It's strange how much we romanticize the act of living life in the aftermath of someone else’s suicide. We stress upon stopping to smell the roses, we make a tremendous deal about seizing the day, we begin to preach the importance of appreciating everyone that comes along our way. Those of us that are left behind tend to suddenly idealize our otherwise mundane lives, as if painting over a tragedy with glitter will somehow hide the truth that most of us left to survive are actually just living out of spite.
For there is nothing exciting about watching pretty, tie-dye skies or new flowers bloom when under the same ground, you have been laid to rest for the very last time. Despite what we spew about gratitude and blessings, the world stops feeling as encouraging so we try to paint storybook colours over all the burst bubbles as we scramble around looking for reasons that justify our own survival.
I was suddenly praised for breaking out of my shell as I shed the secretive teenager and began speaking up louder; not because I had anything new to say but because my parents would not survive being kept in the dark by yet another.
I’ve been standing taller for the younger one of us that would grow up without the canopy of our protector. I may be meeker, shorter, and far more afraid, but for him, I stomp around proudly in the large shoes that were my brother’s.
There were too many eyes on our family waiting for us to buckle under the pressure as everyone played a game of whispered tennis with their opinions, trying to draw conclusions about what pushed one of us into oblivion, so I began scampering up ladders, donned in impossible ambition, hoping that if I collected enough accolades fast enough, they would serve as the perfect distraction and keep others from seeing your death as my destruction.
I started to laugh louder for the man who snuck into my life and reminded me that two years ago, I wasn’t the one who died. I wanted so desperately for him to see that I wasn’t miserable being alive nor was I playing with my own suicidal fantasies. That there was more to me than scar tissue that refuses to heal. I wanted to be the woman he insisted he could see; one filled with hope and fight and possibilities, and not just the empty vessel I have morphed into gradually.
All my life I have been following footsteps that have suddenly walked off the face of the earth and so ever since then, I have relied on others to decide my role and my worth. With enough voices whispering in my ears and any will to live buried away, I’ve spent too much time justifying my own life by trying to find my purpose in other people’s eyes. But it doesn’t always have to be death or suicide, for life itself is plagued by goodbyes so despite how desperately you hold on, most people will pass you by. As people melt into shadows, I find myself sitting in capsules of time, sifting through our hoarded memories trying to find the pieces that were mine because the sudden solitude is a glaring reminder that I better find my own reasons again, before my own hourglass runs out of time.