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A Poetic Healing

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  • Kat Copeland

Coping with Suicide

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

On June 8th, my brother committed suicide. He was my biological half brother, but always my family even after I was adopted. He had high functioning autism, his mind worked a little different than most. I’ll never forget his reaction to my adoption, he felt as though it somehow magically severed our ties. I explained to him we were family by choice, not blood, or legalities, and family by choice is more powerful than all of that. I love him. I always loved him, even when it was hard, even when he made big mistakes. It took years for me to develop a relationship with many of my biological siblings, however, he and I were always connected. Guilt is a terrible burden, it’s a heavy load to carry, a darkness that can consume you. I was drowning in it last month.

I had to hate myself for awhile, and then my anger turned on our biological mother. He suffered so much injustice at her hands. I hated her, for awhile. Hate is easier than heartache, guilt and regret. As time has passed, my hate diminished, and heartache remains. Despite the feelings of some, it isn’t my fault, I regret my silence there at the end, my life became busy, I thought there was time, though time ran out. I find comfort in our last exchange of words, we wrote for six months, our last words were personal and full of love. It isn’t the fault of the woman who bore us, as much as I want it to be. As much as I wish it could be. What he suffered in his childhood is her fault, she left him damaged. But as adults, our actions are our choices. It’s not even his fault. The truth is my friends, this is life. This life was meant for pain and hardship. It takes a strength to survive it, and his strength gave out.

Anger is not an emotion. It is the mask we wear to cover what we are really feeling... hurt, despair, sadness and even confusion. Being angry is easy, being emotionally vulnerable is hard. We wear masks in an attempt to protect our hearts, our minds and our spirit. But once we take that mask off and deal with what's underneath we become capable, willing, and able to do the one thing that is even harder to do, and that is to forgive.

My brother had a rare and aggressive form of cancer, it was killing him. He was facing a permanent colostomy, and pain the doctors were unable to control. He isn’t in pain anymore.

Looking upon 44 years of life, condensed into 10 pounds of ashes, is overwhelming. It can leave you wondering what was the point? I’ll tell you the point. I had a brother. He wasn’t a number in the statistics of suicide. He wasn’t high functioning autism. And he wasn’t the sum of his mistakes. My brother was a veteran who served his country with honor. He taught me to love and respect our country and military. He was a nerd, a huge nerd. Who loved all things syfy. Superman and Batman were his favorite superheroes. He took pride in his cars, no matter how uncool they were, and they were always uncool. He loved 80’s music, and would blare it in his uncool cars confidently. He taught me to be confident in what I’m passionate about because of that. He was a terrible driver, and if there was ever proof of my stupidity as a teen, it was that I trusted his driving implicitly then. He was an endless memory bank of old movie quotes, 50% of our conversations together were movie quotes. He loved to eat and had an insatiable appetite. He loved anything I made, good or bad, I wasn’t always a good cook and he wouldn’t let me throw anything away, he was a human garbage disposal. He taught me not to be wasteful. He was a conspiracy theorist, which was always amusing. He was childish, playful, and our time spent together was always laughing and acting a fool. He taught me to embrace the child I never got to be, and this made me a better parent. He loved me a lot, as I loved him.

I believe we’re born with a heart that wants to be good. It yearns to love, to be loved, to be compassionate, understanding, patient, and kind. It’s our minds that get in the way. Life unfolds, it hurts, it teaches, and leads, it twists us up, and turns us around, until sometimes, our mind no longer knows how to be good. However, our hearts can regain control. We can heal the hurt, calm the chaos, and change. It just takes a lot of patience, and time. May we not learn the hard way, but if we must, may we remember this, fires can be extinguished my friends, fences can be mended, hearts can heal, and change is always possible. If you have lost someone to suicide, embrace your emotions, do not hide from them, however you’re feeling is okay, this is how you heal. It is not your fault, it’s not anyone else’s either, and it’s not even theirs. This is life, this is why we have a loving and forgiving Father, and why we have a Savior, who died for us. He gave His life freely, for my sins, and yours.

In John 11: 25, 26 Jesus said,

“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” D believed in Jesus, he loved Him, and I know he’s with him today working everything out.

If you are feeling discouraged or in despair, please know there are many who care. Ending a life does not end the pain, it passes it on. Please reach out.

All my love,


Suicide Prevention Lifeline


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