February 14, 2016
I don’t even know where to begin. Where to start. It’s been twenty seven years. That’s a grown adult already. Twenty seven years. Twenty seven long years of loss. Of tragedy. Of a pain that I don’t think will ever go away. How can it go away? How do you even move on from the way you left us? Especially now that it’s all coming into light that I am just like you. That your legacy of sadness and madness has passed on to me.
How can I move past the way you died – taking your own life – when I myself have more than flirted with doing the same thing since I can remember? There’s too much we have in common, as they say. We share the same disposition. But do we share the same fate? No. Of course not.
You know, it’s funny. I thought I’ve already accepted what went on with you. How you died, how you left us. The tragedy that surrounded it. I thought I’ve already accepted that years ago. In a way, I did, I suppose. But my mind is totally different now. I can feel emotions properly now. I’m not a slave to my own thoughts anymore. At least, I’m trying to be free of it. Trying to control it. Fighting tooth and nail to take the wheel.
With me finally in control of my own thoughts, I’ve come to the realization that, while I may have accepted the fate that has befallen you, I haven’t really forgiven you for taking the easy way out.
I was too young when you left us. I don’t even have any memories of you. I don’t think. I have these recollections of random scenes from those early years that I may have attributed to stories that I’ve been told. Stories that my ever so imaginative brain turned into actual memories that seem so real. Anyway, I may have been too young, but your death still broke me. Well, it wasn’t your death per se but the fact that you weren’t there anymore. That you were just a story I’ve been told about. That you were merely weathered photographs kept in dusty old frames and smelly photo albums. And when my brother Jason and I were in our teens, we were told the truth about how you died. Not a heart attack, as the then official story was.
Anyway, yeah, it wasn’t your death that broke me but the fact that you were not there. You were a void. An empty space in my life. It pains me to say this now, but there was a time when I hated you. I hated you and I didn’t even know you. I blamed you for everything, for all the shit I’ve done, for my fuckups, why I was such a mess. I was so angry at how you left us that the void that was you became my reason for why I couldn’t seem to cope with life. I couldn’t take control of my life and I blamed you for it.
Knowing what I know now, that I was genetically predisposed to clinical depression and got it from you, it’s a lot easier to blame you for every single wrong thing in my life. It’s so much easy to blame you for everything that I couldn’t do before. But no, none of this is your fault. Your death, I can’t blame your death for how I turned out. I can’t blame your, our, shitty genes for my brokenness.
In fact, the more I learn about myself and my depression, the more I learn about you in ways that no stories or photographs can ever shed light on. We share the same darkness. We share the same demons. Only you couldn’t fight them the way I can fight them now. Not that I blame you. You weren’t weak, as I once naively thought you were. You weren’t desperate for an exit. You didn’t let the darkness take your life. You were broken. You were sick. No one could give you the right help that people like us need. I don’t blame you. I don’t blame you anymore.
What you didn’t get to have, a long and happy life, I’ll have for the both of us. You couldn’t hold onto life. You couldn’t survive life. I’ll do that in your memory. I’ll do that to make you proud. I’ll do that, live and be happy, for us. I’m going to live. Doing that is a lot easier now. I’ve sought treatment. Mental health is a concept that people seem to be more open to now, unlike in your time. There’s a lot of progress in that field. Our legacy of death and tragedy will become that of happiness and love and survival.
I had a gig yesterday. I sang again. I wasn’t feeling well – haven’t felt well all week – but I still pushed through. I needed to get up there for a lot of things. For you. For me. For One Tree Hill. I got up there and played for you. I dedicated my set for you. “The one who couldn’t hold on to life.”
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I finally forgive you.