Letting it all out

Written Jan. 3, 2012

My brother died five years ago. It was November 9 2007, he was 14 years old, I was 19. It was a Friday afternoon, I was wearing greenish jeans, a knitted blue old navy sweater, my father had a red and orange plaid shirt, the towel they used to cover him was a mossy green, the moon was tiny and it seemed as if the night sky was smiling. I remember the car ride after we got the call, almost crashing a few times trying to run through Buenos Aires Friday rush hour traffic, I remember yelling at the paramedic woman to do something, I remember seeing my uncle and my cousin crying in the room, I remember sitting in my moms room hours later with her while they took the body down the stairs and having some weird laugh because a few weeks earlier we had carried up a library with my brother and joked about how carrying a dead body would be easier. I remember hearing my fathers friend telling me “you have to be strong, you have to be strong” when I sat behind the mini cooper holding my head in my hands and asking the world “why”. I remember the wounds I made in the palms of my hand, scratching myself until I had open wounds and kept picking on them, as if somehow that physical pain would make my pain go away.  
That night will never go away. The image of him lying there will be with me forever. Seeing my dad carry his coffin is something that broke my heart the deepest possible way. I learned what it was like to not be able to hold myself up from the grief, feeling like my knees were made of jell-o and literally gasping for air because I couldn’t breathe while crying.
Time gained a new meaning, everything was full of memories, riding a bike reminded me of him because we went riding the day before and he was teaching me how to jump (and I clearly fell and hurt my ankle horribly), driving a car hurt because I wasn’t able to teach him how to drive, playing tennis, eating French toast, Sunday mornings, nothing would ever be the same.
Christmas and New Years gained a new meaning, it wasn’t the amazing fun time anymore, there were tears shed every year and I think there always will be because those dates are a reminder of our uncompleteness.
 During five years I kept living, I went to university, I made friends, I had a life…but I still cried at nights, woke up with horrible nightmares, didn’t feel like myself, felt like there was something dragging me down – myself.
I’m not saying everything is perfect now and I don’t miss my brother. I will ALWAYS miss him and I have constant reminders of a whole life I had imagined that will never happen. I know I will never have nieces or nephews, that in my wedding day I won’t get to dance with him, that I’ll never meet his girlfriends, that I’ll never be able to travel with him.
During my time in South Africa I missed him so much. I imagined how this could have been OUR trip, how we could have had such a great time, met people, created memories, partied together!…but it was just that, imagination.
Instead, I was able to go back. To go back to me, the me that lived with him, the me that knew what she wanted out of life, that was strong, stubborn, confident. I don’t know what or how it happened but I feel I was able to come out of my grief during my trip, to really let go and go back to living my life and not letting that one horrible event define me or the choices I make. Yes, it will forever be with me and it has affected me deeply but it does not define me anymore, I wont let it.
Being in a new place, being forced to meet people, to do things, to get out of my head and simply enjoy was amazing. It feels as if I’m living in spring after a five year winter. I know that this wasn’t a magical thing that happened in three months, that it would have been impossible if it weren’t for what I lived in the past five years. I wouldn’t have able to make the decision to go, to grow, if it weren’t for the support and love I received during my “winter” time, if it wasn’t for my experiences during those years I would have never gotten to this point and now I can look back and be grateful for everything – the great, the good, the bad, everything I lived during the past five years got me to the point I am today and I am grateful for it. It’s not that the past five years were dark or bad, I enjoyed them, I traveled, I loved, I lived, but I was holding myself back…I was getting in my way. 
Now, this year, this spring, its time to keep growing and to finally feel I can stand on my own two feet, that my knees are no longer made out of jell-o but wide and strong and able to mark my path in life, living, loving, enjoying. 
I admit, saying goodbye to the life I knew is harder than it seems, it hurts, I cry, I think about all the great moments I lived but missing something isn’t the right reason to go back to it. I feel like I need to get out of my comfort zone and really reach out to try new things and go after all the possibilities that interest me. I need to tell myself It’ll be good and that I can do this…I need to stay strong. 


One comment on “Letting it all out
  1. Anonymous says:

    UUUffff….que cierto y que fuerte, que duro y que sensible, poder poner en palabras tan duros momentos y sentir la primavera llegar es un regalo par mi alma. Adelante guerrera, el mundo te espera… mama

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