Monday, August 27, 2012

On grief, suicide and love.

Today marks the two year anniversary of my cousin’s passing away.

Who am I kidding. I really shouldn’t sugar coat it. I doubt he’d want me to lie…

Today marks the two year anniversary of my cousin committing suicide.

On paper, you’d never in a million years imagine that he’d take his own life. He had two beautiful children, a wife that cared deeply for him and a family that all around adored him. He was a hard worker and had joined the Israeli army to become the best soldier he could be, his goal to join the Mossad. He never reached that goal. Instead he returned to the U.S. and became an investigator for the New York District Attorney’s office and a then a member of the Florida Bureau of Investigation and SWAT team. He was passionate about what he did, and he was constantly trying to push himself to go further in his career. He was financially stable and, when I look back, I can’t really remember him without a smile on his face.

But two years ago, something happened. I’m not sure what happened. I’m not sure if anyone knows what happened…but there he was, lifeless, his gun by his side.

When I was a little girl, Jeremy was the one cousin I thought really loved me and my family. He never gave the impression that he felt obligated to care about us, or that he was only being nice…when he came to visit, we knew that he was taking time out of his already insanely busy life to see people he had to truly love.

He was the kind of guy that sat with me as I drew pictures and was more attentive than any twenty something year old I’ve ever met in my life. He was the kind of guy that left his cousin his car to use when he went to serve in the Israeli army and the kind of guy that asked my mother to pray for him, even though he didn’t share or fully understand her faith.

He was strong, bold and very handsome, everything a little girl dreamed of in a prince charming. He was more than twenty years older than me, but I can recall looking out of the window at night daydreaming about the next time my favorite cousin would come to visit me. I can’t help but remember daydreaming about him saving me from all the mean girls in my second grade class.

He really was my hero.

I hadn’t seen Jeremy in a couple of years. He had slowly dropped off our radar, and we knew that something was not good, but I don’t think any of us saw suicide in his future. I’d still ask about him, and I’d get the same response about not having heard anything recently.

My heart would drop a little, but, at a certain point, you move on and live your own life. You ask less and less about them, because you know that they probably haven’t called or written.

Three days before Jeremy shot himself, I turned to my mother and, completely out of the blue. said, “I want Jeremy at my wedding. I don’t care if he doesn’t want to stay in touch right now. Whatever he’s going through doesn’t matter. I love him so much. I just want him at my wedding.” She smiled, and most likely made a joke about my unhealthy obsession with weddings and that was that.

I look back now, and my stomach drops. Was that my subconscious, my soul, screaming for me to write him? Was my spirit telling me something was going to go terribly wrong? Was I being given the opportunity to say ‘I love you, a lot', before he left? I told myself, after I made that comment to my mom, that I’d write him an e-mail the next week, but next week came and went…and then he wasn’t there to answer.

So, here’s my message. Two years late.

All I wanted was for you to be at my wedding. All I wanted was for you to see me grown up, a beautiful and talented young lady. I wanted you to see me in a big Shakespearean production. I wanted you to call dad crying when your daughter was engaged because you didn’t know how to react to letting go of your own precious baby girl.

I just wanted you to overcome the pain that you felt.

You’re an idiot. You had dad, you had mom, you had me…you had God. You had the beautiful angel faces of your children, and the strong voices of your wife, mother, sister and brother.

And no, I’m not mad at you. I love you too much to be mad at you. But, yes…I hurt. Even writing this, I’m crying.  I wasn’t supposed to be at your funeral at twenty years old, Jeremy. And you know that.

Every day, I pray for your soul, for your family and children. I pray that we might meet again someday. In some ways, I wonder if your leaving this world was a blessing in disguise. That maybe in the next world, you have a clearer understanding of how deeply and truly you were loved. I just wish it wouldn’t have taken so much heartbreak, pain and tears to realize it.

You were the first person I thought of when I looked at the stars as a little girl. I wondered if you were looking up at the stars in Israel, thinking of the gift this life was as you were risking it every day.

Things change, and people move on. So now, I know you’re just another light shining brightly down upon me from the night sky. Being my every day reminder of how I should never take this life for granted.

If you or anyone you know is suicidal or depressed, please seek help. Suicide hurts everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry about the lose of your cousin must really hurt. Death hurts, grief hurts. Wish he knew this before he committed suicide, but he is gone. I pray for your total healing friend. I also pray that others who are suicidal will learn from this.

    Bless you!