Well I did it. I survived the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s annual Walk out of the Darkness. I realize how dramatic that sounds. But I’ve honestly been dreading it. It’s so easy to pretend you’re still here most of the time. I mean, you lived far away so I didn’t get to see you that often. Like I’ve said a million and one times, it’s not like I forget you’re gone. It’s there every f*cking second of every day, this horrible, relentless, unforgiving entity that follows me around. A constant reminder of what I’ve lost. But thankfully with my new (awesome) job I’m able to keep my mind occupied for a good portion of the day. But not Saturday. There’s no reason I would have participated in this walk had you still been here. I didn’t even know it existed before you died. But I put on my big girl pants and walked. It was emotional, to say the least. It was f*cking hard. But I’m so glad I did it. I went from not knowing the AFSP existed to it becoming my passion, something that has kept me going the past (almost) six months.
Funny how life works, huh?
Katrina came down for the walk. She arrived super early Thursday, so we had three full days together. She has become like a sister to me, so I was grateful she was able to be here Saturday. We had so much fun. We went out to eat, hiked, explored different parts of the city. There were still tears, but nothing like when she visited Missouri. And those tears were just on Saturday. So I’d say we did pretty well! I decided we needed to look like a team during the walk, so I got us all matching baseball tees that say “Nacy 92” on the back in the military stencil font. I wanted to incorporate something Harry Potter in there, with the “Always” line, but I couldn’t figure out how to pull that off. But still, I’m actually really excited about them. They turned out better than I could have hoped. Because I plan on doing this fundraiser every year, I wanted something that would hold up. After all, this is my thing now. I just feel like I need to do MORE. I need to do everything I can. I feel by throwing myself into something like this, I can make something good come out of losing you. I can honor you and make your death mean something. Remember how the AFSP put me in touch with someone who had lost a sibling? I want to do that one day, as well. Obviously, it’s too early now. I think they require at least a year before you are brought on. Which is understandable. But it’s hard for me to sit and do nothing. Now that the walk is done, what do I do? Where do I throw all my energy?
You know what really blew me away? How many friends showed up to support me Saturday. Kat, Adam and Margie came. I ran into Kat as she was leaving the bathroom (we hadn’t met up yet) and I threw my arms around her. And then didn’t let go. That was the first time I cried that morning. I have never been happier to see her. And so much of my new work family came, too. I’ve never felt so supported. I couldn’t have done it without any of them. I’m so so lucky to have so many people who care. People with a toddler, where it would have been way easier to stay at home rather than come to a cold walk. People who don’t know me very well but still take time out of their day off to be with me. I mean, holy sh*t. Honestly, part of me was worried about so many people showing up, because I absolutely hate crying in front of people. It’s hard for me to cry in front of Clay. So you can imagine in front of anyone else, especially around 2,000 strangers. I think I like to pretend I’m a lot tougher than I really am. The opening ceremony got to me, but when the butterfly release came it provided some much needed comedic relief. The poor things didn’t want to fly away, and just kinda hung out on the volunteers’ fingers. It was pretty awkward. I lasted until we were on our ginal lap, then I had to pull over and just sob. It was all wrong. I shouldn’t be there. There are so many things that just shouldn’t be. And even though my day-to-day life isn’t all that different, everything has changed. I’ve changed. There are times I’m reminded how far I’ve come. A few months back there’s no way I could have participated in a walk like this. But I did it. A few months back I was still crying every day. I still cry, but not every day. That’s huge. But…tonight I cried. A lot. Until my stomach hurt and my eyes burned and I couldn’t breathe. There’s no way around it. I spoke with a friend tonight who also lost her brother. She put it so well:
“It’s like I think I’m finally at peace with it. Like able to deal. Then…psych, just kidding, you’re still a mess.”
And Nikea said basically the same thing:
“I’ll be okay. Just singing along to a song. But then a quiet part in the song will come, and I’ll just lose it. Out of nowhere.”
So I guess this is normal. It comes in waves. Like I said before, there is now life and laughter between the waves. After they hit, I am able to resurface easier. But God those waves still hit hard. Yet I’m not ready for them to stop crashing over me. I’m not ready to make peace with you being gone. And Chris, I never will be able to make peace. Peace = acceptance and I’m so not ever going to accept my baby brother died.
God, okay. I need to eat dinner. Just so you know, I’m still mad at you. I’d punch you in the face if I could. And then I’d hug you. But I would definitely punch you for doing this to us. I hate this. What I wouldn’t give to have you back, to see your truck pull up outside home and you walking up our sidewalk again. It isn’t fair.
I need another sign, buddy, that you haven’t left me. Please.