Trigger warning: this post speaks to suicide loss and grief.
He would have been 34 this week.
I feel like most people expect me to have forgotten these kinds of things by now—nearly seven years after his death.
And why wouldn’t they?
I sometimes expect to forget them too.
But I haven’t forgotten. Not one single thing. And I’m not sure I ever will. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop thinking about how old he’d be each November or feeling that wave of grief take me out at the knees to some degree every December.
He had only recently turned 27 when he took his life.
I think about that every year, too, because he was just a baby. I, even three years older, was just a baby. And what I know to be true is that life can change drastically in seven years. It can change drastically in even seven months, seven weeks, seven days. I’ve made what feels like magic happen overnight at times, in my health, healing, business, finances, and everything in between.
I understand the belief that the only way to end the pain is to leave.
I truly do.
I felt that frequently as a teenager, even attempting it poorly once after sitting up night after night with a knife to my wrist. Honestly, I still think about it sometimes. It’s a thought I may always carry because of who I am and my experience of this life and world. It’s a thought I know many others have learned to live with too.
I’ve learned to choose this life.
I decided to stay, no matter what.
The root of decision means, quite literally, to “cut off” other options. I took the option of leaving off the table, which means there’s nothing else to do each time I bottom out but to get back up and find a way through the challenging seasons. This life is a series of seasons woven together over the years and, just like in nature, each season can be wildly different from the one that came before it.
Every November, as I remember how old he’d be and get ready to grow one year older myself, I think about how much has happened since he left.
So much has happened.
I’ve loved and lost and loved some more. I’ve had intense struggle and strain followed by unparalleled success. I lost my health and fought to gain it back. I changed my whole life and moved to the mountains. I’ve discovered new layers of myself and shed more of what doesn’t serve me. I’ve healed tremendously. I’ve grown even more rapidly in ways I could never have expected. I’ve experienced so much of this life and traveled the world and met the sweet souls that occupy it.
I’ve lived so much life in seven years.
It’s been filled with beauty and heartbreak in so many ways.
Each season changing who I am and how I live my life exactly as they’re meant to.
Because life is always shaping us.
And we always have a chance to create something beautiful with it—if we choose to stay and navigate our way through those challenging chapters.
If you’re struggling, I’m sending you so much love.
I know it can feel like there’s no other way to escape the hurt and pain sometimes. I know it feels like it will never end and that you’ll never be free.
But this is just one season of your life, even if it’s consumed many, many years. You’re not alone, and I promise there’s a path out of the weighty darkness that feels like it’s consuming you. I know there is. And you don’t have to navigate it alone.
Share your feelings.
Ask for help.
There are more seasons for you to experience.
And I promise, as challenging as life can continue to be throughout them, there are so many beautiful seasons worth staying for.
Email me if you’re struggling.