He was first, the eldest of the two and as he began to walk back to his place under that tree, the younger one reached his hand back to him. The youngest reached back not only in fear, but in love. He needed his brother’s hand in his as a reminder that he was not alone and that the bond they shared was stronger than any enemy they would face. The eldest stopped in his tracks, retracing his steps forward and took his brothers hand and squeezed as if he was whispering some words of encouragement into his younger brothers’ ear. I stood there and watched something more profound than I ever imagined possible taking place.
The fear was gone. It was replaced with love and that alone was enough for the younger one to face his fear of the suffering, and it was in that gesture alone I could no longer hold back my tears. They began to flow freely, there was no stopping them now and my feet began to dance with a fierceness I had never encountered before. I was no longer crying or dancing for the loss I had endured, I was no longer shedding tears for the grief and pain my heart felt every time I remembered her smile. I now cried for them, for my children, for my daughter.
My children would never have that again, my daughter would never have both her sisters there to support and give her the strength only a sisterly bond would be able to provide. Her brothers would always be there and so would the second eldest of her sisters, but the glue that held them all together and took care of each of them was missing. It had been a long year, and I had seen how the loss of someone so close had affected both my children, especially my daughter. I had seen how the emotional pain manifested into physical illness and how my young child had no clue how to deal with all the emotions she had to face with each new day. The life vanishing from her eyes that used to shine so bright. There was no laughter or smiles in her any longer. There was just grief and frustration. The day their sister took her life was the day she no longer knew how to pretend to deal with the loss of her uncle and her cousin just months before. It was the breaking point for my 8 yr. old daughter, and it was in this moment of watching the brothers support one another I finally felt all her pain.
The wave hit me again and again, the emotions were raw. I was witnessing with my own eyes the very thing we as human beings struggle for on a daily basis, a connection with another that runs deeper than just mere words. There were no words spoken between the brothers there was just emotion and in that emotion was a purity I had never witnessed. With each beat of the drum my tears flowed, the heat no longer a challenge and the suffering my physical being was so piercingly conscious of was no longer there, all I could feel was her pain. I promised myself in that moment not a day would go by that she would ever question my love for her, not a day would pass that she would ever have to wonder about her place in this life, she would always be able to feel my support whether near or far. As I looked out into the crowd of supporters dancing along with us I prayed with each moment, with each step, with each tear that the children would also know their worth and that the epidemic of suicide would no longer hit so close to home. The harder I cried the stronger my steps in dance became and when I finally looked up all I could see was their faces, their movements, their feet dancing in time with mine. My children dancing to face their own enemies they had each encountered much too soon in their young lives.
It was in that moment I knew there was hope; suicide would not be victorious over us any longer, our children had found a way of life that gave each and every one of us hope.
Holding Hands – Wikimedia Commons
Trees In The Fog Feature Image – Wikimedia Commons
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