I read a quote once that said “NEVER get too comfortable, you’ll get a rude awakening. In the past week, I can honestly say that truer words have never been spoken. For those of you who have followed my short lived blog so far, and if you’re not, please start, you know that on August 1, 2012, my family and I lost my brother, Pete, to suicide and less than six months later, in January 24, 2013, we lost my niece, Alexandra (Ali), to suicide. That has been a struggle for those of us left behind, as you can imagine. On October 2, 2013, 14 months and 1 day since my brother took his life, and 8 months and 8 days after my niece took her life, my youngest sister, Stephanie, took her life. To say that it shattered mine and my family’s world (again) was a major understatement. We were all still seeing various therapists and were just barely starting the scratch the surface of what had happened to Pete and Ali…But Stephanie?! NO ONE saw this one coming. My middle sister, Vittoria found her and I, better than anyone else in the family understood exactly what she was going through and would be going through, since I had been on a Skype chat with Pete when he took his life. On top of the grief of losing a loved one, she could count on flashbacks, nightmares, and other symptoms of PTSD. As of the time of this writing, we are not any closer to finding out the “Why” as were on that night. We all know, of course, that we will probably never completely understand the “why” other than at the moment that they took their lives, all three of them JUST WANTED THEIR PAIN TO GO AWAY…which is different than wanting their lives to really end. At that final second, they were literally not thinking clearly. Since Stephanie’s death, my oldest sister, Angelina has discovered some unsent emails on Stephanie’s computer, one of which was to me. She asked me if she should send it and I told her that eventually, yes, I wanted to read it, but I would let her know when. Until then, it sits in the “waiting to send” folder. Pete left me a note and I still haven’t read it. My therapist has read it to me, but it was so soon afterward, that I don’t remember what it said. No one else seen it. My therapist keeps it, so no one “accidentally” finds it and reads it.
In the meantime, we all wake up each morning and try to move on as best as we can. After Pete’s suicide, our family was torn apart, (mainly my sister-in-law and I) but slowly we have been working on our relationship and are actually doing pretty good, considering the issues that were between us. We all talk everyday, sometimes more than once a day in addition to school, work, and other activities. My sisters and my sister-in-law and I get together every Saturday for dinner….ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSES. It’s important to us to keep communicating. I’ve become very active in the With Hope, the Amber Craig Memorial Foundation since Pete’s and Ali’s deaths and because this blog originated as a journalism assignment, With Hope’s founder/CEO, Annette Craig, was kind enough to tape what has turned into a PSA for With Hope (she will be putting on the With Hope website soon). After three revisions to get it just right, we are finally happy with it. Please share it anywhere you feel that it will get exposure. Until next time, here is the final product.