Disclaimer: This story includes mentions of suicide and may be triggering to some.
Just like the waves of the ocean, my grief for you over the last year has come in waves, and today it feels like I’m drowning.
June 25th, 2019, will forever be one of the darkest days in my life and I am struggling with this as we near the anniversary of that day. It was shortly after 5 p.m. and my husband called me at work to tell me you had shot yourself. You were in the hospital an hour away, and they didn’t know if you’d make it. I went completely numb. Simple tasks suddenly became impossible, like figuring out how to walk from my office to the elevator, how to walk to my car in order to get home so we could drive an hour to be with you. I kept telling myself you weren’t really gone and they would be able to save you.
When I finally got to see you and hold your hand at the hospital, I knew the outlook wasn’t good, yet I was still in denial. It wasn’t until they started prepping for your organ donation I started to realize that was really going to be the last time I’d see you breathing. The silence was deafening as our family shuffled behind your hospital bed as they rolled you down the hall and to the operating room. A kind lady gave us a quick rundown on what was about to happen (I remember trying to listen but it was all muffled) as we slipped into our operating room gowns, booties, masks, and hairnets. All the while, we were looking at each other in sorrow and disbelief, each hoping it was all just a horrifying dream we would finally wake up from. I held your hand and kissed you goodbye one last time as they took you off the ventilator. We held each other as we watched your heartbeat slow and as you took your last breath. I could feel the warm saltwater streaming down my cheeks but I couldn’t get much out for words; your life and all the good times flashed through my mind at a million miles an hour. I just remember saying something like, ‘I love you, brother’ and ‘See you on the other side.’ I left that hospital knowing a piece of me died with you that day you took your life much too soon, at 25 years young.
I miss you more than words could ever express and I’m so grateful for all the wonderful memories I have of us growing up at the family lake cabin, nightly bonfires, midnight boat rides, concerts (too many to list), holidays (4th of July was always my favorite with you), wakeboarding, snowboarding, bowling, birthdays, Sunday dinners, family game nights (even though you hated games), and our unforgettable annual family camping trips. Family trips to Hawaii, Mexico, Wisconsin, Colorado among many more. I’ll never forget dancing our asses off to Gangnam style in a club in Mexico (we were the only ones there so they played it on repeat to keep us dancing) and you literally trading the shirt off your back for a necklace on the beaches of Mexico. Who could forget that time we rented scooters in Hawaii to drive along the beach to watch the sunset? You weren’t old enough to drive yet, but you talked the guy into giving you your own scooter anyway since he was from Nebraska. You then fishtailed and blew through the stop sign on the way out of the parking lot. We all lost it laughing.
You were always the life of our party. I used to try and embarrass you by yelling, ‘BROTHER’ as loud as I could whenever I saw you in public and you would just shake your head and laugh while yelling back, ‘SISTER.’ You were one heck of a drummer and I loved watching you perform at your Jazz and Pangea concerts. You had such a free and loving spirit. I like to think the day I walked away from that hospital without you, that is the part of you I gained.
I thought about you a lot this past week as protests erupted all across the world. I know if you were still here, you would have been out there too – equality meant everything to you. You had such a pure heart even when you were fighting your own internal battles with depression, anxiety, and drugs.
We love to talk to Alivia (our 2-year-old daughter) about her uncle Corey and how special you are. We tell her how lucky we are to have you watch over us. We are grateful for the hospital giving us a Build-A-Bear which plays your recorded heartbeat when you squeeze it – Alivia loves to squeeze it and tell us she is hugging Uncle Corey.
Two wonderful people received kidneys because of you and I’m sure you would be so happy to know that. Thank you for all you taught me. You’d be so happy to see we are going to continue to do all we can to help the world change for the better, that is all you ever wanted.
Love you always and forever,
The past year our family has been trying our best to pick up the pieces. We will never recover but we are working towards finding our new normal. Corey taught us to continue to love fiercely and remember to take our own mental health seriously.
We miss him every day and if you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help, know you are loved, and those who love you will never be the same without you.”
[[If you’re thinking about hurting yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help is out there. You are not alone.]]
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jacki Jacox. You can follow their journey on Facebook. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more touching stories like this:
‘If you do this, Kara, you will not be able to undo it. It will be permanent, forever.’: Woman writes letter after cousin’s suicide, ‘You must not know the impact it’s going to have on the rest of us’
Provide beauty and strength for others. SHARE this story on Facebook with your friends and family