Letters to Chris. Day 855.

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Chris during Basic with some friends. He’s on the right.

Hey Buddy,

You have been gone for 855 days. 73,872,000 seconds. 1,231,200 minutes. 20,520 hours. 122 weeks and 1 day.

Isn’t it crazy how time goes by no matter how slowly it drags?

I have been trying to get myself to sit down and write for quite some time. Like I’ve told you before when you first passed, I was IN that place 24/7. That dark place where no matter what I did or where I was or who I was with, you were there. Not really you, but your absence from this world. I felt like I was standing on the edge of the giant void you left, looking down into its depths, so close to being sucked in.

As time has passed, life has returned to semi-normal. Remember how I said I was surviving but not quite thriving yet? I feel like I’m starting to grow again. I don’t feel stuck like I did. The world doesn’t feel like it is stopped, where everyone in it is living their life and I’m watching from the outside. I’m actually happy again. Happier than I’ve been in a long, long time.

But I still miss you. Every day. You’re still there. No matter what. But while I still feel your absence, it’s become my norm. They say time heals all pain, and honestly Buddy, that’s bullshit. We can move on to an extent, but the hurt is still there. You just learn to live with it. It becomes a part of you, as much as anything is a part of you. We decide whether we let it dictate the rest of our years, or go on living. It’s a hard decision to make, for so many reasons. Going on living, for me, has meant leaving you in my past. And it’s something I have struggled with since you died. And is something I have been absolutely terrified to do.

I’ve been going to reiki for about a year now. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, just some sort of cleansing because I could feel that depressive energy still suffocating me. We performed this “ritual” I guess you can call it, where Katie would say something and I would repeat it. It was to further my healing process, and was all about you. I did okay until I was supposed to say “I am whole without him.” And I couldn’t do it. Try as I may, the words refused to come out. Not only do I feel I would be abandoning you if I said that, I know it to not be true. I will never be whole without you. You’re more a part of me than anything could ever be. My baby brother. So while I can allow myself to be happy and have dreams again, I will never say those words. I will never believe I am whole without you. Ever

Ever.

Remember when you first passed, and all these crazy signs would prove to me you’re still around? From smelling your shampoo to my Spotify playing a song out of order you know I love to feeling you poke me at night, there were so many instances that blew my mind. You would come through so strongly to show you weren’t going anywhere. And while I don’t “hear” from you as much, you have come through a few times recently. Like when I was begging you to show yourself to me while I was in a reiki session. I silently pleaded with you over and over, to the point where it had become a mantra in my head, as Katie worked. And all of a sudden, not 30 seconds later, she stopped and said, “Jenn, I know I don’t ever talk during this, but you need to know Chris is here and he is adamant I tell you.”

Thank you for showing up.

And then yesterday my TV turned on by itself. Something it did a lot when you first passed. And it happened the day I had talked to two different people about suicide. One, a woman searching for someone, anyone to listen, and happened to find this blog. Another who recently lost her brother to suicide. I had actually known him. Shelby. It had been years since I’d seen him. But I reached out to his sister because I made you that promise to use your death to help others. And I know what it’s like. How everything is “before” and “after.” How you count every day that passes. How you relive those last moments over and over. How that phone call and the days right after are ingrained in your brain forever. How every single second seems to drag by and how you question what else can go wrong in this world if your baby brother can kill himself. Who knows if I can actually make a difference. But I feel if I can help one person, just one other, it’ll be worth it. While I was on Shelby’s page, I noticed some people had posted a fundraiser for Walk out of the Darkness. And in the comments, someone else mentioned the suicide of her own brother. We are three too many.

Shelby’s sister and I talked about signs. She gets them from him a lot. All I can say is, we are so grateful you all let us know you’re okay. It would have been a lot, A LOT, harder to get through that first year without them. It has proven to me that not only is there life after death, but that we can still communicate with those we leave behind. It’s so comforting.

Speaking of Walk Out of the Darkness, Katrina is coming to walk it with me and stay a week. I’m trying to get Nikea out too, but we shall see if her schedule allows it. I wasn’t able to make myself walk last year (I just did the fundraiser), so it’ll be nice to have such amazing company this year.

Well, I better get dinner going. I love you, Buddy. Missing you.

Jenn

 

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