Everyone works their way through things differently.

Sometimes what is survival doesn’t seem to fit. Some situations you just have to get through, and maybe that is survival, I don’t know.

Two days after Christmas 4 years ago we heard the words that no siblings even knows how to hear. “I’m sorry. He’s deceased. Apparent suicide”. I remember how wet it was that day as I crumpled to the sidewalk. I remember my little sister on the phone asking what the police officer said and handing the phone to my husband. I found out that day that body bags can be tan and not just black.

When I found his laundry still wet in the washing machine I went on a cursing rant at him in his garage. The community outreach minister walked in on my rant. I apologized and she told me to yell. To cry. To feel all the feels cuz they were legitimate.

I remember sitting on our couch staring at the walls wondering why and how and what we could I have done different? Family came and drama ensued as it is wont to do with family. Then they were gone. And it was quiet and I realized I hadn’t been alone in weeks. So I talked to him. Yelled a little. Cried a lot. Reminded him that I loved him and told him how much I missed him already.

Survival can look different for everyone. Many times it’s hiding behind a smile or a blank stare.

I dove back in to nursing school. Got my degree. Got a job. Then we got tattoos. Feathers and birds and a copy of his name…in his handwriting…the last time he wrote it. Then I share his story. Remembering his goofy smile and amazing hugs is the only way I know how to get through the rough days.