Lots has happened since I posted last -- some of it over-the-top exciting and wonderful -- and some of it devastating and heartbreaking.
The hardest thing of all occurred on July 14, 2014, when my older brother Lance died by suicide. My world and my heart broke into a million pieces that day, and I'm still trying to put them back together.
I can't even describe how difficult losing Lance has been for me and for all those who knew and loved him. After his death, I shifted into survival mode. I didn't stop being a photographer, but I didn't have the energy, motivation or even desire to maintain my blog.
Everything was hard. It was hard to get up every morning. It was hard to take care of my family. Housework, which is always hard for me, became almost unbearable. I struggled to maintain relationships. I distanced myself from a lot of people, especially those who I thought couldn't or didn't even try to understand what it's like to lose someone to suicide.
Grieving a suicide loss is different than any other kind of grief. First is the terrible shock that comes from losing someone to suicide. Then there is pain...heart-wrenching, all-consuming pain. Along with that, there is sadness, regret, blame, hopelessness, anger, shame, despair.
These past two and a half years have been so very hard. I miss Lance so much, and know a hole in my heart will remain until we meet again.
It's taken a long time, but I finally feel I'm coming out of my deep, dark hole of grief. I know that it is only through the love and support of friends and family, along with the never-ending concern and care from my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ, that I'm recovering.
I don't think my recovery will ever be complete in this life. I don't know how it possibly be. The wounds are too deep. The sorrow too great. The pain too insurmountable.
I honestly CAN'T say I'm grateful for the experiences I've been through as a result of Lance's mental illness and subsequent suicide. I know there are a lot of people who go through tremendous challenges who later say they wouldn't trade those trials for anything. Good for them, but that's not me in this case. I don't see how Lance's suicide could possibly be considered something good.
What would be best in my mind, is for Lance to still be here. For Lance to be healthy and happy. For Lance to have the opportunity to be surrounded by those who love him. For Lance to be able to watch his two little granddaughters grow up.
That's not to say I haven't learned things from Lance's death. I have. But I wish I could have learned those things another way -- in a way that didn't involve losing my big brother.
With this post today, I've pretty much opened up my heart and soul. I'm not really sure why I felt the need to do that, but as I prepare to begin posting more frequently on my blog, I just wanted to give a little explanation about why I've been away for so long.
And with that, I'll end this post with one of my favorite pictures of Lance, my sister Jan and me. This is the way I like to remember Lance -- with that silly grin and that light in his eyes.
|Margaret, Lance and Jan at Luke's wedding July 2011|