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.