I share so much of me, but I haven’t ever shared one of my most defining moments in life because it’s painful and awkward and horrible.
When I was thirteen and he was sixteen my brother died in a car crash. It was painful and horrible and gruesome and I lived like a zombie for more than a year, unable to utter many words, let alone answer the agonizing, way too common question – do you have any siblings?
I wanna share this for everyone who’s lost someone in their lives, at a young age or any age. But there are many young people reading this and I want to especially write to them because no one ever did for me. No one ever got my any help, which I will never have a grudge against because my parents were in so much pain they hardly knew what they were doing, but I got by myself because I had to learn to get by myself or else shrivel up to nothing (which I almost did).
I hardly remember anything of that year, everything was vague and felt cold and all I remember is having to transfer schools because I just couldn’t keep up with anything, I was spaced out, I had panic attacks in class after which I went to the school nurse and just cried on her bench and no one told me what had happened was a panic attack, which only frightened me more. And I remember I asked someone to come console me to the nurse’s advice but somehow I was so confused – I was confused all the time, I hardly knew where I was – I chose a friend who cared nothing about me. She wasn’t a friend. I sat there and felt stupid. And I remember I told people I was so tired all the time I went to bed at eight and never could get out of bed in time for school and people laughed because they thought it was a poorly made joke. I walked slowly as if all of my limbs were immeasurably heavy. And the school’s diagnosis? I was too stupid to go to their school and had pick an easier one. But I was still tired, I hardly ever went to school and when I did I ended up in the nurse’s office taking naps and begging my mother to let me come home. I had stashed white-yellow eyeshadow under my bed to wear and trick my parents thinking I was sick, though they must’ve known and understood I just couldn’t face the outside world sometimes. I couldn’t follow any of my classes and when exams came up my notebooks were empty though that didn’t matter because I was unable to understand anything at all. This school diagnosis? My IQ was too low to do anything, but they never even noticed I was so spaced out during the test – as I was all the time – I didn’t even know there was more than one page to it. They never bothered to take into account that I had scored an IQ of 130 when I was well (this means nothing, but in this context it sadly did).
My supposed friends spread rumors that my brother had violently killed himself, my supposed friends took my phone and read all my sad messages, my supposed friends got angry at me WHY DON’T YOU EVER TALK. They were afraid of me, of what had happened to me. Most people did not dare to come close to me, did not even dare to make eye contact. I counted down every single second til school was over to literally run out of school. But when I got out I was too afraid to go home and be faced with our reality.
I wore pink velvet pajamas to school with pink layers of tops, that is my only good memory.
My two best friends of my previous school got boy-crazy but my mind literally couldn’t wrap myself around that concept at the time. We went skating while I hid out and cried.
I will never have a grudge against any of these people, they couldn’t grasp what I was going through. They were living their teenage years and doing a great job at it; painting nails, talking about boobs, crushing on pimply boys.
However, I am exceedingly mad that no one ever took the time to listen to a thirteen year old girl (of whose circumstances they all knew) who was clearly depressed.
It took me almost two years to say out loud my brother had just recently died and there was always a very painful silence. But I’m okay now, it has re-definied my life. Though I often envy siblings, and I envy especially older bothers, and I often fantasize who my brother would have become, knowing who he was he would laugh at my clothes and life choices but secretly harbor a pride that I do whatever I want (but also laugh at me for it). Or maybe he’d loathe me, but I wouldn’t care knowing what I know now.
I won’t ever have an older brother again, but I have my family of friends, I have my parents, I have a babely friend who calls me lil sis because we’re so alike, I have a second mommy, I have an enthused brother who gets equally psyched about clothes as I do, I have lotsa sisters, and I am immeasurably lucky and happy.
I don’t know how to help you cope because everyone mourns differently – remember that everyone mourns differently and never get mad at them for not mourning your way – but share your stories and don’t give a damn how uncomfortable it makes people feel, this is a part of life, don’t be quiet like I was and actively work your way through the mourning process the way you feel you must do, and know you’re gonna be all right one day.