Today is the one-year anniversary of Mike's suicide. I was expecting today to be difficult, but the emotional meltdown hit last night instead. By today I felt much calmer. Before last night, I told myself that I just needed to get through the anniversary weekend, and then I could move on with my life. Things would be easier after the first year. Of course, grief doesn't really work that way. Yesterday it was bubbling under the surface, and then finally broke through. I missed him so much. Last night I thought about how one year ago, he was still alive, and what if there was something I could have done. Those kinds of thoughts will drive you mad.
After the tears, and talking to women in my Survivors of Suicide support group, I realized I had unrealistic expectations for what it would mean to make it past the one-year mark. On the other hand, they encouraged me to think about the healing and growth that has happened this year. After all, this year was just the beginning of the grief journey.
One year in, I have an appreciation for my brother's life and his struggles in a way I didn't have when he was alive. My friend Stacy told me that in the end, I get to choose what Mike's life means to me and what to keep of him. My friend Jane told me that I am now the keeper of my and my brother's childhood. Figuring out how to hold on to Mike's life--and not just his death--is a work-in-progress.
One year in, I have a greater appreciation for and dependence on my family and friends, especially my Mom. Despite my frequent impulse to isolate, I am more aware now that living life is about our connection to other people. Without these connections, I would not have made it through this year.
One year in, I have a stronger faith and trust in God, and a greater acceptance of the uncertainty of life and my absolute lack of control. At the moment, I feel at peace with the chaos.
This year has been the hardest year of my life. I know nothing really changes now as we enter Year Two Without Mike. The only solution is to move forward.
Thanks to everyone who has stumbled across this blog and read it. I hope you found some of it useful or interesting. Many people have mentioned to me that they read it but have not yet become a follower. Please consider following this blog either on Blogger or on Facebook Networked Blogs. Also feel free to leave comments or to e-mail me, especially if you have lost someone to suicide. In the coming year, I will be posting monthly as opposed to weekly. The next post will be January 5, 2011.