Thursday, September 27, 2012

Growth Happens

When my brother, Matt, committed suicide almost three years ago it felt like my whole world turned upside down. It was unbelievable. It felt unreal. A cruel, cruel joke. Matt was not someone who you would peg as depressed or insecure. He was loud, vibrant and everyone loved him. He, as we all do, had his troubles in life. He never seemed to hold down a job, relationship or even a car. He was constantly moving, never quite still. He was a great brother, son, friend, and more.

I was just getting out of Chem lab and walking to come home. My oldest brother, Kurt, and his family were here for a visit. I called my mom, said I was going to come meet them for lunch since they were leaving that day to go home. All my mom said was, "Tracie, come home." I couldn't understand it, asked why, what was wrong, and it just came out. Matt was gone. I stopped in my tracks. Disbelief and then tears poured out. I was standing in the middle of my campus with tears running down my face. Uncaring of what people thought I kept going to catch the shuttle. I waited at the stop crying. I wouldn't know it until later, but God showed himself then. A guy came over to me and said, "I don't know why you're crying but I think you should know that God loves you." It was beautiful and I couldn't even respond to him then. Later, I wished I would see him again so that I could thank him.

I was sobbing by the time I made it to my car and drove home. I called Brian, then my fiancé, and told him that the one brother of mine that he had met, was gone. He, like I, was speechless. I didn't speak to him for very long, just to tell him. When I got home, my family was a mess. We were destroyed by the absence of a life.

My dad wanted to go to a Catholic church that day since that's what  he was raised as. Sadly, the church was locked. I kept thinking that it wasn't supposed to be that way. God would want us there.

So we went home. We had a couple of precious hours together before taking my brother and his family to the airport. That was one of the hardest goodbyes we've had with them. After finding out you've lost one person, you want to bring everyone close and hold on to them and never let go.

Almost three years later, the hurt is still there. I cry every time I try talking about him. I will always miss my brother. We all will. There is always something not quite right. Something is missing.

Losing Matt was a harsh lesson we learned. I wish we had learned it without losing him. Even though he didn't tell us that he needed us, he did need us. You don't know how things are affecting someone you love. He was bright and beautiful on the outside, but on the inside he felt bad enough that he couldn't handle life anymore. We learned that it doesn't matter if someone needs you then or not, give your time anyways. Tell them you love them, hug them, spend time with them, just be with the ones you love. Through a phone call, e-mail, face-to-face, it doesn't matter. Spend the time your given together, don't let past grudges or hurts stand in the way.

Matt is the reason why I can never stay mad, why I don't let differences stop me. He is the reason why my family is even more close now. He is the reason that I don't hold back. He is the reason why I love he way I do. Fully, completely, without hesitation. Losing someone is not worth holding back. Trying to save yourself from the hurt of heartbreak is meaningless when you are devastated when they leave this earth.

Even though Matt isn't here with us, he is in our hearts. I carried him with me on my wedding day. My brother, Sean, brought this bracelet with him and surprised me during our rehearsal dinner. It was perfect. I had all of my brothers with me.

Even if you think you have plenty of time to make up with someone, heal broken relationships, you really don't know. Don't put it off until tomorrow. Do it now. Tomorrow may not be there. Matt is the reason why I won't ever give up on my biological father and his side of the family. I may not have a good relationship with any of them, but I never give up. I invited them to my wedding, even to a wedding shower we had where they lived. Even though only my Grandma and Aunt cared enough to come, I won't ever say I've given up.

God takes people from our lives, not because of anything we did, but because we need different relationships during different parts of our lives. While I did have my period of questioning why God took my brother, I can see it now. God gives us the people we need, even when it hurts us. And He takes them away, even when it hurts us. From those hurts, growth happens. We grow together, we grow up, we grow spiritually.

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