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The Art of Grieving (Trigger Warning: Suicide)

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The Art of Grieving (Trigger Warning: Suicide)

Post by Brianna on Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:01 am

AN: This is the second of the two stories I'm considering submitting to my school lit magazine (The first is The Art of Hating Yourself.)

The emptiness that took your place when you left feels like an aching, hollow cavity right where my heart should be. Sometimes, this ache is all I can feel. It’s all-enveloping. My chest grows tight, breathing becomes nearly impossible, and my eyes burn with unshed tears. All I can concentrate on is how it feels like I’m missing something, something that is integral to life, and something that I must now learn to live without.

When you first died I went to see a therapist. Not because I thought it would help, but because my mother did, and I just didn’t have the energy to fight her about it. And so, every Tuesday after class, my mother would pick me up and we would drive half an hour into the city. The office was in this big brick building with each floor being designated to a different type of speciality. The psychology offices were on the top floor, which I never understood. Why would they place the psychology offices on the top floor? What if one of the patients here got the idea to jump or something? Wouldn’t that be counterproductive to the entire idea therapy? Sometimes, when I was sitting in the waiting room staring out the window I wondered if being here would’ve made you want to jump or if it would’ve helped. Most of the time though, I wondered what I was doing here. I wasn’t suicidal. I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t anything except numb.

I think it was that numbness that scared my  mother enough for her to decide I needed a therapist. When they told me you were dead I didn’t cry. I didn’t do anything. There was no screaming or yelling or begging god for a second chance. There was no grief. I didn’t feel anything at all. I quit talking unless spoken to. I quit eating except when forced. I was only going through the motions of living.

Disassociation. That’s what my therapist called it. Supposedly, the brain does it in order to protect itself from getting hurt. Apparently my brain decided I “wasn’t ready” to feel the loss of your life, or at least according to my therapist that’s what happened, and so whatever part that controls emotions decided to get out of dodge and leave me emotionless.

I got put on anxiety meds. The therapist thought might help with my disassociating, and maybe it would have, if I had taken them. Instead I chose to continue being numb, because I was afraid of what would happen if the feelings came back. When the feelings did come back I wasn’t ready. It was your birthday and everyone was talking about you at school. Everyone talked about how much they missed you and how sad it was that you weren’t here anymore. I was walking down the halls, listening as people grew quiet as I passed them and it hit me—this sudden urge to scream and throw things. I was angry. I was angry that you were gone. I was angry that these people thought they had an right to talk about you or to miss you, when they didn’t. They had no reason to talk about how great a person you were, not when they couldn’t take the time to get to know you while you were still alive. Not when they were part of the reason that you were fucking gone. Because it had been their endless bullying that pushed you over the edge. I was angry that they thought they had any right to share the grief of losing you. And I was so angry with you.

I don’t understand why you couldn’t tell me, didn’t tell me. Why didn’t you mention that you were in so much pain? That the taunts and teasing had gotten worse? Why did you decide that your life wasn’t worth living anymore? Why on earth did you decide it was okay to leave me here alone?
I ran out of school that day. I had no destination in mind, I just knew I had to get away. I couldn’t deal with the whispers and stares. I couldn’t handle pretending everything was fine, when it wasn’t. It wasn’t fine that you were gone. It wasn’t fine that you let those idiots who tried to tell you that your life wasn’t worth it win. And so instead of facing them I ran. I ran from all those people pretending to care about you. I ran from having to pretend I was okay. I ran from the grief of losing you. I only stopped when I was gasping for breath and my legs felt like they would never be able to move again. Then, I walked.

I’m sure I looked like a strange sight. It wasn’t often people see a teenager walking down the road during the middle of a school day with their bag on their bag and with tears and mascara running down her face. My hair was beginning to fall out of the hair tie I had hurriedly put it in this morning and my clothes were beginning to look baggy after months of only eating enough to appease my mother’s constant nagging.

It took me most of the day but I ended up at the graveyard you had been buried in. I hadn’t been there since the funeral, but I remembered exactly where you had been buried. How could I forget where they put my best friend? How could I forget the day we lowered you into the cold frozen ground? When I got to your plot, I sat down and leaned against the headstone and I cried. I cried until I couldn’t breathe—until I had no more tears left. I cried for the fact that you wouldn’t graduate with me. For the fact that we would never go to college and get out of this god-forsaken town. I cried for all the things I’d have to do without you. But most of all, I cried for you. For the pain you must of felt. For the fact that you died alone and scared. I cried because I wasn’t able to be there for you in the way you needed me most.

I’m not angry anymore. It took months for that anger to fade, and when it did I felt lost. I wasn’t sure how to navigate life without you by my side. I started talking to the therapist. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. She helped me see that your suicide wasn’t the end of your life. That you’d still live through the memories of you.

I think I understand why you did it. At least in part. You were trying to run, just like I did on your birthday. You were trying to run from the pain that others inflicted on you. And when running wasn’t enough you decided to end it in the only way you knew how.

People in school have moved on to the next thing already, even though it’s only been a year. No one mentions your name and it’s almost as if you never existed—but I know you did. I know you did because you left a hole in my life, one I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to fill. The grief of you still gets so overwhelming at times that I feel as if I’m going to drown in it. But I refuse to sink.

I’m going to do what my therapist has told me to do. I’m going to live. I’m going to live for myself, but also for you. Because I know that you wouldn’t want me to become a shell of a person. You wouldn’t want me to lose myself in the grief I have over losing you. You’d want me to be happy; to experience all the things that you’ll never be able to do. And so I will. I’ll do everything we have planned, everything you can’t do. And I’ll start with the one thing you couldn’t do. I’ll keep trying to live, for you and for myself.



Write hard and clear about what hurts--Earnest Hemingway

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