“My Letter to My Sister After Her Suicide” is the first installation of my Guest Post Series: Tales From the Other Side
If you have been following my blog, you know that I write about my experiences as a mother who lives with mental illness, specifically; PTSD and (recovering) co-morbid substance addiction as the result of surviving severe, prolonged domestic abuse. There is a lot of stigma around mental illness, addiction, and abuse. I think it is important that those of us who have lived or are living with these conditions speak out so that the world can see what we go through, and also that we are human. Relatable, real, maybe even (gasp) likable humans.
We are not the only ones affected by our conditions, however. The people who live with us, love us, work with us, and know us are also affected, often deeply. Last week I wrote about my recent(ish) suicide attempt. I shared the letter I didn’t write, but would have written if I had been able to communicate my thoughts and feelings at the time. This week, I want to share with you the letter written by one woman to her sister whose suicide attempt was successful.
This letter is raw, heartwrenching, and even funny at times. It is, ultimately, honest. I am so honored to be able to share it here.
Another issue that the letter briefly mentions is possible witnessed PTSD; sometimes the people who come in contact with our conditions inherit similar conditions themselves. Witnessed PTSD is less understood than experienced PTSD, but it is the same disorder as mine except that it arises from witnessing a traumatic event, rather than directly experiencing it.
One last thing I would like to say before I share the letter and some details about its author: I have been suicidal. I know that feeling worthless and unloved comes hand-in-hand with wanting to die. And now, having lived through it, I also know that the feeling is a delusion. You don’t have to be popular and constantly surrounded by people to be loved. If you are feeling suicidal, please just know, just believe that there is someone out there who will write a letter like this to you if you leave them. Chances are, you even know who that person is. Chances are, you love them too. Please think, truly think, about the real consequences of your decision before you make it.
Connie Hulsart is a SAHM who writes about mental health, suicide prevention, and the use of essential oils for emotional well-being. In her spare time, she loves to read, hang out with her kids and fiancé, and lay around with her dog. She is an advocate for universal screenings for postpartum depression and reform of child protective services nationwide. Visit her blog: www.essentiallybroken.com and follow her on Instagram: @essentiallybroken, Twitter: @oilsbylazyjssis, and Pinterest: @shamrock8427
My Letter To My Sister After Her Suicide
I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you. Some of the things that happened in your life were horrible, but some were amazing. I wish I could have saved you; helped you understand that it wasn’t your fault. I’m sorry I can’t remember anything. It’s like staring into a black hole, I can’t see anything. I wish I could have had more time to try to remember-maybe it would have helped-maybe you wouldn’t have felt so alone in your suffering.
It wasn’t a waste of time; loving you. It was the one thing I was great at, before becoming a mom. It was the most innocent, pure love there is, the love between sisters. It was the ‘lay on the couch and giggle all day because we could read each other’s minds’ kind of love. It was a bond that I thought could never be broken…..
Can I be honest with you??? I hate you some days. The days I see tears in Olivia’s eyes as she talks about you. Looking at your baby, as he’s telling me a story. When I watch Madden sleep with the monkey blanket you gave her, she calls it “Jessie,” she takes it everywhere. She calls it she, not it… “Where is she?” as she frantically searches for it. You know Caylin; she doesn’t talk about her feelings, but I know she misses you so much that it hurts. The kids, yours and mine, will never be the same; forever scarred by loss.
THIS IS WHERE I TALK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLES’ FEELINGS (LIKE I KNOW ANYTHING??)
Do you know that 500 people came to your funeral? 500 people, can you even comprehend the amount of people who were there? The line wrapped around the funeral home. It was terrible, I really hated you that day. You know why…..because all 500 of those people touched me or kissed me or hugged me. Don’t get me wrong, I was so numb inside that I couldn’t feel it, and I loved that so many people were there to honor you BUT you know how I don’t like to be touched LOL. I know you had a great laugh for yourself as you watched me kiss each and every one of those people.
What did you think was going to happen, all of us would go skipping along after you were gone? Laughing and living? Do you know how Mommy, and Jeamie, and Gene & Kevin, and all the rest of your family and friends feel? Like shit, that’s how they feel, at least once a week, they all say, I just wish Jessie was here. It’s horrifying to watch. I shouldn’t speak about other people. It’s not my place, I’m sure you hear them.
NOW I’LL TELL YOU HOW I REALLY FEEL
I’m gonna be honest again….some days I really FUCKIN hate you.
What about me? It’s time to get straight up, psychotically, selfish. You stand up one day and decide to leave me??? Do you know I sit six feet from your ashes every day? I stare at them, begging them to say something, anything. Yeah, I know, crazy, but as you know crazy runs in the family LOL. After you left, I wouldn’t leave the house, I wouldn’t even step outside. When I talked to my therapist about it, of course she asked me why I thought I do that. It was then I realized, I was waiting for you. If I left the house, even for a second, I might miss you. She said it was normal. I didn’t feel too normal at the time. I felt like I was losing my mind. There’s still days I sit here, all day, and stare at your ashes, wondering….
Would you do it all over again? If given the chance, would you choose differently? I know how much pain you were in. Maybe I’m the only one who knows, deep down in my soul, that there was no saving you. The scars too deep, the pain too real. I might not remember but I never doubted you, not even for a minute. I wish I could go back in time and change the things that happened.
My Oath to You
I solemnly swear to protect the girls and to be a good aunt to the baby. I promise to talk about you to him and make sure he always knows that his mother loved him. I will tell my ladies, every day, how much you loved them. They will always be protected and they will know that you saved them. They love you so much. I watch them talk to you, when they think no one is looking.
As for me, I’ll sit next to your ashes for the rest of my life. I’ll cry when I hear a song we loved or that reminds me of you. I’ll cry as I watch a movie you and I loved. I’ll cry behind closed doors every day for the rest of my life……and then I’ll live.
All my love,
If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
If you were touched by this letter, or would like to share some words for someone who may be considering suicide, please leave a comment.
If you have a story you would like to share for the “Tales From the Other Side Guest Blogger Series” please e-mail Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org
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