I can’t believe it’s been a year since you decided to leave this world. In fact, even though you decided to leave me exactly one year ago, one year ago today, I was not even aware that you made this decision to leave and jump off that bridge. I was at home, on the phone with my friend and eating dinner. I thought it was just any other night. I had gotten off the phone with our mother just a bit before, and I was telling her about my plan to go to Toronto with Chris to visit his brother that following weekend. And then a couple hours later, she calls and leaves a calm, urgent voice message, and when I call her back, she tells me that you are missing.
It wasn’t until tomorrow one year ago that I knew for a fact that you were missing… and dead. I knew it. I could feel it. I can’t remember any other 16-hour period of my life that was worse than that time, when I felt more helpless and like I could do nothing at all. I just kept hoping and hoping in my mind that you were still out there somewhere, breathing, eating, walking — just alive. The world became a blur to me and nothing else really mattered as long as I knew that you were fine.
And then our dad called me early afternoon on the 23rd and confirmed the terrible news. And I honestly just felt like dying at that moment. I wasn’t sure if or how our parents or I could get through this. How was I supposed to live knowing that you, my big brother, decided life wasn’t worth living anymore and committed suicide? How could I live with myself always wondering that if I maybe had done one extra thing for you or said or not said something else that maybe you’d still be with us today?
It was like my whole life changed from that point onward. My hatred and anger for our family increased exponentially – for all of its dysfunction and negativity and lack of genuine care. My levels of sensitivity heightened to a point where I was always finding myself tearing up or crying over things that I’d never really gotten emotional about before. My impatience became greater, and I found myself getting more irritated by sayings or people that I never would normally have issues with. My consciousness of what it means to be “empathetic” grew, but mostly because I felt like 90% of everyone around me had no idea what the hell that word even means or how they were supposed to act around me knowing that I had just lost you, and not just lost you in a “natural” way, but to suicide. I was already someone who had a smaller group of friends, but it’s like this happening only proved how much smaller that group had to be in my life because I didn’t like the way a lot of people responded to me after that.
I want you to know that despite all the pain and tears in the last year that I’m not mad at you for leaving. In fact, I can’t even remember a time when I was angry with you in the last 365 days. I can’t blame you for not wanting to be a part of this world. I feel this spiraling sadness and feel even worse when I think of how lonely you must have felt all those years because no one really understood you, and I wasn’t physically there enough to comfort and encourage you. I still have moments when I curse myself and think I didn’t do enough as a sister to help you. You’re the only one in my life who would be happy for me because you just are and because you love me, not because you have anything to gain from it. You’re the only one who could understand me in your exact way because we grew up in the same house with the same parents. You’re the only person who will ever have the exact same blood in his veins as me.
A lot of people think that because I’ve gotten a new job, done a lot of traveling, continued socializing and working on different projects that I’m just fine without you, that maybe the pain isn’t there anymore, that maybe you are no longer top of mind to me. Only morons would think that way. I think about you every single day, if not every single hour, even if just for a second. Even though you died, I have to move on with my life to make sure I can stay sane, to prove to you that life is worth living and amazing things really can happen on this earth. You left too early, Ed. You didn’t even stick around long enough for Chris and me to take you out to Indian food to celebrate your 34th birthday. Well, I’ll admit — that’s something I’m kind of pissed about.
Did you see us when we were in Brazil, and Chris proposed on Sao Conrado beach with all of those hang gliders constantly landing on that brilliant white sand? I thought about you a lot that day. I’ve thought about you a lot every time I share the proposal story because I wish I could have called you to tell you myself and hear you get excited for me…. because I know you would have been despite the profound sadness that enveloped you. I’ve caught myself tearing up when I share the story because I always remember you and how you will never physically be here for me to tell, and you will not be here the day we get married.
It’s okay, though. I always feel you, and in my heart, you will never be dead. You still live on in me, in my life, and all over San Francisco whenever I go back. I love you and miss you so much, Ed. I hope you always remember that wherever you are and no matter where I am. Life has to end, but love doesn’t. Our love will never, ever end. And I will see you again — in this life, sadly only in my dreams, and in the next life, when you are waiting for me to join you when I am ready.