11 Years Without Him

As always, the day before fills me with more dread than the actual day it seems. But the day came. Today is here.

I woke up slowly and sighed. I was sluggish. I put on the only shirt I have of Tom’s. A navy blue worn t-shirt. It has a pocket on the left breast with a slight hole wearing through at a corner from wear and tear. Upon putting it on today, I noticed a hole in the armpit.

Before, I’d been to heavy to wear this shirt. Now, I’m too small to wear it, but I wore it. I tied it up in the front and paired it with a black calf length skirt that has pockets. (Pockets in a skirt are important.) I looked cute. I felt cute.

I cried this morning, like every morning on this day when I think about my brother. Only today, for the first time the words he said to me rang in my ears for a moment:

I hate you and this is all your fault. I’m going to kill myself!

Deep in my heart and soul, I know that’s not true. I know this is not my fault and I have no guilt over this. The words still sting a little. I got through it.

I posted pictures on facebook. I posted his video. I wrote about him and my love for him.

I tried something different today. I went to work. I tried working once since this happened and it didn’t go very well. Since then, I always took the day off. I wanted to see if I could handle it.

I figured I had to start somewhere. So why not distance education where there was only one kid in the room and the rest were online and I could turn my camera off if I got weepy?

I cried a lot this morning. I listened to his music. Wore his clothes. Felt him with me. Then, I got a text from someone that just simply said, “Today will be a good day.”

Today will be a good day, if I choose it. A switch flipped. A calmness settled. A smile came to my face. Yes, it would be a good day, because I would choose it.

I worked and it was good. I read the chapter in The Outsiders when Johnny dies (spoilers) and didn’t even cry.

I saw my parents and felt good hugging them without bursting into tears. I didn’t fall apart.

I typically wallow in dread of this day. Just sit in it. But I think I’m ready to face it from now on. I’m going to workout today. Maybe to for a run. Enjoy the day.

I will honor his memory. I will be sad but I will move forward. Not backward. No more hiding.

It’s the day my brother ended his life but not the day I lose a day of my life. I make a choice today and from now on to live my life.

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