I don’t even know who I am.
I know who I have loved and lost,
Who I have known, what places I have lived, lakes I have swam in, mountains I have climbed,
waters I have sailed, piano songs I have played, countries I have been to, concerts I have attended,
parties I have danced at, elderly I sat with,
disabled I fed, churches I attended, sports I played, degrees I hold,
hundreds of kids I have entertained, thousands of people I have counseled,
No one really knows what I fear most.
I don’t even know what I fear anymore.
The fear that came and is now over when Teddy died.
That was the most fear I have ever felt, because was I next?
Who would help me if I became that depressed?
Did their depression mean that I too would succumb to this terminal disease one day?
I began to mistrust the medical professionals, and so I decided to become one.
The God I was raised to know,
would never allow me to lose him
after just losing my sister, so tragically, so violently,
just 4 years earlier!
It’s been over 30 years,
Teddy was 20, he’d be 50 now.
I will always be 26.
I don’t want to get older.
I also want to be 86.
No one I have ever met can relate to being the oldest and losing 2 siblings to Suicide.
It’s a very lonely place.
I have had a special life.
I made my adventures more special,
because they couldn’t experience what I got to see, hear, AND FEEL.
And I have nothing to lose but to lose out of Joy the rest of my life.
No one really knows me,
but THEY did, and I am still here, carrying their pain,
And I see it in so many others.
I try to help,
But I am tired,
30 years is a long time to try to help people so that they don’t get to a desperate place like Teddy and Rachel did.
I understand that pain.
I understand not feeling like being here anymore.
As the oldest, it was my responsibility to be the leader, the first to experience many things.
I left them in Minneapolis, at age 22 to follow my heart, with a man, to Denmark.
Nine months later, my sister shot and killed herself.
4 years later my brother asphyxiated himself in his own car,
learning how to do it from his roommate at a psychiatric hospital.
I will never understand how this could happen to such a sweet, kind boy.
NO drugs, no violence, just sweetness.
I don’t know how my mom and dad lived through this.
My goal became to show my parents that they didn’t fail all of us.
My passion became preventing more siblings from becoming survivors like me.
My work has become educating teachers, counselors, and parents to identify signs of depression.
From the grief I slowly heal, while helping others to change fear to SELF-LOVE.
Now, I am their age when they lost 2 kids to suicide.
I cannot compare the pain, but I am only 57,
And I have already buried most of my relatives except for my dad.
I have no children of my own, no husband, and no house to call home.
I have my memories, my pictures, and so many letters, poems and research papers that I have written to try to make sense of
Why I am and Who I am,
because I do not know who I am.
What I do know is that Joy is all around me, and I seek out Joy.
I see it in the trees, ocean, flowers, and sky.
I don’t know how to reach everyone, to tell them to put their phones down, live frugally, and focus on loving the people right next to them,
but maybe my story will help.
Maybe my ongoing pain of losing my little brother, who thought I was the coolest sister in the whole world,
yet still left me here, oldest of none,
will motivate the drug dealers, incompetent prescribers, undertrained medical practitioners, and the gun sellers,
to think about what it would be like to lose someone they love, to suicide.
If I cannot make an impact,
Then that is sad for those people who have never, and will never know