My mom hung up the phone on that July afternoon. Fear flooded her face as she told me something had happened to her brother. The police, who had called my mom, just mentioned his name, and told her to come to my grandma’s immediately. The thirty-minute drive to my grandma’s house was silent. Thoughts and assumptions swarmed through our heads although neither of us knew for sure what had happened. Five years previously, he had been diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia, nick-named “the suicide disease.” This affliction caused migraines, nerve damage in the brain, and leads many people to commit suicide due to severe pain. So despite all the options, I already knew what happened, I just didn’t want to expect it.
When we arrived, we found my grandma sobbing hysterically. It was true, my uncle had committed suicide. I couldn’t grasp that he would be gone forever. Even at the funeral, when I stood in front of fifty people, and spoke of my memories, I still didn’t believe he was gone. It wasn’t until about a month later that I realized I would never see or talk to my only uncle again. My mom and I spent that night talking, crying, and questioning what had happened. Questions still race through my head at the most random and inconvenient times. How could he do this to our family knowing how much pain it would cause? What was the real reason he no longer wanted to live?
For the last two years, my entire family has grieved in their own ways, and blamed each other for my uncle’s death. My aunt blamed herself, as she was the one he loved and married fourteen years earlier. My grandma was consumed with guilt so much that she would project it by blaming others. Even I am tempted to blame myself, “Maybe if I would have talked to him more and kept a better relationship, things wouldn’t be this way. If I would have hugged him at my softball game a week before, maybe it wouldn’t have ended like this.”
The wake of devastation is still vividly apparent two years later. Arguments between family members are all I notice now. Each one of us wants an explanation that we will never get, and it’s not fair. But I’ve finally come to my own conclusion; he’s not only responsible for his mistake, but also for the hurt he’s caused to our family. He took his own life, and as much as I want to forgive him for tearing us apart, I’m unable to. My family has weakened in a way that is irreparable, and no family deserves to feel the pain that we do.
In response to what that has been the most traumatic and selfish events in my life, I’ve learned that life should be the exact opposite. Life should be given, not taken. I notice how selfish people can be by lying and cheating, but I also notice how selfless people are as they pay for the person behind them in the drive-thru. I’ve matured from this and learned that my life must be selfless. I need to notice others more and use my strengths to help them. I know now that one life is connected to several others, whether it be friends or family. I believe that the purest most satisfying life involves living for yourself as well as living for others.
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