Today I say goodbye to my beloved cousin, Sean. For those of you who don’t know, Sean took his own life on March 18, 2012 to which I blogged about it here https://sexyonthedarkside.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/the-right-choice/.
Over the last week, I’ve watched my family struggle to come to terms with Sean’s death, myself included. I have spoken about Sean in therapy last week, and while it did help to know I wasn’t alone in my grief, I struggle with my own mental illness, which is the same as Sean’s. I, like so many who knew him (I don’t know if I will ever get used to saying Sean’s presence in the past tense), continue to feel a hole in our hearts, and struggle to keep moving forward as life so often does keep doing; it reminds me of a train ride, that stops at its destination, but only for a short time before moving on to its next.
I had a conversation with my Uncle very recently. We talked about what my grandfather felt when he had to bury my father. Uncle said that granddad told him that he had a hole in his heart, to which I quietly agreed. No one “should” ever have to bury one of their own children but so often it happens. Whether it be from cancer (as was my father’s death), or mental illness. The emotions don’t know any difference.
Today I am going to share a piece of what it is like to live with mental illness at Sean’s service. Not to take away our celebration of Sean’s life, but to hopefully make a difference to maybe just one person, who may be wondering if they are alone, if this is what Sean felt like and if there is any light at the end of the tunnel.
My fight to live and be in the present is a roller coaster ride some days. But as I write this blog post today, I can share that I am under the care of a qualified mental health team and am in weekly sessions at the moment. My recovery will always be ongoing and my hope is that the medical community will do more to make all mental health illness heard loudly.
Sean didn’t have to die, but he chose to. The pain and anguish he felt in his soul took him far too soon. Was he one of the forgotten? Was he one of the ones ‘Not heard”? I don’t know for sure, I just know my cousin suffered for years of the cycle of what is bipolar.
Even though I could tell by following his status comments on Facebook, and even though we corresponded regularly, as he did with many people I suspect. The demon known as bipolar captured his soul and took him from us. I could tell when he was feeling anxious, depressed as well as elated and hopeful.
My cousin will be remembered today for many moments in his life, but I will remember him for his spirit, tenacity and love he carried with him every day of his life. I choose to remember a young man who had a wish that happiness, friendship and kindness reached every person he came in contact with. His love of reptiles and all creatures big and small with his smile and beautiful blue eyes, reminiscent of his father and grandfather. His laugh infectious, his smile so bright, his gift of music shared and appreciated by so many. Even if you didn’t like the style of music he performed, you couldn’t help but notice Sean’s vibrant personality.
Today we say goodbye, and even as I write this blog, I am hesitant in typing these last few words, difficult to admit his physical life is no longer, but his spirit will always be near.
I love you now and always Sean.