Friday, February 21, 2014

Happy Birthday, my brother

"Loved ones may leave or die...and this is not a reason to close your heart but to open it even more willingly, to give your life to love and it's expression...For life is short and love is infinite" -Jeff Foster. 

David, you will forever live in my heart. I love you, my brother. 

Please be with us today and all days, grace us with your presence and show us your light.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

David's Birthday

David's birthday is approaching: this Friday he would have turned 28. My emotions are very conflicted and I don't know how I feel. Even more, I don't know how I'm supposed to feel. Typically in life, you know which emotions are appropriate or suspected to arise on special days and events. Happiness is typical in times of achievement, progress, and success, and sadness in times of disappointment, loss, or defeat.

February 21st is the day that David came into this world. Throughout his life it was a day he enjoyed and loved to share with those he loved. For this reason, I want to celebrate David's birthday. I want to have a party and see all of those who David loved. In an effort to honor David's spirit and his energy for life, I want to dance and laugh and be happy.

Contrasting this, is the sheer devastation that he's gone. He's not turning 28 on Friday and he's not in this world the way he used to be. Does his birthday matter to him anymore? What does matter to him now? Will he feel honored by my acknowledgment of what once was? How can I show him my love?

These questions, and so many more, cycle through my mind and into my heart, and then back to my mind. I simply don't know. I don't know their answers, and I don't know how they even make me feel. There is no "how-to" book on learning to live after this sort of loss. There's no checklist that will mend my heart or bring me peace.

David has passed on to the next phase and is experiencing life in a different dimension. I miss hearing about his life and sharing mine. I miss his voice and his laugh. It's hard to feel so disconnected from someone you love so much. It's difficult to not know what his world is like now. It's hard that on his birthday, the day you've celebrated with him every year (even if not together physically) he's not here in the way you wish he was.

This grief is really a never-ending test, and one that is impossible to ace. Every situation produces a new riddle and even though none of the options sound appealing, you must choose one. You must choose your version of the best answer, and then somehow continue on to be stumped again.

This weekend, despite my anxiety and emotions tonight, I look forward to celebrating my brother. I hope he's able to be with all who loved him, and give us a little sign that he's doing alright.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Windy City Live Special

I am so thankful and encouraged by these testimonials of loss by suicide. Please watch these THREE SHORT VIDEOS and be challenged to better understand.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

4 Months

The 9th of the month is a good time for me to do a personal check-in. I think of David throughout each day; though on the 9th, I feel an additional responsibility to spend time with him, right in my heart. Since today is Sunday, the majority of this time was spent lounging around. The warmth and comfort of our home required an incredible amount of willpower to leave, to attend a 5:00 church service tonight.

The message at mass was focused on our ability to be a source of light and joy. It discussed our responsibility to serve others and opportunity to be self-less in whatever we do. I took this especially personal tonight. For the last four months, I have been grieving: I've been struggling to survive and looking forward to each days' end. The message at church tonight reminded me my intentions of yesterday. The desire I had, and somewhere still have, to be of service to others.

Losing David has grounded me in a way I could have never imagined. In the last four months, I have changed and in many ways I have grown: I have become more appreciative of family and more certain about the things that matter to me in my life. In other ways, losing David has stunted my growth. I've become so intensely in-touch with my own needs, that it's become more difficult to look at others'. I've become so engrossed with death and loss, that at times the living in my own life goes missing.

Grieving is a balancing act. It's an internal struggle of what was, and what needs to be now. It's learning to live with something that you'll never understand and requires making peace with something that brings you pain. My goal for the next month is to fill my life with life; I want to live in a way which honors David.

Self-expression is something that brought me an incredible amount of healing, and life, these last few months. Whether it is writing, putting artistic touches on my apartment, or even cooking, I feel comforted and happy when I am able to create with my heart. A couple months ago, I shared a photo Carlos had taken of me standing on the beach, a single seagull caught in the frame. This symbolic image brings me comfort. I love the idea that David is gliding above; just far enough away from us to be shielded from life's difficulty, but close enough to send and receive our love. This week, I saw this image again, and was immediately inspired with these words:

This image, and these inspired words, bring me peace and joy tonight. As my journey of healing continues, I hope to someday be a source of peace and joy for others. Sending my brother David, and all of you, love, gratitude, and peace tonight.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Broken Night

My heart feels especially broken tonight
This marathon of grief leaves me breathless, gasping for air
defeated and downtrodden
hurt and empty
The missing and longing is too much to bear
It's too heavy, too painful
Intensely mine and intensely yours
Shared and not shared
Understood and misunderstood
Spoken and unspoken

My words fall short and tears fill my eyes.
My heart feels especially broken tonight.