Yesterday was one year since my brother Dave died. It was a sudden, traumatic end to his life that none of us expected. It was the kind of thing that you think would only happen to people you don't know or tv characters. He committed suicide. There...I've said it. There is a certain stigma attached to suicide. I have unconsciously kept the details to myself this past year. Whenever I talked to anyone about it I said "My brother passed", or "I lost my brother". I never realized until today that in doing so, I am promoting the shame that many families feel when this happens to them. And believe me, it does 'happen' to them. Suicide is so heart-wrenching to the loved ones of the deceased. There is no closure because you are always left with unanswered questions.
But there comes a time when you have to just close the book on what happened and focus on the living. This doesn't mean I will forget about my brother. He was a huge part of my life - we were only a year apart in age, and it was just the two of us for 5 years before my next brother was born. It means that when I think of him, I want to smile instead of cry. If any one good thing has come out of this, it is that I have been given an attitude adjustment. I mentioned in a previous post that I have learned to have an "attitude of gratitude". This is how I have been able to deal with the loss. I just have to see something positive. And what I see is that every single day is a gift. Dave was dealing with emotions and thoughts that obviously kept him from seeing anything positive worth living for. I see possibilities everywhere every day. My adoring husband, my beautiful children and grandchildren, my puppy, the weather, beautiful music, a really good wine. Every day is an opportunity and I don't want to have any regrets because I missed it. Probably the most important: I don't want to lose a loved one and regret that I didn't show him/her my love.