TW: losing someone to suicide
It has been almost two months since I last wrote a blog post, so let me fill you in.
The last time we spoke I was in an extremely hectic time in my life. I was so busy, but so happy. The end of the school year was coming and I was finishing up my last assignments. I had raised my GPA by a whole point and I did really well on my first round of the SAT with minimal studying. I had prom coming up and I was getting ready for it everyday. I got my nails done, ordered flowers, had my dress, and made a hair appointment. I was spending time with friends and going to parties. I was being a normal teenager and for the first time in a while I was really happy. Prom came and went on May 19 and I can easily say it was one of the best nights I have had. It could not have been better. I was floating in pure bliss in a happy little bubble, and so were all of my friends. But our bubble popped on May 24th.
At 3:06 pm on Monday, May 24, I answered my ringing phone to learn that a good friend of mine had committed suicide. I can say for the first time in my life I felt that feeling where the world just stops. Everything just stopped moving. I remember hanging up the phone and just sitting there in my car in absolute disbelief. I did not think that it could be real. It could not have been this friend. But it was, and then I knew I had to move.
That afternoon, I made a lot of phone calls. 47 phone calls. People that had to be told or who already knew. About 22 of my friends and I ended up at the same house that night. We just sat there in shock, in silence, in utter disbelief. Supporting one another. Broken, but together. One broken person trying to support another broken person.
I was in utter disbelief. I had no feelings. I was in pure shock. As I held my crying friends, I couldn’t find my own tears. I thought and still do, it couldn’t be C. He would not do something like that, but he did.
For the privacy of his family and my community, I am going to refer to my friend as C. God did I love him. I had never really met a soul like him before. He was just this spectacle of a human being. He had this incredible light inside of him and it shined so bright. He was good at everything. He was an insanely talented athlete, but he was just as smart as he was athletic. And as talented as he was in school and on the field, he was just as kind. He loved so hard and he made sure you knew it. C was so incredibly loved and I know he knew that too.
C touched so many people’s lives. He and I shared a locker together in middle school and shared almost every class together freshman year. I think we learned a lot from each other. He was such a good friend to me. He touched every single one of my friends' lives just as much. If there is anything I have learned over the past two months, it is that C impacted everyone around him. He really did. There is and was no one like him. He was uniquely C. His footprint on this world was massive for the amount of time he was on this Earth and it made his death just that much harder.
C’s death shook my community, and it absolutely rocked my world. No one could wrap their minds around how someone like C could kill themself. He was popular, loved, intelligent, and had the brightest future ahead of him. People assumed he was just a jock who bottled up his feelings, but that was not C. C talked about his struggles, received help and treatment, and had an incredible support system. He had every resource he could have. But his demons were just too much. Life was no longer sustainable for him. And as much as it crushes me to look at this current situation in the eye, I hope with all of my heart that he was able to find the inner peace he was not able to find physically on this earth.
I had to put everything in my life on pause to grieve C’s death. Grief is a strange feeling, but grieving someone who took their own life is a whole different type of it. A whole new pain, confusion, hurt, and suffering. One that I had not ever felt until now. The thought of someone taking their own life shatters everything inside of me. Grieving someone who died by suicide is painful. The feeling is not linear and there is no plan of action. It just happens. People always say that there are steps of grief, but I can’t see how every person who experiences a loss can go through the same steps in the same order. I always thought that was how it would go, but it is not. One day I am fine, one day I am not. Weeks go by and I am okay, and then other weeks I am not.
The strangest part about grief for me is that it seemed to strip away my emotions. I am a person who has a large emotional capacity. I feel my feelings strongly, but after C’s death I did not. I was numb and an emotionless front, and I was so confused on how I was not an emotional, crying mess because of how high my emotions usually run. I am not sure if it was my own warped coping mechanism or to help other people in their grief and not myself, but until about two weeks ago, I was numb. After ignoring my own grief, my own guilt, and my own sadness, two weeks ago I finally faced what I had been dreading, my feelings.
After crying twice in the first week of his passing, all the tears that have been built up have come. I finally faced my feelings about C through writing. And then after writing I dug through every single thing we had shared. The books and notebooks we used in class, our text conversations, all our Google Docs, our school videos and projects, pictures, memories, and inside jokes. I cried when I found the things I wanted and I also cried when I could not find some things too. Almost two months later, I have found myself in the deepest my grief has been yet. I think it finally started to sink in. And it is okay because this process is not something that can be predicted. Not a day goes by where I do not think of C, but facing my feelings is beginning to let me heal from the wound of his death.
Despite how deeply C’s death has wounded myself and my community, I still fight to find something a little brighter than the darkness we are in. I fight to learn something in the cave of sadness I am in. And I have. C’s death has shown me how much love there is around me and in my life, but also the amount of love I have for my friends and those in my life. I can honestly say that if it was not for my friends, I do not think I would have been able to get through this unimaginable time in my life. As we grieved, as our community grieved, we came together as one to support one another. From being together the night he died, to doing things everyday that week, to checking in on each other, to having open conversations about mental health, to just showing our love to one another, I can not thank my friends enough for everything they have done for me and for each other.
I truly realized how much I love the people in my life and one thing this nightmare of two months has shown me is to tell the people you love that you love them. Hug your friends even if you don’t usually. Check in on the people in your life. You can never know the impact of your actions and your words on another human being, so I started to show my true love and my true feelings to the people in my life. I used to hold back my love, but life is too short to not tell the people you love you love them. I wish I had told C I loved him.
I have relived the last conversation I have had with C over in my head everyday for the past 2 months. The last conversation I had with C was about this blog.
He had read one of my entries and texted me to tell me that he had read it and thought it was well done. We had not talked for a while, and the fact that he reached out and texted me that he read an entry meant so much to me. This sparked a whole day's conversation about our life updates and how we were, and that was the last time we spoke. This blog is now one of my last connections to C and it makes me both happy and sad. Now when I think of Big Little Sister, I think of C and our conversation and it hurts. But I also know that he loved and admired this blog, so it motivates me to keep going, keep writing, and keep sharing my story for myself, for C, for my readers, and for anyone who needs it.
I wanted to share this part of my life with you not to use it as an excuse for not writing or to make you feel bad for me, but purely to normalize sharing these deep, complex emotions and dark times. There is a reason mental health and suicide are stigmatized within our world, and I felt that I am providing myself a disservice, C a disservice, and you a disservice by not sharing my truth. This is the raw, unfiltered truth about my life.
This year has arguably been the hardest year of my life yet, but despite everything that I have been through, I refuse to let my light be dimmed. I refuse to let my light stop shining despite the emotions, the adversity, and everything that has been thrown into my path.
So as I pick up the pieces, I am beginning Big Little Sister again, for real this time. I have a new fire inside of me to make change, normalize speaking about your feelings and truths, and share my story. For me, for C, and for you, I am back.
You are loved. You are worth it. You are worthy of this life. Fight another day for yourself. Check in on your friends, but more importantly check in on yourself. Speak up. Do not suffer in silence. I love you and I hope you know how much value you add to this life.