So just a say after celebrating my 4 year anniversary with my best friend and love of my life, I have to acknowledge the day my brother took his on life. We were estranged, my brother and I, after he left to join the military during my sophomore year of high school and I didn’t hear from him again until shortly after I graduated college.
He messaged me to let me know he was proud. And sent me a gift.
He sent my a kindle fire, something I used until I lost the charger, and something I haven’t thrown away because it’s the only thing he ever gave me.
While I was on the first day to with the man that would one day be my husband, my older brother went out into the woods of Colorado, with a device that he made on his own, and took his own life. He was found a few hours later by some people on a hike and we found out after the police dropped by my moms, to let us know his body had been found.
It was surreal the people that swept in to be by our side at this time. Crazy, how strong I realized I could be as my family fell apart breaking down in fits of tears, trying to remember the memories we had. I was tasked with finding people that knew him. People that could explain to us where he had been, what happened, and how we was shortly before he ended it all.
And in that process, I learned a lot about my brother. Who he was? What he liked? What he was working on? What dreams he had that didn’t hold up for one reason or another? And it made me reflect about my own life immediately. And in knowing my brother reached for his dreams and for whatever reason couldn’t meet them, he tried to live a life he loved, but for some reason was unable, I switched my energy of who I thought I needed to be and decided to become more of who I was, am, becoming.
At 31, he ended his life. And at 25 I began mine.
Every year has been more and more of me finding myself, living out my dreams, pursuing my desires and passions, loving my kids, being open with my spouse, being the person I wanted to be and not the one I thought I had to be. And as I get older I realize more and more exactly who that is.
So what did his death teach me exactly, it taught about living. REALLY living. About experiencing, feeling, being open, being honest, being real, and moving away, letting go, and riding myself of things that didn’t let me do that. His death taught me about how much power I really have. The power to start, to finish, to end it. His death taught me about the demons that I had for myself and how I needed to deal with them before they destroyed me. The destructive thoughts, the harmful thinking, the tattered memories, my childhood scars, my own fears, my triggers, the gaps in my thinking, my denial of self. He taught me to deal with that so that not living my dreams would stop haunting me.
Every year, I get better. I get more excited, I feel more at ease with myself, more at ease with my decisions, more proud because of my choices. I have learned its not always about the end. The legacy. The culmination, but about the day. Focusing on the moment. Living in the now. And being open to letting those you love do it with you.
His death taught me to let people in. It taught me there is so much more to life. That time is abundant when you look at the moment. That I have so much left to do. So much more to experience. I learned to be a better mom, better partner, better friend, better teacher, a better me, because of how I want to feel right now and how I want to be remembered. How do you want you kids to think of you, you family to think of you, your community to acknowledge you?
How do you want to be remembered?