It’s my brother’s birthday today. He’s dead, so it makes it a lot harder to celebrate his life for some reason, nothing ruins a birthday party like the person being dead. After over a decade I still pick up the phone, even though the phones look a lot different now.
My brother hung himself.
Even now it is hard to accept those last few moments of his life, but I do. It is even harder to accept the pain that he must have been in to make that choice, but I do.
Even in my deepest darkest hours I never really seriously contemplated suicide. Sure, the tear stained pillows and the drifting off to what I hoped to be alcohol poisoning were often welcomed, but never did I look up and see what I could hang on from my neck. Never was I that desperate to leave this party.
Adult life did not come easily for me at first. I slid into my 18th year on the floor of a hospital after a doctor told me I was among the statistically small group of mothers who had a baby die of SIDS. Life didn’t really get easier for a really long time, mostly due to my poor decisions, but hey, pain is pain, even if you are the one creating it.
Needless to say, I sure as fuck didn’t believe in god. Or life after death. Or even Santa Claus.
Eric and I had a really close relationship, from the time we were tiny and he torchered me, to our twenties when we had a specific call “HEYYYYOOOOO, YETH NOW” when someone we thought was stupid was talking to us at the bar. We had a million inside jokes, secret monies passed between us, and only had to look at each other when one of our parents or sisters were doing something that we would rip on later. We’d bookmark it with a glance.
He had called me “Lizardbreath” for “Elizabeth” from the time I was born until I was 27, to which I begged him to change it, he, now far less of a bully than our younger days, agreed to name me “Dragonfly”, because I flit around and never stay too long to talk to anyone. I loved it and asked him to tattoo it on my back, and he promised he would if I still wanted it in a year. He had never agreed to put a tattoo on me unless I wanted it for a year. I never got any of his art on me.
I was the last person he ever called. I asked him not to do anything that day. He waited a week.
To say that his death hit me hard would be the understatement of the century. I lost one of my favorite people and I carried an immense amount of guilt because I could have saved him. Now I realize he is out of pain, and although I fight my selfish heart everyday, I am glad he isn’t hurting anymore.
It’s hard when you lose someone who gets all your jokes.
In the months after he died I became thinner and thinner. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t breath. It became unbearable. I was tired. I remember,in my desperation,getting to the point where I knew I needed help. I barged into my best friend’s house and said “I think you need to check me in somewhere, I’m drowning”. And I know I have spoken about this many times, but it takes a lot of MOXIE to ask for 24 hours, like my friend Stef did. I think I was so shocked that she didn’t grab her purse and take me to the nearest nut-ward, I mean, suicide obviously runs in my family, that I gave her the 24 hours. Why not? Right?
For those of you who read my blog, it’s well known that I have no room for religion in my life. I do not pretend to have the answers of tomorrow, or yesterday, and I even question my own past due to my perspective and emotional filters. I think heaven and hell are right here on earth, only because I have walked through the both of them already, and honestly I do not give one fuck about whether or not Jesus was the son of God or just a nice guy that hung out with degenerates and sick people. These details are all a big waste of time to me.
But this is the time in this story that Eric gave me the gift of all gifts. He proved to me that there is life after death. You have to understand, I never would have believed any of it without cold hard facts, no way, I had zero faith, zero belief, and every rejection to anything of the sort.
Stef text me an address and told me to be there at 4:00. She had called a crystal therapist that she had used once. I was desperate and would’ve gone to warzone for some god damned relief, I agreed.
Stef had told her that I had had a death in my family, and that I needed help. Nothing more. Moreover, Stef never knew he called me “Dragonfly”.
When I met Laurie Buchanan she was exactly as she self describes herself, she is a cross between Dr Dolittle, Nanny McPhee, and a Type-A Buddhist. Of course, I thought she was a positive and calm Wizard of OZ, but I had zero options at this point, it was her or the nut-ward. I filled out my intake, peed, and hopped up on the table.
I had never experienced any kind of crystal therapy, or reiki, or any “newage shenanigans”. But because I was too tired to fight against it, it just happened. She read all my chakras and determined that I was almost completely closed off except for a barely open and shaky chakra in my communication chakra, she assured me that this is why I was even able to ask for help. She placed crystals over all my chakras and started to “read my feet”, I assure you that as weird as this sounds it was even weirder to experience it, especially since “cynical” is not even the word for what I was.
This is when she said
“I assure you that I am no medium, but the man with the tattoos keeps screaming at me to say to you “LET ME GO DRAGONFLY, LET ME GO DRAGONFLY”, do you know what that means?”
I laid there with tears filling up my ears. Knowing that he had not left me at all.
So today, of course, I know that Laurie was not a crazy voodoo bamboozler, but the bridge to my knowing that our souls live on. I also know that there is life after death and there is no endings when it comes to love. Love never dies, it morphs and shifts and dances around us even when we do not know it, and we are love.
My brother, from the grave, gave me the gift of everlasting life. Every special occasion he sends me dragonflies of unusual size, or even 5 or 6 of them to dance around me, just for a reminder.
So today, I pass on this story to you, in celebration of his life. Happy Birthday, Brother, one day we will dance around as dragonflies together, but for now, thank you for never leaving me.