It’s been one month since you’ve shot yourself. That’s four weeks I’ve had to live in the wake of your consequences. 30 days that I’ve spent in pain, crying and questioning everything. Ever since you sent me that message… “Nvm…don’t come…” my entire world has changed. I’ve changed. I don’t know what “normal” feels like anymore and I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to normal. This last month has been a whirlwind of emotions; pain, grief, sadness,  guilt, anger, etc. and right now, I feel a mix of every single one of these. I feel like I am walking on eggshells every day, scared that I’m going to shatter and burst into tears. Each day is spent picking up pieces you left behind and putting my life together. It’s a tedious and fragile task, and so exhausting. All I want is to be happy again, but I’m not quite sure how to get there nor how long it’s going to take…

All I ever wanted for the both of us was to be happy. So I appreciate that you’re trying to help by sending me reminders everywhere I go. Whether it be talking to your sister or your mom, or hearing a song on the radio. Sometimes it will make me cry, and other times I’ll shed a tear and smile and a moment of happiness is brought into my day.

Unfortunately though, the pain still hasn’t gone away, but the way I feel my pain has changed. Some days it’s a throbbing, aching, hole in my heart that and other days, it’s just an ache. And then there’s brief periods of time when the pain is masked by memories. These have been my favorite moments… because the pain lessens for a bit and  I can feel my heart trying to heal. I think about all the wonderful things that made you, you and all those memories we made together. That’s what has been keeping me sane the past few weeks, and that’s what I’ve been holding on to. 

The memory I’ve been clinging to the most lately is our first date. It was first time I heard you say, “God damn. You’re beautiful.” and the first time I realized that you were someone I’d be happy spending my life with. When we started dating, you talked about wanting to go there again. So, yesterday I took you with me. I spent hours there, hiking the trails and climbing up to our rock. I sat there and listened to your favorite song and looked out onto the water. It was such a beautiful day and it felt good to be in a place where we shared memories together. And while I was there and reflecting on our memories… a moment of peace passed over me. It felt like I finally understood that you’re happy now because you’re no longer in pain. It was a very overwhelming and emotional moment for me, because theres a part of me that doesn’t want to let you go and it somehow still doesn’t feel real. I still miss you and I still ache for you every day. But somehow it helps accepting that you’re no longer in pain, that you’re happy and you just want me to be happy too.

I’m not sure how long this healing process will take, but I know it’s not going to happen over night. I honestly still can’t believe it’s been a month already…some days it feels like yesterday and other days it feels like it’s been a year. I can’t decide. All I know for sure at this point is that it sucks that you’re gone and it’s still hurts (whether it’s been a month or a year). I hate that you had to leave this way, but if this was the path to ending your pain…then I need to learn to accept it. I’m not saying I’m okay with your decision, but I’m doing okay right now just knowing you’re not in pain anymore.

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It’s days like today, that remind me of how disconnected and isolated I feel from the world around me. I was so emotional and felt like a tearful puddle all day. For some reason, so many things triggered tears and I couldn’t stop it. I got a missed call that wasn’t from you, so I cried. I looked at an empty photo frame on my desk and you weren’t in it, so I cried. A patient told me about her daughter who was getting married, so I cried. And it went on like that all day….to the point that tears were coming out at every opportunity. It feels like I don’t have anyone to talk to and everything is just getting bottled-up.

Maybe it’s because I’m the only one here mourning your death. Your mom, dad, sisters, family, friends…they are states away, and I’m here in Minnesota, alone. It’s like I’m stuck on a deserted island, crying without anyone to comfort me. Of course, I have family and friends who are here to support me, but they didn’t know you like I did, so they don’t understand how I feel. They don’t know what suicide feels like and they can’t comprehend or even begin to imagine the pain and agony I am going through. So in my grief, I feel alone. And your family, they understand, but they are states away, and are only available to comfort me through phone calls and text messages. So even with their love and support…because they are so far away, I continue to feel alone. I’m am so tired of suffering and grieving alone. So I have been holding on to hope, that going to a support group would give me a sense of belonging, and I wouldn’t feel so alone anymore.

And that’s what got me through today, this long terrible day full of breakdowns and tears. I went to my first Suicide Support group tonight. I was so excited and so scared at the same time. I called the leader earlier today to ask her questions about the group. “Where do I go? How does it work? Do I have to talk? What if I cry?” The lady on the other end responded back and answered all my questions. She was so sweet and caring and I could tell right away this support group was going to be a positive outlet for me.  We talked a little more and then she asked what your name was… She asked who I was missing in my life… I hesitated for a moment and said, “His name was Chris.” And I started crying again. It was light tears at first, but once I got off the phone, I sat on the floor and sobbed,

Initially when I pulled up to the building, I was excited, but then I quickly became nervous and fearful. I realized I was going into an unknown world with others that have experienced the same pain I have felt, and I didn’t know what to expect. I walked into the room, awkward, like it was my first day of school. The atmosphere was calm and everyone I encountered was so welcoming, and the group quickly felt like home. Of course I sobbed, when I first introduced myself, but then I spent the next hour and a half talking and crying and listening to the stories of other suicide survivors. It felt so good to finally be around people who understood me; who understood my pain, my anger, and my grief. I left feeling like I inherited a new family, one that would grow and support me on this new journey. 

So this past weekend was rough. I thought I was moving forward, but somehow this weekend felt worse than the last one. I continue to feel like you’re just ignoring me. That I’ll wake up one day with a missed call and a voice message saying, “I’m sorry. I miss you. Please call me back.”  But I know that’s not the case. It’s been three weeks. You’re still gone and I’m still here. Yet, I still haven’t figured out how to navigate this new world without you. I feel lost and distant and feel like I’m not connecting with people the way I used to. I’ve spent the last three weeks avoiding anything social because I don’t know what to do around anyone. I try to talk and enjoy myself, but it takes a lot of work and then I feel weird and guilty when I do laugh. I don’t know how to explain it, but it feels like laughter is a sign that I’m ignoring the fact that you’re gone…maybe because I feel happy for a brief moment. But the truth is, I’m not. I’m trying to heal and find myself again. You are still on my mind, even in those moments when I’m laughing or having fun.

I spent Saturday at a BBQ with my closest friends. In the moments that I could laugh, I thought about how much they’d love you. I thought about you laughing along with us and smiling and having a good time. And when I played with my friend’s children, I thought about how much fun you and your son would be having with them. And then I thought…If only you had more time…you would have gotten to experience those moments with me…I want so badly for you to be here, to experience life with me. I want you to smile and laugh along with me in those moments of joy, the way you used to when we were together.

I remember those moments when you were happy, and I wish so much that those moments could have saved you. That I could have saved you. I wish that I could have been the one to prevent you from taking your life. It hurts thinking about, “What could have been.” and where our lives would be right now if you were still here. Even if you were here, and we weren’t together, I’d still be happy knowing you’d be a part of my life; either as a friend or a long lost acquaintance. Just knowing you were alive would feel better than knowing you’re gone forever. 

Why do I hurt so much? Why am I in so much pain? Why do I feel so guilty? And how Chris, how do I keep living my life with so much pain and so much guilt? Since you’ve died…I have been asking myself these questions every single day. I have never felt so much pain and so much guilt…ever. And unfortunately, I’ve dealt with death before, but none of those deaths, have compared to this.

It was 3 months ago that I lost a friend unexpectedly due to a serious infection that spread to his brain. His decline was rapid and sudden, and he had to be taken off-life support. Years ago, I had another friend who died in a car accident and one of my best friend’s dad died from cancer and this list goes on. Whether the loss was expected, or a tragic accident, it still caused immense pain and heartache… but none of them felt as terrible as this and I think it’s because you chose to die, and they didn’t.

Your suicide has changed me. It’s changed how I think, how I feel, and how I live. Currently, I’m living in constant pain and guilt. I feel torn apart from the inside out. My body is exhausted; physically and emotionally. My heart hurts, physically hurts. It throbs, and it aches, and it feels like someone is trying to rip it out of my chest. My stomach is tied into a knot. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep and at times I can’t even breath. My eyes burn, from crying all the time…sobbing… uncontrollably. I’m constantly drowning in my own tears and it feels like I’ll never be able to stop. My skin feels cold and bare. It longs to feel your skin and to hug you again. And everything else just feels numb. All of these feelings, are layers of pain. Pain that I’ve never felt before.

I also, have never felt so much guilt, or regret before. I feel like I failed you. Like I wasn’t good enough and I didn’t help you when I should have. The guilt I feel from this takes my gut, turns it, and twists it, and tears me apart even more. It causes my heart to ache more than ever, and my mind continues to race. The guilt reminds me of all the things I think I did wrong…and the things I think I should have done differently. I knew you were sad. I knew you were lonely. I knew you struggled with depression… and because of that, after we broke-up, I still promised you that I’d be there for you. I told you to reach out to me when you needed a friend. But when you’d text me or call me and tell me you needed company, when you told me you were lonely…I turned you down. I thought I was ready to be your friend…but I wasn’t. I was scared of getting hurt again and I didn’t want to get hurt anymore. I just couldn’t do it. And I feel so guilty, for being selfish and protecting myself. Did you know that Chris? That I felt so guilty? And I’m so sorry. I broke my promise to you, and I wasn’t there for you when you needed me.

Now I just keep replaying those messages and phone calls over-and-over in my head. What if I would have agreed to see you when you asked? Would you have still done it? What if we hadn’t broken up? Would you have still done it? And Why? Why did you kill yourself when I was finally on my way to come see you? We had just spoke on the phone and talked about our plans for the evening. You asked me to come over…and then something happened. What was going on in your head after our phone call? What were you feeling? What made you do it? Did I do something wrong? Were you mad that I chose to have dinner with my sister first? Did I not respond to your text fast enough? Did I not call you back fast enough? Or did any of that even matter?

All the “What if’s?” The “Why’s?” Those are questions that just continue to haunt me because I know I’ll never get those answers. And your mom, your sisters, your family, and your friends, they all have their own questions…their own guilt. We like to think that if we would have done something differently. That maybe you’d still be here. That maybe we could have saved you. But that’s not the case. You had already made your decision, and not I, nor anyone else could have changed your mind. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty…and the decision was yours to make. But I wish it wasn’t. I wish you could still be here because I miss you like crazy.

So it’s been almost three weeks since you’ve committed suicide. I’ve started counseling, and was told writing could be a good outlet for me.  And it has been. I’ve written so much. I’ve written about the night you killed yourself, my experience, the physical/emotional burdens from your suicide, my deepest thoughts…everything. Some of the things I’ve written…they feel so dark and troubled, but the truth about your suicide and my experience is dark. It is troubled…and because of that, I haven’t been able to share or post those stories. Those words and thoughts scare me and I’m not sure if I’m ready for the world to hear them yet. I’m not even sure if I’m ready to go through and re-live them yet either.  It brings back so many memories and drowns me in a pool of emotions. One moment I want to scream and yell at you, the next I’m crying uncontrollably in tears. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I can’t do anything.

On the nights that I do fall asleep, I wake-up in the morning and I’m instantly saddened, because I roll-over and you’re not there. The truth is, I struggled with that feeling even before you left. I’ve been feeling that way ever since we broke-up. But it feels worse now. Before, there was hope that you could be there again and now that hope is gone. Now. There is no hope, and I’m never going to wake-up with you next to me again. I’m never going to get to do a lot of things with you again…I’m never going to get sweet messages from you. I’m never going hear your voice, hear you laugh, and have you tell me about your day. I’m never going to hug you, kiss you or hold you. I’m never going to go on walks and watch the sunset with you. Nor will I get to fall asleep cuddling you on the couch… There are so many things that we did together that I’m never going to experience with you again. And all the dreams and plans you made for our future, we’re never going to experience those together either… and that just breaks my heart. It’s hard waking-up and feeling those emotions over-and-over every single day. I know eventually it will get easier, but right now, it’s just so difficult and so painful… and I’m so exhausted and so tired of fighting.

Everyday is such a battle…I have to fight to wake-up, shower, go to work, and just be “normal.” But normal is a thing of the past now. I’m now living in a world where you only exist in memories. And the worst part is, the world around me is moving on like you never existed. People are out walking their dogs, checking their mail, laughing…joking… living…and I’m over here, struggling to survive. I don’t know how to function without you here. All I want to do I lay in my bed and sleep. I want to sleep until I can wake-up with you next me and realize all of this has been a horrible nightmare. I want to wake-up, roll over and see that smile on your face. I want to hear you tell me, “God damn you’re beautiful.” and hug me like you always did. Gosh… I miss that so much. Why did you have to die? Why did you have to kill yourself? Don’t you miss those moments too? Those moments that we were happy and smiling together, without a care in the world? Because I miss them so much and I miss you like crazy.

We were so happy when we were together and it makes me so angry to think that you felt you needed to die. You chose to die and you took your own life. Those words hurt so much to write… to read… to say… And I can’t understand why you would do something that would cause everyone so much pain. I wish I could yell at you and hug you at the same time. It makes me so angry that you did this, but then I feel guilty when I do get upset, because I know that’s not fair. You were fighting a battle that we couldn’t help you with and as much as I’m mad at you for leaving us, I’m also happy that you fought as hard and as long as you did. I’m happy that you fought hard enough to be around in this world to become a part of my life. I’m happy that you fought long enough to have a relationship with me and to show me I could fall in love again. I’m happy that you kept fighting so we could create memories together. Wonderful, beautiful memories  that I will cherish and forever be grateful for.

I wish so much that I can continue to make memories with you, but now I’ll have to make memories sharing your memories. I seriously miss you so much and I think about you everyday. I’m still not sure how to live in this new world without you, but I know eventually I’ll find my path. I have a difficult journey ahead of me, but I promise I’ll keep trying and I’ll keep fighting, just like you did for me.