For most people, June is the month that kicks off summer. That might look like some beach time, a family vacation, or even summer Fridays if you’re lucky. But for me, it’s the month that my brother Jordan died, and that is just all-encompassing. June, oh June. Why do you always come around so quickly?
I’m coming up on my 7th June without my brother, and you’d think it would get easier, but nope, it still hits like a bag of bricks. So, in my world, June always gets some extra self care lovin’. Whether that’s some good ol’ couch and TV time (GOT is my current binge), Crossfit, meetings with my Dinner Party table (https://www.thedinnerparty.org/), or dancing like nobody’s watching (you should see my moves, they’re pretty awesome), I make time for me. But more importantly, I put extra emphasis on making time for Jordan.
I wish I could say that my brother’s death was clean and easy and we all sat around holding hands during his final breath, but alas it was not. It was hard, and complicated, so complicated. And messy. And still to this day there are so many unanswered questions. Suicide is a really hard topic that is too often met with whispers or judgement. That’s why, for 3 years in a row, I have participated in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Overnight Walk (https://www.theovernight.org/).
The Overnight Walk is a 16 mile walk through the night with a community of people who make you feel safe and cared-for, because they know all too well the complicated grief that comes with suicide.
As we walked, we watched as the sun set over the Golden Gate Bridge, and I found myself imagining everything that could have been. I then started laughing because I could only think about how much my brother would have made fun of me for being so solemn in that moment. I could hear his voice in my head, “Jeez, Jesse, at least play some music, you’re gonna be here for a while!” So as I turned up the tunes on my phone, struck up conversations with other participants, and shared stories about my brother, I finished those 16 miles with him at my metaphorical side.
Everything about grief can feel so crushing, like someone sitting on your chest, but there have been so many resources, events, and communities who have made it all a little more bearable. Will it get easier? Maybe. Will it always feel like this? Probably. Who knows what the future holds, but for now, you can find me icing my calves, finishing my last couple of Game of Thrones episodes and spending an extra few moments every day thinking about the brother I lost, and the person I’ve become because of it.