who ever said "time heals all wounds" is a fucking asshole and a dirty liar.
eight years ago today my little brother made the heartbreaking decision to end his own life.
that wound is still very real.
sure, i don't flat out break down and cry and need days to recover whenever i think about it now, but i still think about it. ALL. THE. TIME.
birthdays. holidays. seahawks games. whenever someone orders a miller high life. whenever veteran suicide is in the news. whenever i think about family. whenever i think about tattoos.
how he would be 35 now.
can i imagine him as a 35 year old? i still can't imagine myself as a 35 year old and i'm 37 now.
if you die the second time when the last person says your name, steve still has a few years left to stick around.
i've never been mad at steve. unfortunately i understand suicide. i've been in that dark corner. i've fought that demon. i've stared into the abyss and, somehow, always found a reason not to jump off the ledge. i'm heartbroken steve didn't find that reason the last time, but i can't be mad at him.
steve suffered a massive TBI just a few months before. he literally had half his skull opened to relieve pressure on his brain after an accident. this 27 year old kid went from being super physically fit, extremely independent, creative, vivacious, to having to relearn everything, medical bankruptcy, being dependent on others and losing his life as he had it set up.
the TBI also brought to the front some PTSD from being in the first wave of OIF/OEF that has cost thousands of soldiers their lives after returning home. i won't get political. i will just say we NEED to take better care of our soldiers. (please check out the IAVA to see how you can help prevent veteran suicides and support OIF/OEF soldiers).
the hardest part for me is that for the last 8 years i've wondered if i could have helped steve.
we weren't close. we weren't ross and monica by any stretch of the imagination.
i didn't get to grow up with steve. he lived with my dad and his mom. we spent spring break and 2 weeks during the summer together. i think i learned more about him while cleaning out his apartment after his death than the whole sum of our childhood.
i knew basic things growing up- he was the bratty little brother trying to keep up with the older brothers at any cost. he was the daredevil willing to do the dangerous stuff. he was vibrant and creative. when they moved into the new house, steve painted his room in BRIGHT primary colors- red on one wall, yellow on another, blue on a third. he had a massive bright red chair. he was always drawing, his pencil portraits were breathtaking. he was great at sports and almost as good at tattling as i was.
cleaning out his apartment i got to see how organized he was, everything in it's place. his art work was all over the place- drawings, wire art sculptures, off beat decorations (chicken feet slippers on the feet of a bookshelf still makes me laugh). talking to his coworkers and friends after the funeral i learned how dedicated he was to people and how dedicated they were to him. pictures showed a kid that liked to have a good time with friends- outrageous costumes, adventures, just hanging out on the beach.
the only time steve ever called me was on my birthday, just a few weeks before his (both september babies), only a month before he died. he called to place an order for tacos, no sour cream, extra tomatoes, delivered right away please. i told him the delivery fee would be really high and the tacos would probably be cold by the time i got them to him. he was ok with that.
it should have triggered me. as cool as it was for him to call me, it should have made my ears perk up. it was so out of the blue and so unexpected, i should have been more aware. i have a hundred excuses- it was my birthday, i was getting ready to go out with friends, i didn't know how hard his recovery was going, i didn't know...
if i had know. if i had taken the time to connect with him more as kids. if i had...
if i had been able to tell him i get it. i get dad/brother pressuring you to grow up and pick a career. i get feeling alone when you're surrounded by people. i get having everything in your life not turn out how you planned. i should have offered to let him come stay with us while he recovered. i should have told everyone to fuck off when they told me it wasn't necessary to drive to seattle and see him while he was in the hospital. i should have...i should have been a safe place for him. i should have tried harder to let him know he wasn't the only one. i should have found a way to let him know he had more options than he saw.
so yeah. wound: not healed.
all i can ask, all i can beg of people now is PLEASE ASK FOR HELP. ask in bold words. some of us aren't smart enough to catch onto nuanced taco orders.
PLEASE ASK FOR HELP.
being stuck on this side with the should haves, the what if's, the regrets, it's selfish to say, but IT SUCKS. please don't do that to someone.
and YES, there will ALWAYS be a someone with those regrets.
PLEASE ASK FOR HELP. if you can't talk to friends or family, please call the suicide hotline, hit them on twitter, go to their website.
PLEASE. ASK. FOR. HELP.
call me. hit me up. ANY TIME.
i'll bring tacos, no sour cream, extra tomatoes. we can have a miller high life and talk. any. time.
ps: steve, you would have love/hated the seahawks game yesterday. they ended up winning, but there was plenty to yell at the tv about before the final whistle. love you kid and miss you every day.