Four Months Later

Dear Mark,

Today it's been 4 months since you died. I didn't find out until four months ago tomorrow, of course, but four months ago today is when you killed yourself on the sidewalk, near the field where we always walked the dogs.

Thanksgiving 2008, Boise 

Right now I'm headed to your funeral, which is four months late because everything was so chaotic last March, and we were all so incredibly traumatized, that we cremated you. We all gathered together, sold the house, moved gran to Midvale, and in the process, poor Spike died as well. Now we are gathering again, in the heat of July, to finally lay you both to rest.

I need you to know some things. I miss you every moment of every day, with a ferocity that threatens to topple me. I am so sad, and my heart has a hole in it from your absence that will never heal. You have to have had no idea what you would do to me, to gran, to our family, when you made this decision. I realize you wouldn't have made this choice unless you were in inconceivable pain and torment, but even so -- I am so angry at you. How could you do this to us?! There is NOTHING we couldn't have fixed or dealt with or weathered together.

I have to believe that if you could see the horror that your suicide has brought down upon our family, upon your poor mother -- you wouldn't have done what you did. As it stands, I'm sitting in an airport waiting to board a flight so that we can bury you next to your brother, my dad. My gran has now lost all four of her children to tragedy. I can't accept that this is the way things are. Is this real life? How did you think this was a good idea? This was NOT a good idea, in case you were wondering, and that is one thing I know I will never change my mind about.

As it stands, I don't know how I'm going to live the rest of my life without you. I never planned for this. Four months out, I realize that's not a long time at all, but my grief is rawer than it's ever been.

But I realize that my anger, and my sadness, don't solve anything. Nothing will bring you back. And it's not really fair to be angry at you for killing yourself; I know that. But the anger persists. I know I will work through it, and maybe I'll start working through it after we get "closure" tomorrow.

As if we can really ever get closure??? Will I ever understand??? You left me. You left me.

And while we're here, we really need to talk about Mexico. In February I went on a really incredible vacation to the Caribbean, a trip where it was impossible not to think of you. You are the person I think of when I think of the Caribbean, you and your love of scuba diving and Jimmy Buffett and Caribbean vacations. How could I not think of you? For my entire life I'd been waiting to go to this place that you loved so much, that reminded me of you. You were on my mind for all of those five days. We shared a few really funny, but also poignant, text messages while I was sitting in the middle of El Patio drinking margaritas listening to Jimmy Buffett cover bands. It's something I treasure, but I'll be honest, it's also something that haunts me now. Little did I know that those messages would be the last time I spoke with you. I don't know how to feel about any of this now. My emotions about this trip are all over the place. I wish I had known how you were doing then. I wish I had known.

Why didn't you tell me? Why does our family always do this? How can I break the same habits of being too proud to admit when I'm struggling and ending up dead?

In 2003, you were the one who called me when my dad died. Some days later, you took me to the mall and bought me what I still call my "funeral wear" -- a black skirt and shirt that I've worn to many things, but always to funerals. Last night while I was packing, I remembered all of this, and it hit me just how much I never, ever thought I'd be packing to wear it to your funeral.

I'm about to board my flight now. More than ever, into the unknown.

I miss you. I miss you. I miss you.


  1. Sending you all the hugs, Amber, as you go through this. I also think that by putting out your raw emotion, you are breaking the cycle. We are always here for you. Xoxoxo.

    1. THANK YOU! It went well and I am so glad it's done.

  2. I'm so sorry, Amber. I had no idea. This was a beautiful tribute.


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