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“ 2019年5月15日是像其他任何人一样最初的一天。I woke up, got ready for work, sent our family group text a gif of Snoopy writing a note filled with hearts that read ‘have a nice day.’ What I didn’t know was that my youngest brother Jacob would never read this message, or the messages of love from different family members that followed, because he was already dead.

siblings on a couch together
Courtesy of Gretchen N. Evans

将此初始文本发送给我的家人几个小时后,我们都收到了杰克没有出现在上班或上课的消息。这与我们认识杰克的负责任,有爱心的人不同。他的室友在前一天晚上没有见过他,经过几个小时的疯狂文字和电话,我们发现杰克死了自杀,,,,exactly 10 days before his 24th birthday.

siblings on couch
Courtesy of Gretchen N. Evans
family in front of Christmas tree
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The weeks that followed were excruciating to say the least. The death of my brother by suicide had caught everyone off guard, from his coworkers and roommates, to close friends and family. Jake was well liked by everyone who met him. With a bright, welcoming smile, and fun-loving personality he brought a lightness and humor with him into every situation. Voted homecoming king his senior year of high school, he was the type of person that was loved not simply because he was good-looking and cool, but because he was kind and made everyone around him feel included and important.

family portrait- all in white
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He loved to make people laugh, and naturally brought fun and humor into any situation. As a small child he had a huge, round head, and shirts would often get stuck around it when he would take them off. He would act like the hanging fabric was hair, and would swing the shirt around his shoulders, tossing his hair, and acting like a girl. It was hilarious.

school day portrait
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我们是一个紧密的家庭。有四个孩子 - 两个女孩和两个男孩。我们的父母分开了两年,并由我们的父母充满爱与关怀,他们帮助促进了一个鼓励我们建立亲密的友谊和纽带的环境。现在我们已经20多岁了,住在该国的不同地区,我们继续互相交谈,无论是一个人还是一个小组。雅各布的前三天deathwe had Facetimed as a family, laughing and catching up on how everyone’s week was going.

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young man sitting outside
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我们都努力后这十se grief, loving each other through each hard moment – I found solace in speaking with my older sister Alanna. She also knew what it was to be the older sister of Jake. As close friends, we could speak to each other without judgement, and felt a special understanding as we were experiencing the same type of loss: two older sisters grieving the loss by自杀of their youngest brother.

siblings in greenhouse
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sibling photo
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I told her of the struggles I was experiencing with thoughts of suicide, and my lack of interest in life. I felt a desire to isolate myself from the world around me; a feeling that was at odds with my normally extroverted and talkative personality.

On the other hand, my sister who was naturally more introverted and private, shared her strong desire to speak openly about her grief and loss. She was the only one in our family to post publicly about it, writing an Instagram post about how Jake had died by suicide, how she loved and missed him, and also knew his soul to now be at peace.

Alanna told me about how in spite of the pain and grief she was feeling, and the terror in knowing how suddenly life can change she still felt a desire to see her 18-month-old twin daughters, June and Ruby grow. She wanted to see who they would become, and to love and nurture them alongside her husband as they dealt with the challenges and joys of life

family photo on bridge
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Then, exactly 2 months after Jacob’s passing, my sister and two beautiful nieces were killed in a车祸. The aftermath of these terrible tragedies continues to be more awful and heavy than I can describe. After each of these terrible tragedies I expected to be surrounded in love and support from friends, and loved ones. I was shocked to instead find that the most common reactions I was met with were silence or comments that attempted to explain away or minimize what had happened.

family, holding baby
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young man holding child on shoulders
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I discovered that the more I tried to make people around me understand that I could not simply wish away my pain, the more they tried to ‘fix me.’ In the beginning, I spoke freely about my horror over the violent and painful ways my loved ones had died. I recounted how I missed them, and felt lonely for them every moment of the day. The world felt strange and disorienting after experiencing so much tragedy, and I felt immense terror as I looked towards a future that held the absence of so many people I had counted on being close with for the entirety of my life.

Courtesy of Gretchen N. Evans



brother and sister photo
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With this experience came somewhat of an understanding as to why it may have been difficult for Jake to be honest with those around him about the level of pain he was in. There may have been fear that he was a problem, that there was something wrong with him for experiencing the depression it is likely he had. He may have also felt like he needed to be fixed, instead of just being a person deserving of respect, love, and help.

siblings embracing
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It has now been 2 years since Jake died, and in a few weeks, it will have been 2 years since Alanna, June, and Ruby died. Thankfully in the months since I have found therapists, yoga exercises, and other practices that has helped me view myself and my grief with love and compassion. I know that I am not an issue to be solved, but simply someone who has experienced tremendous loss and as a result, I am often in incredible pain. With this knowledge, I have started to understand that it is not only my feelings of gratitude, love, and bravery that deserve a voice, but also my feelings of grief, anger, and fear.

family photo outside in nature
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Speaking openly and honestly about the darkness I have experienced has helped me connect more with my loved ones as well everyone who experiences pain. This new ability and desire to accept myself for all that I am and strive to help others do the same has helped me find ways to honor my loved ones who have died, as well as my loved ones who are still living who I wish to support, and fight for as well.

family portrait inside
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通过像我姐姐一样公开讲话,谈论我兄弟的自杀以及在悲伤和心理健康挑战中生活的现实,我希望鼓励像杰克这样的其他人理解他们的挣扎并不是要保密,或者隐藏了离开,或者他们定义的东西 - 而是可以通过支持和喜欢的东西。

family photo
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I also hope that those who may be seeking help and love in the midst of their struggles with their mental health, as I was, but continually feel rejected or judged know that there is nothing wrong or shameful with what they are experiencing. Nor is their need to be loved as they are unreasonable or too demanding. I encourage those who are hurting, and bravely continuing to keep fighting, to find those places and people where you feel safe, accepted, and supported in your quest for healing and love.

family portrait
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We are all worthy of love and help, and of knowing that we are not defined by our imperfections or hurts. We are all merely humans trying to cope with life as best we can, and the best chance we have for living a fulfilling life full of connection is by loving ourselves and others in our hurt and pain, rather than in spite of it. We are all more similar than we can imagine, and none of us, not a single one, is alone in the struggles we experience.

So please, keep trying, keep coping, and keep loving. You matter.”

family portrait outside
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这个故事提交给beplay网络一直不畅by Gretchen N. Evans of Tucson, Arizona. You can follow her journey onInstagram.Submit your own storyhere,,,,and be sure tosubscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, andYouTubefor our best videos.

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