This is a personal story from one of our team members. We’re sharing this with you today because this is real. No fiction. No exaggeration.
My sister killed herself five years ago, and it was the heartbreak that I thought would kill me. She didn’t leave a note, no explanation and no warning signs. She just decided to end her life as a better solution rather than asking for help. My family and I were left with more questions than answers, and we became empty shells living with each other.
She was gone, now what?
My days and nights went by endlessly, and I felt nothing except a deep hole mourning the loss of my sister. I was isolating myself from everyone and everything. My parents divorced, and things just snowballed from there. My aunt decided I needed to come and live with her because my parents were continually fighting through the divorce process and I just became more and more depressed.
New home, deeper hole
Being in a new place with my aunt made the hole within me even larger. I didn’t know anyone, nor did I allow myself the chance. My aunt tried so many different ways to get me out and involved and I began to work from home so that I was not alone. I just didn’t care about anything anymore. My sister, my best friend, was gone, and I felt empty.
My aunt had finally had had enough one day, and she put her foot down. She began to make calls to get me in with a psychologist. We both were grieving, but I didn’t know how to deal with my grief.
A stranger helps me
My aunt was forcing me to talk to someone else because I wouldn’t speak to her. I was angry, embarrassed and had no idea what to say or do. The first few sessions I had, I barely said anything. The psychologist was incredibly friendly and patient with me. He suggested I try journaling, but I hated writing. He found out from my Aunt that I loved photography. So he suggested taking pictures of things that reminded me of my sister, or the places we frequented. It was an odd idea, but I decided to give it a try.
A new outlet helped me grieve my loss
I began taking pictures of the sky, plants, my old house, and objects in my room that belonged to my sister. I showed the psychologist the photos at my next appointment. He looked at each one carefully and then asked me to describe the meaning behind it. It was hard to speak at first, but after a few sessions, I was able to talk about each picture without crying hysterically.
Death will always be a loss
With my counselor, I found a passion for photography that allowed me to honor and grieve for my sister. I was able to talk about her, and I began to heal from the gaping wound that her suicide had left behind. Thanks to my aunt and my psychologist, I was able to recover as well as learn to accept the loss and live.