Monday, September 27, 2010

Bad, Bad Dreams

I don't usually dream, or at least I seldom remember any dreams if I have them; even when I do remember, I'm not usually one for bad dreams, although I have the occasional nightmare.

Lately, I've been having a lot of really bad dreams, most of which involve losing someone I love in one way or another.

Ever since I lost my brother, I carry around an intense fear of losing someone else I love. I worry about it a lot, and I suppose that's carried over into my subconscious. I can't decide which is better--not being able to sleep, or having fitful and restless sleep full of nightmares.

Kind of damned if I do, and damned if I don't. I wish this was getting easier and not harder.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We Should Think Before We Speak

Since my brother's death, I have become significantly more attuned to the way I, and others, speak.

For example, have you ever thought about the number of times we reference death and suicide on any given day?

"Man, that test was a killer."
"Working with her makes me want to kill myself."
"Another assignment? Just kill me now..."
"This project is going to kill me."

I cringe a little every time someone uses a turn of phrase like the ones I listed above. I wonder why we use death and suicide to describe so many things. It's not that I haven't used them in the past, but I'm very careful about my choice of words these days.

How desensitized have we become to the power of our words that we can talk about death and suicide in such a nonchalant manner?

Friday, September 17, 2010

On Dreams

Since my brother's death three months ago, I've had a number of dreams in which he has made an appearance.

The first dream came a few weeks after the funeral. I don't remember much of it, but what I do remember is actually incredibly comforting. I said to him, "I don't have a brother anymore," to which he replied (in that wry, "you are being ridiculous" voice he used a lot, if you knew him), "Yeah, you do."

I don't know what I believe about dreams, or the inner workings of the brain. There are many religious traditions about those who have passed on appearing to their loved ones in dreams, but I think a lot of that might just be wishful thinking. "Wish-craft," my mom calls it.

Whether it was actually my brother's "spirit" or just my mind trying to come to terms with the enormity of my loss, I do take comfort in knowing that even though he may be physically gone, he will never actually be gone. He lives on in our stories, pictures, and memories. And regardless of why I dream about him, I hope it never stops.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Forgotten Bereaved

It seems strange to me that there are very few resources for those who have lost a sibling to suicide. Support groups, even online resources are very much geared toward parents who have lost a child, or children who have lost a parent, but very little for siblings.

It makes me wonder--am I alone in this? Are there no other siblings who have lost a brother or sister to suicide? Do siblings not usually experience such pain and suffering?

Are there truly so few siblings who need suicide survivor support, or are have we just been forgotten?

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Nobody's Fault

Eytan's death is nobody's fault.

I think we can't help but blame ourselves a little. What if I had called more? What if I had paid more attention? What if there was something I missed? So many what ifs...but to what end? Blaming myself for his death won't bring him back, and it won't make the loss hurt any less. Let's focus on moving forward and healing.

I found out yesterday that someone in my community jumped off the a bridge to his death a few weeks ago. The family isn't telling anyone what happened but everyone knows. It makes me even more resolute in my decision to tell people what happened; this kind of secret isn't something you can hide for long in this age of technology and police scanners. And even if it was "hideable," how can you heal if you can't openly talk about the loss? I'd rather have my friends know so they know how best they can support me.

SUICIDE ISN'T ANYONE'S FAULT. We loved my brother, and we didn't drive him to take his own life. He was sick, and in such a dark place that to him, death was the only way out. This doesn't reflect poorly on my family, and we are not ashamed of him.

Why is it so hard to talk about suicide?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Echoing Emptiness

His room echoes terribly.

It's at the top of the stairs. We removed all of the furniture so the floor could be replaced, and every time I walk by, it echoes. There is this one part of the hallway that always creaks when you step on it; you can't avoid it when walking to my room. Now it creaks, and echoes in the hollow room.

We leave the door open because if we don't, we forget he isn't sleeping in there. During shiva, I'd forget and almost knock on his door after waking my sister.

He isn't going to wake up. He's gone, and he's left a huge, hollow place in my heart that echoes every time I play a game he used to play with me, or see previews for a movie I know he'd like.

I know one day we'll put new furniture in his room, and fill it with life again.

I wish I knew how to fill the hole in my heart.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Inexplicable Panic

I had my first panic attack this weekend. I don't think it was a full-blown panic attack, but it came on suddenly and fully equipped with nausea, heart pounding out of my chest, sweating, and anxiety.

I can't pinpoint what precipitated it, or even what made it go away (although AK did help significantly just by talking me through it, and somewhat distracting me). It's a pretty scary feeling to be panicked and not know why or how to "fix" it.

And I had been having such a wonderful weekend. Afterward, I spend a significant amount of time angry at myself for letting a panic attack ruin a perfectly good time (although it's not like I had much control over it, but that didn't stop me from being annoyed).

I wish this was getting easier and not harder.