It’s about to become the year 2014. This is my 3rd New Year’s Eve without you and each time the world continues to move on to the next calendar year I have an immense pain in my heart.
I know many people who read this won’t understand… but also know that anyone who has lost someone as close as you were to me will know exactly what I’m talking about. I remember so vividly clinging to the year 2010 because you were here with us for the majority of that year and I desperately did not want to move into 2011 without you. I think of that each New Year’s Eve– that I have endured yet another (and am about to endure one more) year without you. And each time I find a penny you leave for me I immediately look at what year it is; as silly as it seems, I find myself feeling heartbroken if it’s a penny from 2011 or later– I only want pennies from the years you were with me.
So many things have happened since you gave up, Brian. So many things I wish I could have shared with you– both good and bad. My marriage had been struggling long, long before we moved away to Texas and deep down I always knew you never truly connected with Mark and knew that he wasn’t the man for me. We decided to separate only 8 months after you died and were officially divorced shortly after the one-year anniversary of your death. To some a divorce might be a traumatic event but for me it was such a wonderful blessing as I was unhappy for so long and finally felt some relief; I knew I was free to find the person with whom I was really meant to be with forever. I then went through a confusing and tumultuous year-long relationship… again, the end of a relationship that turned out to be a beautiful blessing to me as it brought me to the place where I met my sweetie. He has graciously let me into his life with all my quirks and complexity and has allowed you to remain a part of my life with him. He’s there to provide hugs and a shoulder to cry on… and he’s been so willing to participate in the little “ceremonial” things I do to remember you– watching your favorite movies with me, listening to my stories about you and asking to know more about you. I know without a doubt that you would think he is a wonderful partner for me.
Then there is my amazing friend, Leashya. I’m so grateful to have met her, Brian. She has been the most constant and consistently supportive and trustworthy person in my life here in Austin. We understand each other in a way that only convinces me further that we are kindred spirits and I was undoubtedly supposed to meet her– she has become my family, my sister. Though she feels that she knows you already (from how much I speak about you) she really wishes she could have met you and I wish you’d have had the opportunity to know her, too.
There are so many others whom I’ve met as a direct result of your suicide. Through seeking help and having others reach out to me for help, I’ve met some beautiful people. It’s so bittersweet; while I’m heartbroken for the reason we came together, I’m also grateful that we did. I met people early on who were further along in their grief process who were able to offer up a truly understanding ear and heartfelt advice. And now, 3 years later, I’m finding I’ve been given the opportunity to turn around and offer that same kind of guidance to others. It’s a devastating but loving community I’ve found and I’m grateful for both the opportunity to learn from others and to also be able to teach some of what I’ve learned about life and myself in this process.
I began this blog in 2013– it has been nearly a year since my very first public post. While I’ve received so much wonderful feedback from others who are grieving, I’ve found that it has been immeasurably helpful to me, personally. First, for the opportunity to get out so many thoughts and feelings I have inside… but also to be able to go back and read previous posts. I am amazed at how raw some of them are! I’m proud of the resilience I never knew I had and also of my own willingness to be so open with the world… it has brought many wonderful people into my life as a result.
This coming February I will be traveling to Washington, D.C. as I was selected by the Central Texas Chapter of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to receive a scholarship to attend their Annual Advocacy Forum on Capital Hill. I’ll be able to meet with lawmakers about issues surrounding mental health and suicide awareness and prevention. I know you’ll be there beside me giving me the strength to share your story and mine. I’m determined to make changes where I can this coming year, Brian, and I know you’ll be supporting me all the way.