Tomorrow marks 24 years since my baby brother was born.
I would say that he turns 24 tomorrow, if he hadn't killed himself a little over four years ago. It still feels quite surreal, actually, the fact that he's not here anymore. Sometimes I'm really sad about it. Sometimes, I relive the trauma of that first week after his death.
Sometimes, though, I can think about it without any emotion at all, which is strange to me. This is especially true when I'm talking to people who have recently lost someone to suicide. I can tell them about my experience, and I suppose I can understand their pain better than most, but I always feel like I'm telling someone else's story. It bothers me when his death doesn't bother me, like maybe I'm disconnecting from some deep anguish that is bound to come back and ruin me later.
It's also likely, and much more pleasant to believe, that I've just got some perspective on things. He's gone. I'm sad. There's definitely some survivor's guilt and occasional anger, but I also recognize that I've got so much to be thankful for and the rest of my immediate family is living, as well as my husband and kids. Life is still beautiful, really, even if it does feel a little incomplete sometimes.
I hate taking family photos still. I think we all try to avoid it, without saying why. It is getting easier to get together as a family now. It hurts to admit it, but I sometimes forget to notice his absence.
His name is Daniel. I wish he could have met my kids. They would have loved him. He died six days before my oldest, Isabella was born. One more week and he'd have met her. I don't know that it would have changed things, but I can't help but wonder.
Exactly one week before he died, I went into the hospital with false labor. The whole family started the 6 hour road trip to see the baby. They made it 3 1/2 hours in before we found our it wasn't real labor and they sent me home. I wish I had asked the doctors to induce labor. I wish they had kept driving and come to see me, anyway. Then I would have gotten to see him on last time.
I don't remember the last thing I said to him. He was nineteen and I was 23 when he died. We hadn't really gotten old enough to appreciate each other, though we'd always gotten along fine.
I really can't imagine what it must be like for my parents, having him gone. The moment my son, Korban was born, I thought of my brother. I thought of what it must have been like for my parents to have a son and love him so much and have him kill himself nineteen years later. It makes me angry that such wonderful moments in my life get imposed upon with such sad thoughts.
That may be my greatest fear as a parent. Losing a child in such a way.
I know that heaven is all about meeting Jesus. I have to admit, though, that it didn't start to feel real until I had family up there waiting for me. It kind of makes me feel prematurely old, having my brother there already.