When we speak, share our stories, our thoughts and memories surrounding suicide- we talk of despair, confusion and hopelessness.
We can’t think of the future, our new paths or life without our loved one. We take everything minute by minute.
As my, and my family’s story is spreading – my inbox and day to day conversations have taken a shift. I am 23.5 months bereaved and now questions surround about my life, my coping mechanisms and our individual stories as a family as we are now – suicide survivors.
In my head, I see a tri-pod. One leg represents my mother, the other my father and the last leg is me. If one of those legs get a little wobbly – there is more pressure on the two stable legs to keep the tri-pod from falling. occasionally, – all three legs stand tall as one, often, however, one leg is finding it difficult to stand. Sometimes light is hard to see within the darkness, but it is there. The most challenging part is identifying it and bringing it forward and deciding that Suicide didn’t end you, it simply changed you.
I am a problem solver, always have been. I see an issue and I fix it to the best of my ability. My brain is high functioning, I think very quick and always for a solution.
As I have said before – on the 18thMarch 2017 – I was given a choice. I could choose to fight or to flight, it would have been easier to fade and to let go of everything that made me who I am, but in saying that it was because of who I am that enabled me to choose to fight.
Last night, another one of my insomniac nights – which are all too common. I versed into thoughts of my brother whilst in the kitchen. Life has been a terrible bumpy journey for the past 23 and a half months but with me being the person that I am – I still think of the light shining through ahead, however hard it may be and however many obstacles are thrown my direction.
For all suicide survivors – I write this post for you – in hope that you too, can identify the light through the darkness.
5 THINGS THAT REMIND ME OF THE LIGHT AFTER SUICIDE
There is no denying that the more intriguing, deep and unique sibling is my brother, without a doubt he held a life that was full of success, a future that was bright and an impact that was like no other. It is this reason that I can do what I do now. With morals, so high and a vision on life so particular, I often said if we were not related, we most likely would not have seen eye to eye. People loved him, people disliked him, he said what was on his mind and apologised whenever he felt he was wrong. He taught me originality, he defended me when things got tough and he loved me unconditionally, with trust and admiration and for that every day I thank him. He loved me enough, that now, when I meet someone who does not know me and only knows him – they know of me and of his love for me that he shared. He stood for what he believed in and threw to the side lines anyone who he did not agree with. He stood tall, beautiful and strong – making mistakes and learning from them to better himself. He spoke about his struggles, in the hope of helping others. He helped others with similar struggles to himself, with his experience, in his 20 short years he saved others and made them feel comfortable in their own skin. He achieved more than most and had goals bigger than many. I am left with these memories, stories and situations that I can share with others now in hope to use his story to make the world a better place, just like he did.
It doesn’t matter, how many years a life has – what matters is the life contained within these years.
The People I Have Met
During the past 23 and a half months – I have met people who have changed my life. The youth that I now see on a one to one basis every week has enabled me to find comfort in knowing what I am now doing is right. The hope that I see fill their eyes after several sessions is something that I keep close to my heart.
Because of the sensitivity of what I do, I am unable to share all the individual stories and what happens during the sessions but these people, the youth and the families who are also bereaved by suicide and contact me just to have a conversation, they all inspire me daily. They are the ones who keep me fighting, pushing forward and provide me with the true meaning behind ZGBTST.
I put this in, as I feel it is an interesting part of my journey to where I am today. I began training at aged 5 – I travelled with my Dad to his first club and started off taking names, he took me out of the house so my Mum could spend some quality time alone with Zachary who had just been born. It was uncommon for children as young as myself to participate in karate grading’s past a certain grade. It was through this niche that Zanshin was born, I kept training and learning throughout school and university. On March 5th,2017 I was offered a stepping stone job in Belfast whilst I finished of my Humanitarian Law Masters in Jordanstown in dreams of becoming a Humanitarian Lawyer. Of course, due to the passing of Zachary a couple of weeks later, I declined the job to stay at home with my family. It became evident that nothing would ever resume to normal so I decided in August 2017 that I would leave my employment to become Zanshin’s first and only full time Karate Instructor. My perseverance during my adolescent years were difficult to maintain a high standard, I was competing all over the world and still studying full time alongside of this, however, in hindsight I believe that to be a Karate Instructor was my ultimate path. It has allowed me to be able to dedicate my daytime hours voluntary to ZGBTST and have the flexibility to achieve my personal and professional goals along with doing the Martial Art that I have always loved.
My Support System
My circle is small, I have chosen for it to be that way. The support I have had throughout my journey after Zachary had passed is something only people could dream of. However, people who I had never thought would leave, such as close family members, thought this time would be a perfect opportunity to bail out. It is through this betrayal that I became stronger and more resilient to obstacles being thrown my way. I have had friends act more like family members and family members act like strangers, the day Zachary passed away was the day that I changed and not always for the better. Sometimes I can come across as being a very emotionally cold person – but this is grief and only a close few understand this about me. It is down to my support system that I am still doing what I am doing today and I owe my success to them and I am forever grateful.
Every day I have doubts, I have doubts that I am doing the wrong thing. I sometimes speak about my journey, my new aims and objectives and I wonder if people think to themselves “How can you help me, when you couldn’t help him”. That thought bothers me more than people can only imagine. The fact of the matter is – I worked to my full capacity as a sister to help Zachary, I went above and beyond to ensure his safety. However, what I am trying to give to society now is the knowledge I have now to prevent another Sister from becoming lost like me.