processing

It’s been about sixty-four hours since I found out that my uncle Ryan committed suicide. Ryan. The sweet one. The baby boy of the family. My godfather. The one who was so gentle and whose laugh alone would cause you to laugh—even if you had no idea what the hell he was laughing at.

This is our family’s second suicide. Shaun committed suicide in 2010. Statistically, this is likely. At least I think I remember that fact. I haven’t had the guts to look it up. Because, really, it doesn’t matter. The truth is, we’re here again.

There are things that are different this time. I know this grief. It’s very possible that I’m still in shock a bit. I don’t think it will really hit me until I’m with the rest of my family. Last time, the shock and grief were overwhelming. I couldn’t move. This time, it’s like I’m welcoming an old—friend? And my support network is different. I’m married now; there’s someone with me pretty much all the time. Last time, I felt so very alone.

But there are some things that are the same, that I forgot. Despite the fact that I am functioning fairly normally, I’m exhausted. I wake up in the middle of the night for a bit, but on the whole I’m sleeping well. Still, naps are necessary. The grieving isn’t merely a mental thing; it’s body and soul. It’s in the bones.

And then there’s food. I’m one of those people who gets hangry. Fast. Snacks are important. But right now, food is just there. And I am kind of forgetting how important it is. I’m eating, but it’s not enjoyable to eat.

And noise. I turned on the radio yesterday and immediately turned it off. The volume wasn’t high, but it felt like there was a concert happening full-blast right by my head. There is a stillness that comes with grieving. I forgot that.

And gathering. When I got home on Tuesday, I immediately put on the diamond earrings that Ryan gave me for Christmas when I was ten. He cried when he gave them to me. I remember asking my mom why it made him sad. She said it was because he wished my dad were still here to do those things for me. The sweater that was Shaun’s—I’ve had that close. And the quilts made by my grandma, which I wrap around me for comfort as much as for warmth. The things, and the stories of things, take on a different meaning. I want those stories near me right now.

So we’re here again. It’s the same and different. And it’s awful.