Author’s photo — Bubba (Jason) holding me.
Today marks the 17th month without my brother.
Every month, I tell myself I’m not going to allow this day to knock me down.
“You decide how you process things, Melissa!”
“You’re stronger than you think!”
“Bubba wouldn’t want you to still be hurting this badly.”
All of those things are true, but there are some things that aren’t fully in our control, and depression is one of them.
Grief is unpredictable and horrid, as all of you know. Suicide grief is a special kind of torture. It is nothing like mourning the loss of a “natural” death. It has an extra layer of horror on top of the ones that come with a “normal” loss.
It’s easy to get lost in.
I am putting the work in. I want to feel better. I hate the exhaustion that comes with these episodes. The lack of motivation to do anything. My whole body feeling heavy, like moving is too much effort.
And I hate the thoughts that prefer to circle in my mind — self-blame, torturing myself imagining how he must have felt, anger at the people who actively encouraged him to question and hate himself until he made a choice he can’t take back.
But . . . none of those things are at all helpful.
As you can imagine, they make me feel worse.
So, today, I am going to tell you a wee story about my bubba. Share another piece of him with you that has nothing to do with the fact that he died by suicide. He was so much more than that.
I was going to tell you about my last visit with him, on July 18th, 2021, but my heart still hurts too much, and I can’t go down that rabbit hole, no matter how much sharing the things he did that day would reveal about him— the love he always had in his heart.
Enough . . . don’t wanna cry 84 more buckets.
So, I am going to tell you about my brother and his MicroMachines.
Did any of you guys play with those growing up?
I loved them so much it was almost disgusting.
I didn’t own any, and I’m not sure why. I am assuming it was because I was a girl. My parents never actively said they were only for boys that I remember, but I ended up with Barbies (which I did also love playing with) and had none of the groovy cars I thought were the best thing since fresh milk.
I was a Tomboy when I was little — still am in a lot of ways. Women don’t make much sense to me, with all their doodads and primping and clothes and such. 😉
I do wear makeup once a year or so, but I don’t like it. Ha.
I only wear a dress when I am going to worship services. I wouldn’t own one if I didn’t feel the need to choose them for the times I dedicate to God.
As a kid, I honestly wanted to be a boy and thought Jason had it so much better than I did, seeing as he got to be one. I wanted to play with cars and Muscles (remember those? — he played with them a lot too) and the clothes that were comfortable, because girls’ jeans were the devil back then.
When we lived in California, there was a lot of dirt but not much grass (as far as I remember, but we also left before I was eight years old, so don’t hold me to that), and Jason would use that loose dirt to create villages with epic roads that went for what seemed like miles to me.
I would sit and watch him make his roads like a creepy stalker, delighting in how talented he was (how did he make such lovely creations!?) as he labored over his art.
I doubt he appreciated his audience, and I am sure he at times lost patience with having to look at me, but I can’t remember him ever telling me to go away.
In fact, once the village was complete (I sucked at that stuff and would inevitably mess it up if I touched it, so I politely kept my distance during construction), he would say something along the lines of, “*Sigh* Do you want to play? You can pick X amount of cars, but not this one.”
The amount he allowed me changed depending on the day, but the delight I felt at being included was always the same.
He was the coolest person I knew, and there was nothing better than being allowed to step into his space.
After a while, he wised up to the fact that his significantly younger little sister (he is five years older than me) could do a lot of damage rather quickly and started building me my own tiny version of his town.
At the time, I had no idea he was tired of me smashing his stuff. I just thought he knew how much I liked it, and he wanted me to have my own. He never said a word about me causing a problem by playing with him.
He just built me my own roads and let me demolish them as I played by his side.
He was the best big brother.
I thought he hung the moon.
I’m still pretty sure he might have. 🙂
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Photo courtesy of author.
A beautiful story Melissa. Thank you for sharing it with us!