I really got into preparing for Christmas this year. We hosted the family party on Christmas Day and I did a number of creative projects to decorate. I was in a very happy place. My son James was home; life was good. Then little things just hurt — out of nowhere. James’ neck suddenly looked like Malcolm’s and made me choke up with sudden tears. I thought I heard Malcolm more than once. Then today the After- Christmas Blues hit and I have cried on and off all day.
One thing that has been especially difficult for me this Christmas is watching James in pain…it is so tough on him coming home. My husband and I have lived with Malcolm’s absence day in and day out for nearly three years. Seeing his empty chair at supper, looking at his closed door and knowing he is not on the other side any more. But because of college James lived without Malcolm for five years before he died, and so being away from him was normal, but he always had the expectation of seeing him at the holidays and on special occasions like weddings. Now, whenever James comes home, he re-experiences the loss of his only brother as it it were nearly new and so in a more intense way. The sadness of the months since the last visit become distilled into a sudden and intense experience of loss all over again. I think it is harder than the daily loss we have lived with facing Malcolm’s obvious absence every day. Of course, I don’t know if this is true for James, I am just surmising, but I think it may be.
For all the siblings of suicides, my heart goes out to you. Be kind to yourself, talk to friends or family, you don’t have to keep your feelings locked up. You aren’t protecting your parents, they are worrying about you anyway. So talk to them.