I have a lot of questions that will always remain unanswered.
Was there something I could have done?
Was there something I could have done differently?
Was this preventable?
How did I miss the signs?
Why didn’t he feel that he could talk to me?
Where did we all go wrong?
What happens when you die?
These are the things that haunt me, and they cut like a knife on a daily basis. I’m not sure if that will ever go away. But, generally speaking, when situations arise that offer more questions than answers, it is best to focus on what you do know. That’s really all you can do, anyway.
So what I know is that my brother is mourned by many and in many different ways. There are a lot of grieving souls that have been left behind to sift through the pain and struggle with the loss: parents, grandparents, cousins, second cousins, siblings, friends, friends of friends, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, acquaintances, sponsors, roommates, coworkers… Death has a ripple effect. I don’t know what happens after our final breaths, but I know that we will all be survived by the people we love and the people who love us. I know that we will all leave a legacy.
My brother will be with me forever. His life and the circumstances of his death have changed the way that I think and feel about the world. That is his legacy, or at least the part of his legacy that I have a say in. I am determined to honor him with a legacy that he would be proud of. To let the grief and the pain change me in a way that makes me stronger and kinder. Better. And in turn, one day (hopefully many years from now) I will be survived by loved ones that I leave behind, and they will carry my spirit and essence with them into the world, and they will be changed for the better because I have lived.