September is national suicide awareness/prevention month. Yesterday was the 12 year anniversary of losing my brother, Patrick, to suicide (see the cutie on the far left, that’s him!)

Thank you to my friends, family, and those who loved Patrick for keeping the joy of his memory alive, sharing pictures, and stories.

I used to shut down every year in August, leading up to this day. My grief would overtake me and I had to find ways to distract myself. Some years this day passes easily, some years, like this one, are very difficult.

I haven’t let my grief stop me or hold me back from my dreams. His life has actually supported me in pressing forward, reaching more people with love and light, and being present with my family.

When Ava was 3, she knew that Patrick was very sick and that is why he passed. She told me I should have made him my chicken soup because that would have helped him feel better! That is a sweet memory for me.

I have sad and troubling memories of Patrick and I have joyful ones as well. I loved to watch him skateboard and took it upon myself to be his photographer. He would always cause too much trouble in the van when he sat next to someone so he always got a whole row to himself or the front seat. He always hand made my birthday cards, even when I turned 21.

Sitting with grief is scary, painful, and totally avoidable if you try hard enough. But that doesn’t honor you or the ones you have lost. I was 37 weeks pregnant with Ava, she was born just a few weeks after his funeral. I didn’t have the time or space to process anything, and I returned to chiropractic classes three months after she was born to graduate. I never allowed my self the time, energy, or feelings.

So I sat in bed yesterday, worked some, cried some, had some snuggles, ate crappy comfort food, laughed at stupid shows with the kids, and enjoyed seeing everyone’s old pictures of him.

Keep the good memories alive in your heart and life, lean on friends for support, and ask for help when anything is too much.

Want to support #suicide prevention? Help a crisis center. The counselors at local crisis centers across the country answer all of @800273TALK’s calls and are the heroes of the Lifeline. Find out how you can help your local center today. #BeThe1To

#suicideprevention #grief #healing