September 15, 2016 A letter from a sister, Amanda Azbell
Today, September 13th, is my third birthday with no birthday card. No phone call with a teasing, humorous Happy Birthday song, no Facebook post with an embarrassing picture from when I was little, nothing.
This is what my birthday will look like for the rest of my life, because I lost my brother to suicide.
Now, I will get an abundance of phone calls, texts, cards, and Facebook Happy Birthday messages that are graciously appreciated. But the one I don’t get, leaves quite an impact.
Life is too short to begin with, please don’t make it any shorter by making the choice to end it. You might not have thought of this, so let me say it to you now. Your sister, your brother, your father, and your mother will miss the birthday cards you won’t send. They will miss the phone calls you don’t make. They will miss the hugs you’re not around to give. YOU WILL BE MISSED! Oh, and don’t forget your grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, friends… This list goes on and on. Although it’s been over 2 years I still find myself wanting to tell my brother about something that happened, and having a wave of sadness come over me when reality hits me that I can’t. When you choose to leave this world, you are creating a mountain sized hole in the hearts of those who loved you. Do you realize the pain it would cause? Do you realize the effect it will have on your loved ones?
Losing my brother to suicide has been the absolute hardest thing my family has ever gone through. But you know what? We are better people for having gone through it. Although I wish I had never experienced this tragedy, I am grateful for how it has impacted my life, and the lives of my family and our friends. I don’t take my family and friends for granted, that’s for sure.
When is the last time you told your sibling you loved them? When is the last time you hugged them? Can you remember? I can’t. My brother and I fought like cats and dogs growing up, and it only got somewhat better as we entered our 20’s. When’s the last time you yelled at, hit, or said something unkind to your sibling? I was with my brother for most of the day before he decided to end his life. No punches were thrown – that day – and no harsh words were shouted, but that doesn’t mean nice words were exchanged. Does it seem silly to you now, to get upset over something so small and trivial? I hope it does. As a sister who no longer gets to hug her brother, or tell him she loves him, it drives me nuts to see siblings fighting with one another. Your siblings are the only friends you have that are with you your entire life! Why would you waste that? Be kind to one another. Would my having been kinder to my brother maybe saved his life? Who knows? But at least then, the thought wouldn’t have crossed my mind. Is it something you really want to live with on your heart?
If you are fighting with a family member, please make up. Life is too short. Do you really want your last words they hear from you to be unkind?
If you are going through a hard time and feel like giving up, please read through this one more time. If you took a minute to think of all the ones you would leave behind, whose hearts would ache for you, wouldn’t that make a difference? I hope it would. I hope you realize how important you are, and how loved you are. Do you really want your sister to be crying over the birthday card she didn’t get from you?
~ Still Saddened Sister ~