Dear Brian,

It’s about to become the year 2014.  This is my 3rd New Year’s Eve without you and each time the world continues to move on to the next calendar year I have an immense pain in my heart.

I know many people who read this won’t understand… but also know that anyone who has lost someone as close as you were to me will know exactly what I’m talking about.  I remember so vividly clinging to the year 2010 because you were here with us for the majority of that year and I desperately did not want to move into 2011 without you.  I think of that each New Year’s Eve– that I have endured yet another (and am about to endure one more) year without you.  And each time I find a penny you leave for me I immediately look at what year it is; as silly as it seems, I find myself feeling heartbroken if it’s a penny from 2011 or later– I only want pennies from the years you were with me.

So many things have happened since you gave up, Brian.  So many things I wish I could have shared with you– both good and bad.  My marriage had been struggling long, long before we moved away to Texas and deep down I always knew you never truly connected with Mark and knew that he wasn’t the man for me.  We decided to separate only 8 months after you died and were officially divorced shortly after the one-year anniversary of your death.  To some a divorce might be a traumatic event but for me it was such a wonderful blessing as I was unhappy for so long and finally felt some relief; I knew I was free to find the person with whom I was really meant to be with forever.  I then went through a confusing and tumultuous year-long relationship… again, the end of a relationship that turned out to be a beautiful blessing to me as it brought me to the place where I met Frank.  He has graciously let me into his life with all my quirks and complexity and has allowed you to remain a part of my life with him.  He’s there to provide hugs and a shoulder to cry on… and he’s been so willing to participate in the little “ceremonial” things I do to remember you– watching your favorite movies with me, listening to my stories about you and asking to know more about you.  I know without a doubt that you would think he is a wonderful partner for me.

Then there is my amazing friend, Leashya.  I’m so grateful to have met her, Brian.  She has been the most constant and consistently supportive and trustworthy person in my life here in Austin.  We understand each other in a way that only convinces me further that we are kindred spirits and I was undoubtedly supposed to meet her– she has become my family, my sister.  Though she feels that she knows you already (from how much I speak about you) she really wishes she could have met you and I wish you’d have had the opportunity to know her, too.

There are so many others whom I’ve met as a direct result of your suicide. Through seeking help and having others reach out to me for help, I’ve met some beautiful people.  It’s so bittersweet; while I’m heartbroken for the reason we came together, I’m also grateful that we did.  I met people early on who were further along in their grief process who were able to offer up a truly understanding ear and heartfelt advice.  And now, 3 years later, I’m finding I’ve been given the opportunity to turn around and offer that same kind of guidance to others.  It’s a devastating but loving community I’ve found and I’m grateful for both the opportunity to learn from others and to also be able to teach some of what I’ve learned about life and myself in this process.

I began this blog in 2013– it has been nearly a year since my very first public post.  While I’ve received so much wonderful feedback from others who are grieving, I’ve found that it has been immeasurably helpful to me, personally.  First, for the opportunity to get out so many thoughts and feelings I have inside… but also to be able to go back and read previous posts.  I am amazed at how raw some of them are! I’m proud of the resilience I never knew I had and also of my own willingness to be so open with the world… it has brought many wonderful people into my life as a result.

This coming February I will be traveling to Washington, D.C. as I was selected by the Central Texas Chapter of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to receive a scholarship to attend their Annual Advocacy Forum on Capital Hill.  I’ll be able to meet with lawmakers about issues surrounding mental health and suicide awareness and prevention.  I know you’ll be there beside me giving me the strength to share your story and mine.  I’m determined to make changes where I can this coming year, Brian, and I know you’ll be supporting me all the way.

Love Always,
Laura

The Silent Epidemic

December 27, 2013

For anyone interested in learning more about self-harm (aka self-injury, cutting, ect…) there is a great 4 part documentary series available on YouTube called “The Silent Epidemic.” I’ve seen many attempts at covering this topic over the years… and many of them have failed to really do it justice and, in my opinion, did more harm than good. As someone who has self-harmed for over 30 years, I found this particular documentary did a wonderful job at shedding light on this subject without highlighting the shock aspect of the injuries but rather focusing on the cause and explaining it in a way that hopefully others will understand.  It really delved into how the brain works and how there is literally a physical reaction in the brain that occurs when one injures to relieve emotional pain and anguish… and thus the behavior is actually highly addictive and difficult to overcome without the help of a caring therapist and often medication.

If you or anyone you care about self-injures, please consider spending 45 very worthwhile minutes on this documentary!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Ernest Hemingway’s Toilet

December 27, 2013

toilet

I’m not sure why I found it so funny… but at Brian’s place there was a painting hanging above the toilet in his bathroom.  It apparently was a painting of Ernest Hemingway’s toilet at his place in Key West.  It just seemed like such a “Brian” thing to do… decorate his bathroom with a picture of a toilet– and hang it directly over his own toilet, nonetheless.

Mom sent me this picture last week and I proudly hung it up over my own toilet.  I laugh each time I look at it!

Dear Brian,

I’ve been dreaming about you a lot lately for some reason.  They haven’t been the amazing kind like the one I had just 6 weeks after you died (see this post: http://letterstobrianblog.com/2013/02/09/91/) but instead they are all dreams of you coming back from wherever you’ve been these past 3 years.

The first one was simple… I just saw you from behind walking away down a long, dusty dirt road with the sun setting at your back.  (Being the smartass you always were I’m sure you’re saying to me, “If you didn’t see a face, how did you know it was me, dude?”)  Well, I just knew.  And it was so comforting to see you.

The next dream was about me making plans to come pick you up at the airport because you were coming back to me.  I was so excited and was making all sorts of plans for us and couldn’t wait to introduce you to all my friends who so far have only gotten to know you through my stories and letters to you.

The third dream was a little more involved.  You called me one day out of the blue and said you were coming back.  However, since your house and car had been sold you would need a place to live now.  You asked if you could come live with me.  I began to cry and said, “Of course!  Nothing would make me happier!  Just come back, please and we’ll figure everything out!”

On one hand these dreams have been wonderful… just to see your face and hear your voice.  On the other hand, there is the gut-wrenching pain that I feel each time I wake up from one of these dreams only to realize they weren’t real and that you’re still gone.

For months and months after you died I was tortured with recurring thoughts that maybe you were still alive.  Since I wasn’t allowed to see your body, there was a part of my brain (and to some degree there still is) that didn’t believe it was true.  I kept thinking what would you do if you came home?  We removed all of your belongings, took your keys and your car and your cell phone.  How could you reach us when you came back??  Maybe that part of me that didn’t believe you were gone is the same part that is giving me all of these bittersweet dreams.

As painful as they are, I’ll take them.  Anything that allows me (real or imagined) to see and hear you again are the best gifts I could ask for.

Missing you so very much…

Laura

Dear Brian,

What I’m about to talk to you about I know won’t be much of a mystery to you as we spoke about it a little bit on several occasions though we never really delved into it like we could have or, quite frankly, should have. To anyone reading this, it might seem pretty cryptic. I do know a few people whom I know will have zero trouble identifying exactly what I’m talking about. However, I do also know that the person that SHOULD hear and understand this feels they are so above hearing it so it won’t matter anyway.  But let me start with this…

If you pour water into an ice cube tray and put that tray in the freezer, you’ll end up with ice shaped exactly like the tray in which it was placed. The shape it takes obviously occurs by no fault of the water; it had only so much room in either direction to move before it was stopped and forced to conform.  That water will continue to retain the shape it has taken until something changes… until it is removed from its environment and is allowed to change.

I’m like those ice cubes… and I think you were, too.  We’re both out of the “freezer” now and I’m learning to thaw out on my own and become something different… something that I get to choose, not have chosen for me.  Unfortunately, I think it took leaving this world and becoming spirit for you to completely change into what you believe you were meant to be because you simply weren’t able to achieve that here.

Thanks for continuing to watch over me while I work through this stuff, I know you’re there.  I’ll write more later but that’s all I have to say today.

I love you.
Laura

%d bloggers like this: