone. One month ago, I was driving to the mall with Carlos. It was raining, traffic was congested, and David's call could not have come at a better time. I was missing him then, and I didn't even know it until I heard his voice. He was feeling a little stressed about school, but was more interested in hearing about my job prospects and being the supportive brother that he always was. Looking back now, I can see that David was withdrawn, but he was so loving. We probably talked for 15 or 20 minutes. I told him how I had volunteered that morning and I was going to look for a dress for Jacob's wedding. He told me how he was taking the greyhound home for the wedding and I told him I thought he would prefer that over driving. We just had a normal conversation. He asked how Carlos was doing, like always, how was his job? David was happy for him to hear that it was going well.

We hung up because he said he needed to go to the gym. I told him to have a good time at the gym and he reminded me to call him more often. I told him I hadn't been calling as frequently because I knew he was busy and didn't want to burden him. I told him I loved him and he told me that he loved me.

I didn't know it then, but that's the last conversation I will ever have with my brother David.