“I banged on the door endlessly for what seemed like an eternity screaming my sister’s name. In those moments, I knew… I just knew, something was horribly wrong. My body was in complete panic with adrenaline rushing through me at levels I had never experienced before in my life. There was no more time for knocking. No time to call for help. NO MORE TIME. I had to find a way in. The garage was old and wooden with a handle to keep it locked in place.
With one forceful kick, the lock snapped. I ran through the house and up the stairs frantically while giving each room a quick scan. My mind was racing. ‘Where is she?? Where in the hell is she?? I’m losing it…she is just out…she isn’t even home. Calm down…just calm down…’
Then, I opened her bedroom door…
I pushed the door open forcefully, pissed off at both my sister and myself for ‘overreacting,’ while in the same moment, feeling an odd indescribable calmness come over my body. Everything was going to be fine.
Until it wasn’t.
Before anything, my eyes immediately locked with my sister’s eyes. I became disorientated. In a way, almost disassociating from my body. The room was spinning and a loud high-pitched ring pierced my ears. Heat flushed through my body like a scolding shower as I slowly scanned each inch of her. My reality was the most excruciating nightmare I had ever experienced. She wasn’t blinking. Her chest and belly were still. Her arms rested heavily to her side. Her feet were blue and blood and vomit surrounded her.
This was it. My baby sister was gone. She had surrendered to life. I was too late. I COULDN’T SAVE HER.
I held her in my arms and screamed and cried and begged…like I never have before…for God to take me too.
The days, weeks, even months following those moments, were excruciating. The pain was paralyzing. The guilt was debilitating.
This wasn’t part of the plan. This was supposed to be her fresh start. A place where she would feel loved and supported. A place where she would NEVER feel alone. A place where I could keep her safe. My sister and I had spent the prior year attached at the hip. We would chat for hours over way too much coffee, spend long late nights watching Netflix documentaries one after another and walk around the house on the weekends looking like crazies with whatever new homemade anti-wrinkle concoction we decided to whip up for our faces. She spent the beautiful spring and summer days as my sidekick in the park writing while I worked and was hand and hand with me loving on my babies every day just as much as I was.
This wasn’t fair. It shouldn’t have been her. Her big bright smile lit up every room she walked into and those green eyes…oh those green eyes, held so much understanding and love for others. How could a soul that had immense compassion for others, not give herself the same grace?
How could I have let this happen? How could I have let suicide take her life?
During the day, my mind raced with the ‘could haves,’ ‘should haves,’ and ‘would haves,’ until I made myself physically sick. And when I was finally able to shut my eyes, I was terrorized by horrific dreams of finding her over and over and over again.
At that time, I had also just started a new job, my marriage of almost 10 years was ending and my now ex-husband was hardly ever around, I had two little humans depending on me, and the rest of my family was 600 miles away.
How in the world was I going to do this alone? How was I going to look into the eyes of my innocent little boys and tell them that their Auntie Bree Bree was gone? How was I even going to keep living myself when just taking a breath was overwhelming hard?
One night, I put my babies to bed, downed a bottle of wine, dropped to my knees, and cried and prayed ALL NIGHT LONG.
I prayed for answers. I prayed for strength. I prayed for clarity. I prayed for purpose… for a reason to keep doing this life.
By morning it was clear to me that through my pain, it is my purpose to help others heal. And that through my sister’s pain and story, WE can give someone hope in their most hopeless moments.
It has been a little over a year in a half since the day my world changed forever. I still dream of holding her in my arms. I can still feel the chill of her body imprinted into me. I can still see her eyes so vividly green and glossy staring at me. Every day. Every single day. Just writing this throws my body into a complete panic and even now, at this moment, it still feels so real that it is hard for me to discern whether I want to puke or pass out.
If I sat with all of those feelings and all of that pain every day, there would be no reason to live. Every day, I choose to be right here, right now. But, the honest truth, each new day brings some sort of challenge and growth. And when I feel like I can’t do it on my own, I reach out. I have a Healer, a Coach, a Therapist, a Hypnotherapist, a Massage Therapist, and an Acupuncturist… I pray, oh do I pray. I meditate and practice gratitude. So much gratitude. I cherish the simple moments. I love deeper than I have ever loved before. You guys, healing, is work.
All of this, and my faith is what allows me to wake up with a smile on my face every morning.
Faith, that there is more to life than this. Faith, that energetically our spirits are eternal. Faith, that my pain serves a purpose… a purpose so much greater than myself. Faith that every human is made of love and that no matter their journey, no matter their pain, no matter their loneliness…they can always be pulled back to Source and made whole again.
Never forget that during grief, you are not alone. You are not too much. Your story is not too much. No one else’s pain is more significant than yours. No one else’s loss is more worthy of being shared than yours. You do not always have to be ok. You do not have to hold back in order to protect the memory of the person whom you’ve lost. And reaching out, never means you’re weak because it takes an immense amount of strength to ask for help.
Pain, that devastatingly horrible pain that comes along with grief, brings growth, awareness, and compassion for others to a whole new level.
Yes, I have a story that is heartbreaking. BUT, I am not my story. I am the beauty that I chose to grow into because of my story.
You can do the same.”
[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.]
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