It was a normal Tuesday. Work, school.. the usual. We were living with my sister and her husband at the time and were settled in for the evening, relaxing & watching TV in our room. I remember laying in bed with JR when his mom called. Seeing his face & how pale he quickly went, I knew something was wrong. It was chaos from that moment on, but I do remember him jumping up & saying "we have to go! Mu has been shot!"
Mu (a nickname) is JR's cousin. They grew up together & him and I had always gotten along. He was one of the people I was closest to in JR's family. He always accepted me, when others didn't and if it was one thing I knew & remember about him, it is that I never had to worry if I needed something. I knew he would be there. No questions asked. I guess if I had to choose one word for how I felt about him, it would be "safe" .. I always felt safe knowing he was there. He was so much fun to be around. On the outside he looked rough and tough (and he was, don't get me wrong) but the ones he loved got to see a different side of him. His love of children, especially his nieces & nephews. They truly brought joy into his life. His goofy personality. The oddball things he would say that would have you rolling with laughter. I remember our "Game Nights" at my sisters house and playing 'Quelf'. He was such a good sport & SO funny to play with. I will never forget him having to talk like a pirate the entire game (the card he drew required him to) It's those funny moments I miss the most. He was genuine. He was honest. He was a good person with a huge heart. And he was, and is, truly loved.
Some of the moments following that phone call are blurry & some are completely gone, but I do remember running down the stairs after JR and yelling to my sister that Mu had been shot. We all ran outside to the car and for a brief moment I remember all 3 of us hugging and sobbing, not even knowing what we were about to witness or endure.
I believe we got to his aunts house in record time (only about a mile away) and there were cars everywhere. Police cars, cars we recognized of family and friends. Everyone was standing out on the porch and front lawn. I'd say there were about 15 people there at the time. There was an officer standing in the doorway of the front door, blocking it. His aunt (Mu's mom) was on the porch crying, and as we ran up to her, all she could say was "he's gone, he's gone!" I don't remember who told us he had shot himself, and I couldn't tell you at what point I saw my sister on the lawn on her knees sobbing, or my mother in law in shock & screaming. I don't even know where JR is at this point, all I remember is looking at everyone as if it were a movie, in slow motion. I remember one of his cousins showing up and getting out of her car screaming "Where's Mu? WHERE IS MU?.. TIA, WHERE IS MU??!!" .. she had no idea what had happened. More screams, more tears. They continued until the coroner showed up & we all (about 30 of us now) all stood in the lawn and watch them remove his body from the house. Never in my life had I witnessed something like that, in my own family or anyone close to me. After the coroner left, there was a huge sadness & somber in the air and everyone just kind of stood around and cried and hugged each other. It was chilly, so there was talk of moving everyone inside the house. I am not sure who, but someone had asked one of the officers if we were okay to go inside and he said yes and also that we'd have to 'clean up.' I knew what that meant and instantly my mother in law said there was no way her sister was coming inside to see what had been left behind. So a bunch of us all decided we we would go clean the room that Mu took his life in.
The purpose of this blog post is not to horrify you all, but for you to see the true impact of suicide and to somehow raise awareness. It is serious. Depression and signs of suicide are serious. It's also to share how differently everyone deals with it. I am sad. I am truly sad not having Mu in my life anymore. I often think of him and wonder what I could have done to help him. I wished he had reached out to someone in his darkest moments and been shown the light at the end of his very dark tunnel. I also feel happy. Weird, right? Let me tell you why I am happy. I am happy in knowing & wholeheartedly believe HE is truly happy now. It's apparent to me that while he was here, he had some demons and struggled with them. He was happy and loving to us, but I am not so sure he was happy within himself. I am happy in knowing he is free from those demons and from his pain. At times I think of him and almost feel selfish for being so sad and missing him so much, because I know how happy he is up there. When I think of his death, I feel a calm come over me. I know it is his way of letting me know he is okay and with his grandparents, drinking all the Budweiser he wants :) Mu is happy!
What is left after suicide is something much harder than anyone can explain. Family & friends are left with so many unanswered questions, hurt, pain, confusion and so many mixed emotions. Each person deals with it differently and some people take a lot longer than others to mourn. I know my husband still struggles more than I do and it hurts me to see him that way. He has come so far from that day 2 years ago, in his mourning process, but I know the hurt is more than he lets off. If I could take that from him, I would. There are no easy and quick fixes to dealing with this type of loss. It's nothing to hide and I encourage any of you dealing with this type of loss, to please reach out to someone. Talking about it is the one thing that helps the most. If you know someone struggling with depression, anxiety or any of the signs of suicide, please reach out to them. Let them know they are thought of, loved & how much they mean to you and others. Spread love to those who you don't even know. They may be in their darkest moments when you offer them a smile and a "hello" and it might be all they need to get them through.
Mu will always be loved and forever be missed. He was a light in so many people's lives and it makes me sad to know he probably never even knew that. Hug those you love & make it known how much they mean to you. Although I miss him, my heart is happy knowing he is free.