I’m hoping that by sharing my perspective that some inspiration or some clarification will result. Whatever you might find, I hope within this post you will understand our family’s pain and sadness without her.
My middle sister Carrie Lyn lost her battle with this thing we call life 1 year ago today Feb 20th by taking her own life from one fatal gunshot to her heart. This may seem like too much information, but I feel it is important to fully understand.
I am the youngest of 5 girls, Carrie and I were the closest of all my sisters. She was the one I grew up with longest. She was the big sister who was intent on experiencing everything she could in as short of an amount of time as possible. She forged the way for an easy life for me, which older siblings are supposed to do, right? She was the person I looked up to my whole life and my rock for a good majority of my life. She was the one that I could always go to for advice and she always had the perfect answer. She fulfilled that role for many people. She was always the best listener and offered insightful, wise advice. I went to her for pretty much everything including cooking, cleaning, sewing, help with everyday stuff, crafty/creative things, babysitting, CPR lessons, advice or really anything. She was my “person” and she was my big sister. Then something changed after she got divorced the first time. Something in her mind changed and our relationship as sisters changed. She became my “crazy” sister and her outlook on life changed. We would fight or be irritated with each other more often than not. I couldn’t stand her when she was drinking. She craved attention and told people way too much information and “tried” to overdose for attention multiple times. Our family admitted her to a mental hospital after what I think was about the 5th time, but she was really good at telling people what they wanted to hear and got out sooner than expected. She almost lost her life when a hysterectomy resulted in an accidental cut and she had to have a ileostomy bag for several months. It felt as though this event changed her perspective on life. She finally wanted to be on this planet and be the best mom she could to her son and daughter and things were looking up. I was getting my sister, my rock back. Things were different as far as our family knew. She finally wanted to be alive.
Carrie moved many times, jumped from job to job, and had several bad relationships. We all thought for a very long time she was Bipolar, but she was never diagnosed as far as we knew. Then she reported she had Lupus and then she was diagnosed with MS. We considered her a hypochondriac because she was always sick, or else her kids were sick. She wasn’t always compliant with her prescription medicines either. But she was a fighter and survivor and for all the experiences in life, she kept pushing forward. She spoke from her heart and wrote from her soul. She lived a lifetime in a relative short amount of time.
Our relationship was not the best over the last few years, which is really sad to me because I felt it was all my fault. I let my judgmental and insensitive opinions overpower my feelings of compassion. My sister on numerous occasions called me heartless because I told her exactly how I felt and I didn’t sugar coat things. My sister was very compassionate and she was always concerned about how people felt. We butted heads a lot because of my blunt responses to her behavior. But she was still my sister and that was just the relationship we had. She was always supposed to be there and she was always supposed to be my “crazy” sister. This life wasn’t meant for her to not be in it and I took so many things for granted which I can never take back or to tell her I’m sorry. She was the best aunt to my daughter and son and she loved her kids more than life itself. She was caretaker, CPR instructor and had the heart of a savior.
My favorite thing of all time was always dancing pretty much anywhere we were together; in the kitchen, in the living room, in the park, at concerts or clubs; really everywhere we went, we danced. The saying we shared was “Dance is the hidden language of the soul”. She was a dancing queen for sure. We had our tonsils taken out at the same time when we were little, we both ended up getting pregnant as teenagers, we lived in the Virgin Islands together where we got matching sister tattoos because our bond was unbreakable and we both got married in Vegas on a whim. As much as I tried to not follow in my sister footsteps, because most of the time I didn’t agree with a lot of the things she did, our paths have been similar at times. The free spirit lives inside me also. She loved all kinds of music more than anything and her favorite band of all time was the Foo Fighters, she always wanted to marry Dave Grohl. She was my birth coach for both my children and at the bedside when my son was in the hospital with seizures. She was always there when I needed her and she very rarely told me no. She had a smile that would light up the room. She was silly, loved to laugh, rescued more animals than she could ever keep herself and always wanted to have her own farm...LOL. She had an obsession with bears and old farm houses. She understood certain things that not a lot of people would and she was smart and charismatic. She always welcomed everyone with open arms and never judged a book by its cover. She loved with her whole heart, but never seemed to get that in return. She was always there for anyone that needed her and she appreciated all of the small things in life.
I seriously could go on and on about how influential my sister was in my life and so many others, but I want you to also know how this last year of my life has been without her. Those that are left behind are the ones that struggle the most. Our family is really, really close, we would do anything and everything for each other no matter if we were arguing or not. Our family is everything and now a HUGE piece in missing. My sister left behind our moms, her dad and step mom, my dad (which is her step dad), a son, a daughter, two sisters, a brother, four step sisters, a step brother, multiple nieces and nephews, step and in laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends who are family and several fur babies. You get it, we have a huge family and all of us have been impacted. My sister was a social butterfly and knew everyone. She would even talk to strangers. She had the heart of gold and the power to make you feel like you’ve known her for years even if you just met her. She was surrounded by the biggest support system, yet felt completely alone. How you might ask, does someone with so much to give and so many people around her feel so helpless and alone? We can only speculate at the answer to that question.
I do know for sure that last year was the most difficult year of my life thus far. I stayed busy so I didn’t have to deal with the pain and sadness. I’m not one to show my emotions very often and so I was simply coping in my everyday life. Needless to say it all caught up to me and I found myself angry, short tempered, irritated all the time, tired, and just not functioning. Everything was catching up to me and I felt helpless and clueless. I found that just “staying busy” for a good majority of the year didn’t do me any good. I had people asking me what was wrong and I wasn’t even aware there was a problem. I hardly talked to anyone and put on a happy face or so I thought. I have a toddler so life is a constant challenge anyway, but I was detaching without knowing. And I finally came to a point that I broke. I had to take some time off from work and find myself. My family didn’t deserve how I was acting and I didn’t want to be so angry.
Suicide leaves those left behind with anger, sadness, wondering why, and a lot of “what if’s” and “if only’s”. It makes you question everything and the worst part is you’ll never get the answers because that person was taken from your life too soon. I can’t believe that I never suspected anything was wrong and I can’t believe that she is gone. I need her and she left me! She’s supposed to be here when I need to know how to cook something. She is supposed to be here spoiling my child. She is supposed to be here when I need her to answer my questions, clean my house or teach me CPR like she said she would do. She is supposed to be by my side when my son has a medical issue and I don’t understand what the doctor is saying. She is supposed to be my emergency contact at the hospital. She is supposed to be my birth coach for every baby I have like she was for daughter and son. She is supposed to help me plan my wedding one day when I get married and help me make all the crafty stuff that she is so good at! She is supposed to be my maid of honor! She was never supposed to not be here and I don’t know what I am going to do without her.
We had plans or maybe I had plans for you in my life, maybe I took advantage of you and never gave you back all the things that you gave me. I wasn’t there when you needed me the most and for that I am beyond sorry. I just never thought that you would really do it. I thought it was just a cry for help and I am so sad that I pulled myself away from you the last couple of years. I’ll never get to tell you that again and that makes me very sad, but I have learned that I have I forgive myself and I have to forgive you. This life will never ever be the same, but I have to learn how to grow forward. I have made it my mission to continue my sisters journey, tell her story and save as many lives that I possibly can by making people aware that they are not alone. What is happening now is just a blip in your life and there is help out there, all you have to do is ask. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Thank you for taking the time to read all of this. This is just one story and the “Who Is...” portion of this movement will be to put a face to the name, spread the stories to bring light to the darkness and break the silence on suicide and self harm. Namaste!