A year has passed since my brother's suicide and I still haven't taken his number out of my cell phone.
It's fair to say that anyone would have expected it of me, or others in my family, before they would have thought Michael would ever kill himself. I'm definitely not suicidal now, but from 12-15 years old I struggled with suicidal thoughts constantly. In tenth grade, I walked to a grocery store in the middle of the night to get sleeping pills to chug with a bottle of vodka a friend had left at my house. I didn't have any money and I couldn't bring myself to shoplift the pills so I left empty-handed. It sounds dramatic to say, but if there had been a gun at my house, you probably wouldn't be reading this.
-----I keep removing the following few sentences (and adding and removing it again.) It feels so raw, but I don't want to hide it.----------- I am still amazed at how often I see depictions of someone shooting themselves in the movies and on tv. Or how frequently people make the motion of "Oh ha ha I was so bored, look at me point this fake gun at my head." They aren't doing anything wrong, it's just that once you've known someone who has really done it, you can't help but imagine them doing it every single time you see it pantomimed.
A whole year has passed.
Every night for that first few weeks, I would notice whenever it was 6:17pm, the time stamp on his email moments before he did it. Then it was every Thursday night at that time. Then instead of measuring by days or weeks, it was every 19th day of the month.
And now it will be measured in years.
I still get anxious every time the house phone rings at night. Still hold my breath as I wait to see who it is and every time the machine picks up, remembering my Dad's tone when he said, "Melissa, pick up the phone..."
Tonight my family and Michael's closest friends are getting together for a short while, around 6:17pm.
If you wanna send us some love, we could all still use it.