Today is your 24th birthday. If I could mail you a letter in heaven, what would it say?
I would start out trying to sound hopeful, maybe pointing out all of the ways that the pain I've suffered has made me a better person. I'd tell you how my grief has been able to help others along the way.
Too many others. Suicide is an epidemic in America now. I wonder if you knew that, before you took your life? I wish I had known. I wish I had seen the signs.
I don't spend as much time wishing now, though. I've mostly accepted the truth. Most of the time. Can you believe that, four years later, I still forget sometimes that you're not here anymore? It gets especially bad during the holidays, when the whole family gets together.
Am I angry? Not at you. I still feel mostly protective of my baby brother. I know that you don't need protecting anymore, but, still. I was angry at God for a while, for not rescuing you, but I know now that he did. Why did you have to suffer so much first? Some answers never come.
It does get to me sometimes, all of the minor details that could have been different in your last days. Maybe one small thing could have changed your fate. What would it be like to have you still here? I didn't appreciate my family enough until you we gone. I took you all for granted, but not anymore.
If there is any good that has come from losing you, it's the closeness that the rest of us have now, having walked such a terrible path together. I can't say it was worth losing you for, but I don't really have a choice, do I?
There are a few other people in heaven that I wonder if you've been able to meet. People that left this world the same way you did. Friends and family and friends of friends.
There is something about your birth, life and death that I just can't wrap my mind around. I can't imagine the feeling that Mom and Dad must have when this day comes every year. The days that my children were born mark the best of my life. Birthdays are for celebrating life. Your birthday is a day that I try to celebrate your 19 years. It's a day that I should be thankful that you were in my life at all. It doesn't come naturally, though. What comes naturally is to think that it sure would have been nice to know you as a 24 year old. Your friend are getting married, having kids, going off on the mission field. I'm proud of them, and I see you in them. It hurts, though. Every time I one of them reaches such a milestone, I'm reminded of what we were cheated of when you chose to leave, all because you lost perspective for a little while and can't take it back.