Tales From the Other Side: “My Letter to My Sister After Her Suicide”

Tales from the Other Side: A guest post series on www.bettysbattleground.com

“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.

www.essentiallybroken.comConnie 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

Guest Post Series on www.bettysbattleground.com

My Letter To My Sister After Her Suicide

 

Jessie,

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

Letter from a sister to a sister after losing her to suicide-www.bettysbattleground.com

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,

Connie

Connie and her sister Jessie, who committed suicide. Read the letter Connie wrote her sister after her death on www.bettysbattleground.com

Connie and Jessie

 

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 bettymama206@gmail.com

 

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35 thoughts on “Tales From the Other Side: “My Letter to My Sister After Her Suicide”

  1. As weird as this sounds, I’m so happy I stumbled across this post today. My brother took his life one year ago, and boy do I hate him right now. I don’t get to say that a lot because it sounds so wrong. You wrote what I would have. My love to you.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss. And I’m glad that Connie’s letter has helped give voice to some of the feelings you were having difficulty wording; it is always wonderful to find something that is able to do that. This letter was meaningful to me as well, though for a different reason. <3

  2. Elizabeth, words cannot describe how beautiful I think this whole post is. Your intro had me sobbing before I even re-read my letter. Writing it was hard…reading it was torture but the good kind of torture (if there is such a thing) people need to know that they are loved, even when you feel like you’re not or you’re not worth loving. Someone still loves you; no matter what. That’s how I felt about Jessie, even on her worst day, she was the best friend I ever had. I just wish this wasn’t what I had to write about but it seems to be doing me some good and hopefully it helps someone else. Thank you again for asking me to do this. I thought it would be easy but it wasn’t and I’m glad. 💔

    • Connie it has been a pleasure working with you. You are such a kind, generous, and appreciative soul. It is an honor to host this letter. It has brought me near or to tears on each reading as well. It definitely hits home for me in terms of highlighting what I would have done to my family if my attempt had been successful. I remember the mindset; I know that out loud and at the forefront of my mind I would have said “well she was loved, but I’m not” but in the background I would have been listing the people who care, and it would have helped. I hope and believe that this letter will do that for someone else. Have you read the comments yet!? If not you should! I know it always means a lot to me when people are touched or find meaning in what I write 🙂

      • I’m sorry Elizabeth, the comments weren’t coming up when I was looking at the post. I just restarted my phone and now all the comments came up😢 i am going to reply to all of them. Tha k you again for allowing me to get this all out.

        • Don’t say sorry! (Don’t worry though, I was raised female in this society too; I understand what it’s like to feel the need to say sorry about everything). I wasn’t telling you about them to demand that you reply (though I’m sure they appreciate that you did); I just know how difficult it is to publish something so personal and it always helps me after I’ve done it to see that it is connecting with and helping other people. So I wanted you to know!

  3. This just brought me to tears and each word gave me chills through my bones. My brother committed suicide in 2010. I wrote a letter to him on his anniversary this past year and it talked about some of these same things. The anger, the hurt, the waiting. It’s not on my personal blog but I posted it to another public platform. In a sick way it’s comforting knowing others understand the pain. Thank you so much for sharing this

    • Paige, I am so sorry for your loss. When I started my blog, all I kept thinking of were other people. What if other people feel this way? What if someone else had a loved one take their life and had no idea what to do or if their feeling were correct? Every feeling is correct and valid, my only wish is that all this is helping someone.

    • Thank you Courtney. I understand the pain and shame of mental illness. That voice in your head telling you that you’re not worth people’s love. It’s wrong, my sister was loved by so many people. Her mind would not let her believe that it was true.

  4. What a powerful letter that brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing your story. It is so difficult to talk about suicide but so absolutely necessary!

    • I really want to help people. It is such a terrible subject but all I read about now is children (13 & 14 year olds) killing themselves. It brings me to my knees. It is so incredibly sad, to feel so alone. I would give anything to be able to travel around the country, speaking to students about suicide. It is such a taboo subject but with the news lately, it is necessary. I’m actually going to look into this. It would be my greatest accomplishment, if I could find a way to do this.

  5. My tears….just keep rolling. I’m so very sorry for your loss, for the children left behind, and for the new reality that you now have to make your “normal”. I don’t know you but I’m proud to know you’re using this platform to reach out further than your arms would allow, reaching to touch others and speak about what others might be too scared to say. Thank you for sharing this.

    • OMG Jennifer, thank you so much for competely understanding what I’m trying to get across. Like I said in another comment, I really want to speak to kids about this. I’m sick every time I hear of a 13 year old committing suicide. Not only is it heartbreaking, in my opinion, it’s preventable. Thank you for your comment.

  6. Thank you for sharing this story for others. Dealing with loss is such a roller coaster ride until we finally reach acceptance. Sharing this shows a strength of being that helps in moving towards reaching that acceptance.

    • Thank you. Acceptance is a weird word, I don’t think I’ll ever “accept” it. I understand what you mean and I have moved to a place where I can put my pain aside to try to help other people. Thank you for your comment

  7. I have to be honest. There were countless times where I wanted to stop reading this post. I wanted to stop reading because it got too real. Too real is too scary but too real is also what we need to hear. Being someone who thought about disappearing countless times, I always think… I bet you no one will show up to my funeral. I think people don’t like me or care about me. Better yet, I think (what I am sure all depressed people think) “The world is better off without me.”

    The moment she said 500 people was at her funeral. That’s real. That’s true. That’s things we forget about when we are in a dark place. All the people we have touched in our lives. I always do my best to be positive and always smile. I forget how many people actually do think about me and I don’t realize it.

    Life is strange in that way. I read the entire blog. I read it all. I read it through the tears. I read it through the epiphanies. I read it through my own journey. I read it though my own battles.

    It’s truly an inspiring post.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    • Ruky, thank you for leaving this comment. It means so much to know that this blog has meaning for you, and I’m sure Connie will feel the same way when she reads it. It’s so true; I’ve had that thought too, that nobody would care much if I were gone. That my family would actually be better off without me. I bet Connie’s sister felt the same way, because that is just what comes along with suicidal thinking. Clearly, she was wrong. I can see by the way my kids hug me and look at me and need me, that I was wrong too. And I know you were too. Please remember that always. You are valuable. I have read your blog too and you are a brave, intelligent person. You have a lot of creativity and insight to share with this world. You are one of the people who can help change this world for the better. So remember that and stick around please!

    • Thank you Ruky. I just want people to know, no matter what you’re thinking in that moment just try to think about the people you’re leaving behind. I know she was sick and her brain was telling her otherwise . I miss her so much, sometimes my whole body aches just from my broken heart. I’m so thnakful to you for reading it ❤

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