“Defusing the Bomb.” Fiction. Based on a True Journey Through Grief.

“People blame themselves when someone takes their life. Usually when people take their life they’re thinking they’re going to make life better for everyone around them…they think they’re gonna make it better. But really it’s a burden to all the people around them to carry the weight of that relationship, of what could have been…what their last conversation was…” – Kelly McCree

“Defusing the Bomb”

Fiction. Based on a True Journey Through Grief.

by Lynn Duncan

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

If I remember correctly, I described my emotions as things I kept in a box. Only to be seen by,  well not even me.

They would spill forth unexpectedly, usually just before my period started as an adolescent. Stress of school, of home, of my life. I never learned to share those things from my parents. They didn’t share them with me, so it felt like I wasn’t supposed to express my feelings.

As I’ve grown up I’ve learned that people expressing emotions are how they keep from sobbing in their living rooms at 2am. How they keep from biting down on knuckles so hard they bleed while taking a shower.

Apparently emotions are normal. Fear, anger, disgust, worry, doubt, happiness, sadness. All of those things are apparently normal.

My husband tells me that I’ve never been so expressive as I have with him in the last year of our relationship. I tell him when I need space now. When I need a hug. Why I’m drinking at 7pm after a normal day at work. And I do it out of fear.

I know what it looks like to stare at the abyss that is depression and anxiety and feel completely unworthy of the love and support that my family and friends offer me. I can convince myself that everyone is lying and that I am not at all worthy of the respect they give me. Not worthy of the time and attention and kind words. I know what it’s like to have convinced myself I’m not worth being alive.

And I can imagine what that must have been like for my brother. I know technically he is my brother in law. I’ve known him since I was 7 though and he has loved me like a brother. And I know I am his sister. Nothing will change that. Nothing can or ever will change that. Death is even just a change of space. Dimensions being. That version of him will always be my sibling. Nothing will change that.

His mother wants to take my nephews away from my sister. The woman-my sister- who tried her damnedest to save his life. Having no idea that he was that sick and just self medicating. None of us knew he was that sick. That the walls and curtains would talk to him on a regular basis. We had no idea. His family knew though… ever since he had grown into a young man his entire family knew he was sick. And I cannot fathom as to why they didn’t tell us.

My brother was the type of person to make sure that you only knew what he wanted you to know. He was quiet. He liked books, he was happy and an obnoxiously devoted father. He played video games…. I still have his books. They’re in my husband’s bedside table. The stories are good, but I can’t bear to look at them and regret everything I didn’t say.

I wanted to call him, to tell him that he was still loved, even if he was being an asshole. To apologize and tell him to go home. We still had no idea he was sick you see… we thought he had relapsed again. He was using again. That he had succumbed to the lure of his addiction again.

Part of me is so proud of him for not. And part of me wonders if he had used again if things would have gone differently. But thinking like that wont change the fact that his ashes have been in my car. Parts of him have been sifted through in moments of grief. Cried over and spoken to.

I know that you have to forgive and forget. But the wounds are too fresh.

I understand that everyone expresses grief differently but the woman that calls herself my brothers mom is wrong. My mom – D- was a better mother to my brother. My selfless mother, took in my brother when my sister kicked him out. She got on a plane and took him to rehab. She told him stories. Filled with pain and grief and understanding. To remind him that he was a part of the family.

Miss. R never did any of that. All she did a week before my brothers death was tell him that she wanted nothing to do with him. She severed that bond of parent and child. She cast him out.

And his family just showed up to collect his remains. Not to save his life.  We showed up to save his life. We were a better family to him, given what we knew, than they ever were. They abandoned him and let us fumble around in the dark begging for help.

So. Ms. R can try. She can take all of the resources from my sister that she wants. But she has proven time and again she doesn’t deserve the opportunity to be a good parent. She failed once already and I will not sit by and let her ruin my nephews.

They are loved, safe and valued. Like my brother. Like me.

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