The end of April saw my birthday this year, and though it seems I have become dull to the lose of so much family in the past year, a birthday is a heavy reminder of how false that is.
For my family, holidays and birthdays are a time that even though we all live far apart and have busy lives, we take a moment out of our days to make a phone call. My family is small, smaller even now, and so each phone call is precious. This year, I was very much depressed over my birthday. There was no call from my brother. No call from my dad. No call from my grandparents. First year ever where those calls were never placed, a pattern that will follow every year from now on.
My mom has a tendency of passing on the guilt trip, making statements such as “what, guess I’m not enough?” or “I can’t fill in your father’s shoes.” And though I understand her hurt, because instead of being happy at receiving her phone call, I just feel depressed over the loss, I hope some day she realizes it’s not that she isn’t enough, but that no one can fill in the gaping holes left inside me no matter who they are.
My brother’s birthday was suppose to be two weeks after mine. As children we combined many birthday parties together since they were so close. Also, being 80s kids, where we still played outside, a lot of the neighborhood friends were ones we both played with. The couple of times we had sleep overs the girls would bed downstairs, and the boys had a massive tent that slept 20. To me, my brother always had the best ideas on how to have fun, which is probably why I followed him in everything. His group of friends would play capture the flag, and we would beg to join in on it.
This year my brother would be 35-years-old. Tell me that isn’t too young to have already given up on life. Sometimes I feel it’s so easy to just continue pretending he lives across the country from me; since we rarely got to actually see each other, it’s easy to forget he is really gone. But days when he is suppose to call, such as my birthday, the reality sets in and I can’t pretend. He was someone that always called, no matter what. Being in the military made it difficult sometimes but my brother was reliable, never failing to remember those special days.
I’m still confused over how I feel about my dad. I don’t know why his suicide has affected me so much differently than my brothers. I suppose part of it is because I feel extremely hurt. Just before my grandfather passed away at the beginning of April, he told me my dad felt abandoned. Yet, I feel it is he who left me…left all of us. I know it’s selfish, but I guess I figured as a parent he was suppose to be my rock.
Since my father’s death in March I have visited his house three times. Once, when we were still searching for him with a sliver of hope for the best. Second time, to meet with the lawyers my step-mother was hiring, and finally, for my sister’s graduation. Each time I have discovered, the loss I feel for my dad is strongest when I am where he is suppose to be.
I mentioned it before, how my young brother and I wanted to skip Christmas. I think this is the real reason now. We want to skip the holidays, I think, because they are a huge reminder of the holes we now have in life. These holidays and special occasions make it glaringly obvious how much we have recently lost. Our small little family was very supportive, and caring, never forgetting each other and so when we don’t get those phone calls, or cards in the mail…it makes it difficult to continue pretending that there is only geographic distance that keeps them away.