As today is the last day of August, most people look forward to September to start them off with fall’s with its crisp, cool air, leaving turning and falling, school starting and the start of everything pumpkin. For me, September is a time of mourning those that I have lost this month. These people are ones that have had a huge impact in my life and I take the time to mourn them every September.
It has been 16 years since I lost my first person in September. I will never forget 9/11, where is was, what I was doing and what I was supposed to be doing but instead I was glued to TV watching the horror unfold and awaiting to hear that people who I cared about or know where safe. Then I found out 3 days later that a close friend of mine, a firefighter in the FDNY, had been trapped in one of the towers when it collapsed and they never were able to recover his whole body, just parts. His mother was devastated and so was I because I never thought that I would lose a friend in a horrible way like this. He is someone who had been through some of the worst times of my teen years with me and his death changed a part of me that may never be fixed because I still see myself push people away when they get to close in fear of losing them as well.
The next person I lost has been the hardest death I have ever experienced because it was my little brother. Another situation that I remember that day like it was yesterday when it was 9 years ago. Being the oldest of my siblings, I had to be the one to keep it together for my family when I was mentally losing it. The little brother that I used to torture as a child, was gone and I could never say I am sorry for not being a better big sister. His death is the one that I learned what drugs could do to a person and their family. When people make a joke of drugs and what they use or have used, I explain that my brother didn’t think they would take his life until one tragic day they did. This is the death that has affected who I am today the most because it has taught me to love those in your life and be thankful for everyday you get to spend with them because you never know if it could be your last.
I went from losing one person to drug addiction to losing an on again/off again boyfriend to his addiction to alcohol. After seeing the horror that my family went through with losing my brother, I thought that I could save my ex boyfriend from his alcoholism. It took me nearly 2 years to realize that he had a problem because we all drank alcohol. In the beginning, we had a blast drinking and having fun until I realized he didn’t know how to be sober unless he was at work. There were so many signs that I ignored because I loved this boy (he was not yet a man) and didn’t realize alcohol was his problem in life. As time progressed and he couldn’t live without a drop of alcohol in his house to the point where he would drink cooking sherry just for a buzz then it started to hit me. Add that to the mental, emotional and (at times) physical abuse I endured, I began to see his problem but the rest of this friends and family wouldn’t see the problem until it was to late. I still remember the last thing I said to him was to never talk to me again. Well my wish/nightmare came true because exactly a week later he died driving off the side of cliff on his Sunday alcohol run on his motorcycle. His death taught me not to say things you will later regret because you may never be able to say your sorry.
The last person that died was at the same time as my ex boyfriend but I was never able to meet her… my daughter’s heart stopped beating before she was ever able to be born and meet me. I was 16 weeks pregnant and just found out it was a girl when the Ultrasound tech all of a sudden stopped talking, went to get the doctor, who came back in the room to tell me that her heart had stopped beating a few days before the scan. I had to carry her around inside of me for another 2 weeks, attend my ex boyfriend’s funeral, and wait for my body to miscarry her. My body decided that on the anniversary of my brother’s death that it was time for her to leave my body. I went through a depression like no other after this and it took time and therapy for me to feel like me again. After her death, I never thought that I would have another baby but I am so grateful that I am expecting Baby Evelynne in just 18 weeks or sooner.
In reality, I never became me again because these deaths all changed who I was in different ways. I have learned how to get past some of my fears or recognize when I am escaping back into my fears when getting close to other people. I have tried to use my experiences of loving someone (family and significant other) to teach others that if they love someone with an addiction, they need to want to fix themselves we cannot fix them. On the flip side, I have also tried to scare addicts or “recreational” drug users that they are not invisible and can die from what they are doing whether it is just once or millionth time.
For years, September became a month that I would push everyone away just to deal with myself and my feelings because I didn’t want people to see me be week but as the years have gone on, these deaths have made me more grateful for the life I have to live everyday and to not take the people I love for granted, though I am only human and have my moments. I still mourn in September but this is the month that I try my hardest to find the things that I am grateful for because each and every day is a blessing to cherish. Please hug and love your loved ones today and everyday!