Letters to Chris. Day 519

Hey Buddy,

It’s World Suicide Prevention Day. It was a slow, painful, stupid day for me. I couldn’t think. I felt on the verge of tears all day. I made mistakes at work. I probably should have called in. I don’t have days like this often. That’s the beauty of always being busy. Busy with work. Busy with dirt biking, mountain biking, hiking, traveling, weddings, bachelorette parties…busy busy busy. But then I go home to Missouri. And go to our sister and Mark’s joint bachelor/bachelorette party and I realize you should be there. And then all of a sudden it feels like I’ve been pulled back to the first few months after you died where I can’t breathe.

It sucks.

Grief is really weird, isn’t it? You think you’re doing okay, you’re making progress, and then something like Suicide Awareness Month comes up and you’re surrounded by that fucking word that was never really in your vocabulary before. Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful for this month. I’m grateful there is a movement to fight suicide. I’m so relieved it’s gaining traction and people are learning that it is okay to need help. But then again, it’s exhausting. I’m exhausted.

I just want to travel somewhere far away and not come back until it’s October. Can I do that?

But even when I’d come back, I’d have to face your absence at our sister’s wedding. You know I’m giving a speech. And I can tell you right now I’m not going to get through it easily. Because I will talk about you, and how you would be so proud of her. How you ARE so proud of her. And that I’m sure you’d be wearing your dress blues if you were still here. You know, those dress blues you wore to my wedding that are now in a preservation box in my closet. I wish, I WISH, I would have gotten a photo with you at my wedding. Just you and me. But I didn’t leave the dance floor all night. That is one of my biggest regrets. But at least I have this one with you and Clay.

And one more thing. I’ve accumulated more of your stuff. This is what I do when I go home. I go through your belongings. Your wallet with your military ID, your flag and that sign that hung on your door in elementary school that says “Batman lives here.” I noticed I had doodled your name, and mine, on the back in colorful marker. It seems like forever ago, doesn’t it? I held your phone again…the one you texted Mom from that night. It’s such a weird feeling, one I could never ever describe, holding that phone. Something you held, took pictures with, called from. Mom doesn’t want to part with it, and I completely understand. You have so many photos on there and on your tablet. Texts. Just remnants of a life that we cherish.

You know…this may be the first letter I’ve typed where I didn’t cry. I also didn’t cry when I visited your ashes when I got home…first time ever. Yay for progress.

But…I’m still mad at you. I’m not sorry for that. You should be here.

Yet…I love you. Always and always.