How Do I Choose To Suffer?

There’s this saying that goes something like, “Pain is Inevitable but Suffering Is Optional”. I HATE that saying.

My life has changed drastically for the worse these past few years. I have lost 3 of the most important people in my life. The ones who knew me better than anyone. The ones who held me when I was sick, when I was heartbroken, when I was damaged and needed put back together. I can tell you that I am not choosing to suffer.

My days are filled with raw emotions. I cry every single day. I scream inside as I see smiling faces, laughing families and love that fills the air. It makes me angry that I can’t share that with my brothers and my Dad. It makes me sick knowing that I will continue to meet milestones in my life and they won’t be here to see them. It infuriates me that I can’t see their faces and hear their voices.

These emotions I speak of come on without notice. They run up my back and beat against me until I’m dizzy and can’t see. They fight me when I try to think of something good and break me down each time. These emotions are more powerful than anything I’ve ever experiences. They are relentless.

So tell me, when do I choose to suffer? Where do I choose to suffer? How do I choose to suffer?

I go to counseling, grief meetings. I write. I scream. I talked to people who loved them. I talk about the good times. I get up and go to work. I even laugh here and there yet the unyielding agony is so deep in my soul that I’m in constant pain. My body aches to the bone. My muscles cramp with tightness. My head throbs with misery.

So please, tell me, how do I choose to suffer? How can I make my days better? How can I see my life any different than how it truly is? Because my life is nothing how I would ever want it. Not just little things that you can work to change. If you don’t like your job then work to find another one. You don’t like where you live, make a plan to move. But my life was ripped from me. I had no choice in how anything was going to happen.

But my soul, my being, those have changed. I lost the most valuable love to ever be created. And I didn’t just lose them. I watched them slowly fall from my grip. It’s as if they were hanging off the top of a mountain and I tried to hold on to them the best I could but I wasn’t strong enough. I pulled and tore at them as they were slipping from my hands. My body was thrashing against the rocks and dirt as I tried to fight gravity as it pulled with all it’s might. Now I’m sitting on the edge of the mountain, bleeding from my heart, from my eyes, from what remains here on Earth. And I wonder; why not just jump?

So please, tell me, how am I choosing to suffer? How could this be what anyone would ever want to feel or experience? Because this is the most desolate feeling.

May 18th, Just Another Day

May 18th has always felt like a magical day. It’s always a beautiful Spring day with life bursting out all around you. The birds are singing in the trees all day long, the flowers are blooming and buzzing with the sound of bees. The streams are flowing with the music of showers that gave birth to the new life of our world. Baby animals are coming out from their homes and exploring the bright colors. It’s a day to celebrate life and love; it’s also the day I was born.

I’ve always been a big birthday person. I love celebrating people’s birthdays and my own. I’m the person telling everyone, “My birthday is coming up.” or “Tomorrow/Today is my birthday!” I plan dinners, celebrations with friends and family, going places to be together. But that has all changed. May 18th has become just another day with a little extra sadness sprinkled on.

This year I didn’t tell anyone it was my birthday. No one in my office knew, many of my friends didn’t know and most of my family didn’t know or didn’t remember. But most of all I didn’t hear from “the boys”, my brothers or Bubba, my Dad. These three were the first ones to usually say Happy Birthday to me. They would call me, text me, put it on Facebook (either all three or at least one). Birthdays were so special to us.

My brother’s have always made me feel extraordinary, especially on my birthday. Ever since I was little they did things with or for me on my birthday. All photos from growing up had me sitting on one of their laps or sitting so close we were touching especially when it came to singing and blowing out candles. They made me feel like I was the best thing to ever happen to them. I remember just loving them so much and feeling their love encompass my entire being. But I don’t feel like that anymore.

I don’t feel like my birthday is worthwhile the way I use to. I don’t feel like celebrating life and the new season of plentiful offspring scouting the environment. I don’t feel that tiny burst of excitement as I open my eyes to a new year of life and growth. I feel heartsick that I’m not sharing this day with the people I love the most. My soul is cheerless as I move throughout my day. The few birthday wishes I receive are recognized but irrelevant.

May 18th, just another day in the world.


My Sleepless Nights

It’s 4 am, I went to sleep at midnight but I’m wide awake now. This happens each night. I can’t sleep at night, I can’t take naps during the day. I can’t sleep. Ever.

When I do sleep, I have weird dreams. Many times I dream where people argue with me that you aren’t really gone. “No, your brothers are still here. I literally just saw them! What are you talking about?!” Then I wake up, thinking I’m crazy and having bizarre dreams. I go to text you…

But then it hits me. It’s like I relive those horrifying, unbearable, relentless moments, again. I try to rationalize my thoughts but they make no sense. These moments have no reasoning and are just absurd. And the anger is back. Flooding my entire body with rage as I lay there in my bed trying to grasp my thoughts yet I can’t. I want to go back in time and fix things. I want to make your lives better than they were. I need to be your baby sister. I need to hear your voice on the phone, read a text that you just sent me, plan to do things when I come home to visit. Help plan ways to change our lives, the girl’s lives. I NEED YOU BOTH SO MUCH!

This is not meant to be my life. My greatest accomplishment has always been being your sister. That’s how I’ve always identified myself. Constantly saying, “I have two brothers…”, “My brothers…”, “When I was growing up my brothers…”, “I’m the baby with two older brothers….”, “My big brothers…”, that’s who I am. I’m your sister. I’m your baby. That’s where I find peace, being your baby sister. Who am I without my brothers?

I’m lost in this dark world. Literally, I’m surrounded by darkness and my mind is so heavy. It’s like these nights last a lifetime. I’m scared, I’m lonely, my body is in so much pain and I can’t seem to get it to ease up. I see flashes of you in those last moments. It’s like I was right there beside you when it all happened. I died with you. You took me with you and now I’m just a shell of myself.

So I find myself abandoned. Unable to comprehend my surrounds. Fearing everything.

My aches

I have these aches that permeate every part of me.

These aches are in my muscles, bones, blood, brain.

There’s an ache that vibrates my mind and an ache that drills into my soul.

I feel these aches when I’m awake and when I barely asleep.

These aches seem to take place of all the pieces I’m missing; I’m missing a lot.

I feel as if I’m living in this black hole of misery and elongated pain.

Even if I do laugh or smile I still have these aches surrounding me.

Then I have guilt but at least I still have my aches to allow me to feel something true.

Sometimes the only truth I have is the crippling throb of sorrow and heartache.

With each twist and turn the ache deepens and I can’t break away.

Many times the only thing I can feel are the aches that confine me to myself.

I’m fenced in by fear of what’s to come.

For I know these aches are apart of me now.

I’ve lost too much for them to ever disappear.

What’s To Come?

It feels like a blade has been shoved up through my sternum.

I can feel it’s sharp edges slicing through my throat while I choke on the blood.

That’s how sudden the realization of my pain is.

The change of my day happens as quick as that life altering moment.

Then flashes of what was fleeting in my mind.

My laughter is halted as I’m incapacitated once again with fear.

Fear of feeling, fear of living on, fear of not having you here, fear of my own fear.

Floods of tears cascading down my quivering chin.

While my damn hands keep moving nervously and I’m readjusting my sitting position and shirt so I don’t blurt out how angry I am. How overwhelmed I am.

I’m angry at my eyes that cry.

My heart for breaking.

My life for being what it is.

At this world for taking your love away.

I’m afraid to speak out loud.

What will come out? Could I survive that truth?

Can I actually survive this?

Because I Can’t Be With You

I’m tired. I’m sore. I’m angry. I’m beyond grievous.

My skin feels raw down to the bone.

It’s as if I’m bathing in a tub of torment. I’m washing with the ache of what I should have done, what I should have said.

It keeps filling the space enclosing my soul.

When I try to rinse off the sorrow, it feels like fragments of my missing future digging in.

My life will never be how I want it.

I feel like I’m laying on my back and all these realizations are suffocating me.

The tears are so frequent that they feel like razorblades rolling out of the corner of my eyes.

I’m fighting the urge to scream out in horror, in anxious pain.

I rock back and forth, trying to figure out these thoughts that are beating my brain.

How can they be true?

My belly is gorged with rage.

This…this…this has happened. This is happening right now.

These feelings don’t leave, they argue with each other.

Rational thoughts fly out the window when I wake from a dream of being with you.

Because I can’t be with you.

Because I can’t be with you.




The Antidote

There’s a rod through my torso

The pain pulsates reality.

Loving ain’t easy when it comes to yourself.

What were you thinking?

The truth is in your veins

That venom staring you down like a shot gun

Our love inundated your ecstasy.

That grip must have been a constraint so burdensome

Painstakingly heavy to be imprisoned by.

Life’s inadequate without your smile.

Your love is the antidote.

Not My Home

I’m writing this while I lay in a bed that’s not mine, within a house that is not my home.

Yesterday, as I was driving to work I saw a horrific sight. A dreadfully gruesome sight. There were two dogs just feet apart, lifeless, on the side of the road. One looked like a husky and the other a lab. There was no blood, no tire marks, no presence of an accident whatsoever.

My mind goes straight to, “Should I go to all these houses that are spread out and tell them? Maybe it’s their dogs? Should I check and see if they really are gone?” Then, my mind goes, they are Josh and Adam.

My heart faded into black. I felt a cold rush start from my feet and shoot up into my head. Both of my brother’s must have felt like they just ran right out into traffic. I know they were scared and froze in times when they needed to run back to safety. Sometimes that is exactly how I feel. I’m paralyzed with all these bulky, hasty masses speeding past me and I’m unresponsive. I can’t blink, breath, talk…I’m confined to this space.

This space which has no restfulness, no compassion, no pity, no encouragement. It’s desolate. It has no warmth. When I try to move it’s as if I’ve grown roots from my calcaneus and they extend straight from my heel into this pit of ash. I can’t fight to pull any harder because I’m so tired.

All this is so tiring. My emotions, my thoughts, the way something can trigger ideas that seem so out of whack.


She called it, “Survivor’s Guilt”

It’s hard to have to go about your days, your life when their lives just…STOPPED.

I’ve had these feelings since my Bubba (my Dad) passed almost five years ago now. That seems so unreal that it’s been that long. I remember holding his hand as he took his last breathes and it felt like an eternity as he fought for every single one he took for that last hour. I stayed by his side for days. He told me he loved me and then he didn’t speak again. He stopped getting up, he stopped eating, he stopped opening his eyes. Six months before all that we were talking on the phone and laughing. I see it like it’s a movie in my head. The camera is angled down hovering above us, rotating side to side. The reel now has added footage, it’s longer. This movie that plays on repeat in my head has added moments of my brothers.

In the recent months I’d been struggling with guilt for feeling happiness. I’ve been doing well in my career and it felt unfair to my brother Adam. He had a drive in him that was powerful. He knew what he wanted to do and he did those things. It was so great to see him succeed. I was always so proud when he achieved new heights. We would celebrate together when we could or cheer together over the phone. I miss his random voicemails to say nothing but “I love you” and “Get it gurl!”.

And Josh, he was doing so well. He was making positive strides and we could all see the man he use to be. The man HE was proud of. I wonder if he was having this “survivor’s guilt”? He had to of felt it. To get clean, to overcome the poison that had destroyed so much of our lives. He wasn’t sharing everything he was feeling but I know he was battling a lot of pain. Pain from the past, pain of the present, pain bubbling up in that rearview mirror. I wish I could have done more, been more. He deserved happiness.

Both of my brothers deserved pure, true happiness. Now I’m afraid of happiness. How can I have it when they couldn’t? How am I suppose to continue on when they can’t? I know how crazy this must sound. I know I should do things for them, because of them, through them but it’s much easier said than done.

I want to continue to succeed because I have to. I still have my two beautiful nieces who mean the world to me. Everything I do is for them. It’s so they can see that you can break the cycle, you don’t have become a product of your environment. I wish I could absorb all their pain, sorrow, anguish, fears. I would hold all that for them if I could. But now I have to try and survive. Survive for my two true loves. My nieces. They are my world. My breath. I want them to be able to look toward me and find strength because that’s what I get from them.

We are the survivors. We will struggle with happiness. We will struggle when we succeed. Apparently, we have “Survivor’s Guilt”.


I find myself displaced in a world full of love. I’m bewildered by my whereabouts.

I have those I know and strangers inquire, “How are you?” and my genuine heart whispers, “Dejected.”

My lips lack a smile that upon a time was unending. A man declared to me, “Your gaze is so intense.”

“My apologizes.”

“No, your eyes are very beautiful and mesmerizing.”

I speculate whether these inhabitants surrounding me can see the truth in my gaze, in the haze of my eyes.

Am I on autopilot? Just navigating through my day, helping those who need it until I’m alone.

Introspection sets in and the glut of throbbing torture slithers in and the cold sweats emerge.

I’m petrified of what is.