Today I'm re-sharing a blog post I wrote exactly two years ago. Then, it was 15 years since my brother died, now it's 17. That's a LONG time. And in so many ways, the past is so far past, you'd think it would all be behind you. Not actually the case. I was driving home from work today, and this analogy of grief came to me:
Grief is basically an open wound on your body, it really never heals. Over the first few years you get some really light, spaced out stitches that just manage to hold it together. Then, year over year as life gets busier, you wrap a layer of gauze around the wound and go about your business. Again, life gets EVEN busier, and all of a sudden you don't see the wound anymore.
Then, a certain day comes around, a certain image is seen, or a name is spoken that you haven't heard in a long time. In a blink, the gauze is gone, those stitches are thread bare, and that wound is still there.
That is what today is.
In honor of my brother Cory, I'm sharing a few things I think he would be proud of, and maybe like to know about his little sister and her family.
1. I made it to 40 with only one gray hair.. yep, that's number one.
2. I have 3 amazing kids who would have loved you desperately.
3. I've managed to create two successful businesses.. who would have thought the art girl would have gone this far.
4. I'm fitter, stronger and a little more bad ass than you would have remembered me, thanks to krav maga. You would have loved it, and Matt is now training too. You guys would have made great partners. Oh and the kids love to play frisbee, and I always think of you.
5. Our family weathered the storm. Mom and Dad are still together, a huge feat after suicide. They are amazing grandparents, and they miss you desperately.
6. I still can't go to your grave without crying. Not sure if that will ever happen.
7. Even though you were sort of a jerk to me, I miss you. I can almost remember your voice.
8. I will never forget you, the wound will never actually heal. But that's OK. It's a part of me.
Today marks the 15th anniversary of my brothers death. He died by suicide, hanging himself in his small apartment in New Jersey, June 18, 2004. He was 25 and I was 23. He was my only sibling. He ended his life and in doing so, shattered our families' lives. It's impossible to put into words the pain we felt, and still feel to this day.
Who I am today has a direct correlation to what happened 15 years ago. I've still not recovered from his death, nor will I ever completely be recovered. Amidst the pain and anguish his choice caused, he also offered me a perspective and a true appreciation for life that I never would have had otherwise. It's both a blessing and a curse. I take each day as a true gift because I KNOW it's not guaranteed. I hug and kiss my children praying each day they never know the suffering I've endured—praying I will never lose one of them. It's a thought that haunts me. I survive and work through anxiety, trying to control my surroundings, protecting everyone any everything I hold dear. The fear of that pain is the driver in me.
How the heck does this relate to stationery? Great question. My partner Nicole and I have always had similar outlooks on life. She and I worked together in the design and printing industries when my brother died. She also lost a brother in a sudden and tragic way when she was young. We both have in us a deep desire to change this world, bring positivity and help to those who need it. We started this company to make a difference. With the messages on our cards and products, and through awareness. We are still working on the HOW— what's the best way to take our message and partner with organizations that are in place to help those suffering. Those who have experienced suicide personally, or are considering suicide.
The why has been in our hearts, and 2021 Co. is our vessel to the how. Today, on this 15th anniversary I felt compelled to share more than I really ever have on the true reasons 2021 Co. was created. We are passionate about design and beautiful things, but we want to do it with purpose.
For anyone who has experienced suicide, or a trauma in their lives, please know you are not alone. And if you are in crisis please reach out to someone, I wish from the bottom of my heart my brother had.
Below is the link to the national suicide prevention hotline: