It’s Saturday in January; you’re getting the family ready for your son’s basketball game. Your mom is coming to cheer on her grandson. Just another Saturday—an easy one with not much going on. It’s just like January should feel.
Later in the day, you attend a friend’s baby shower all while getting texts from your mom and sister. He hasn’t responded to calls, texts. Should we go check? Is he just asleep still? You try to enjoy the shower—the games, the sweet gifts, but you just feel off and keep going back to your phone. You also text your brother that he needs to respond; you are getting really worried now.
After you head home, your husband and son go off to your son’s first music lesson. Your littlest is napping. There are plans for a date night with friends—a new babysitter is coming. You let your friend know what’s going on and that you may be late. She asks you to keep her posted on getting in touch with him. You promise to do so.
Things happen. People are called. You pray he is sleeping and this is all just for nothing. But still, you don’t feel right. This time, it feels different.
Your little one wakes up. You go into parent mode. You try to stay calm because she needs you. You text him again. You tell him you love him and that he needs to text you back. You talk to your mom who is waiting for the police to check on him. You hang up. And you wait. And you wait.
She calls back. She is crying, and you know. Your knees give out. No, not again. NOT AGAIN. You call that friend right back and don’t remember what you say. Next thing you know, she is lifting you off the floor. You can’t think of anything so she does it all for you. Your husband comes home, and he knows.
When you get to your mom’s, no one is there. It’s just you in the dark living room. Is this real life? You question everything. Everything. You text him again. You tell him you love him and that you are so sorry. You love him. You love him. You love him.
People have to be told. You learn more details. You fall again, and no one is there to catch you. You just stay on your mom’s kitchen floor.
When the garage opens and your sister and mom have returned, you embrace so hard. In the same spot where you embraced in 2002. The same spot you carried each other when your dad died. It’s happening again, and you all physically hurt.
You go through the motions. You call friends. You drink wine. Your aunt comes and says she just wants to hold you for days. You plan. You don’t tell your kids. You still haven’t told your kids how and you are not sure when you will.
You have a memorial. You have life after loss. You still have to parent two little children. You go through the stages – denial, acceptance, anger, and then you skip around a bit. You land on one spot you can’t get off of though you try and try and try. Suicide is different than an accident. The grief is different. You are different.
You can do his birthday, but you cannot do the anniversary. You see your kids being daredevils, and you can’t call him to tell him they remind you of him. You are still angry. At times, you can’t believe there are only three left of a family of five. It’s all you think about, and it’s hard.
You still question. And yes, you still hurt. You don’t understand, yet you understand completely. You miss him. You think of him and laugh. You think of him and cry. You think of him and want to punch something.
You vow to make this new year a year to hug more. You will work on all the emotions. You miss him. You miss what use to be. You hate change, and you hate that he’s not in your world.
You share this story because maybe it makes sense to someone. You share because maybe the words out in print will somehow make sense to you. You try. You try. You try.
You have to try. Because he chose to go home, you have to choose to live.