Editor’s note: Linzi’s brother and only sibling died by suicide during COVID-19 lockdown in June this year. She is making it her mission and purpose to not only spread more awareness about suicide but to also help others be kinder and more loving to themselves and everyone they meet in everyday life. One smile or kind gesture can make all the difference.
Someone said to me recently, “I bet you’ll be relieved when 2020 is over…”
And that hit me—just not in the way I expected it to.
It hit me because my immediate response was, “No! I don’t want 2020 to finish…ever.”
Because in 2020, my brother was still alive for the first six months. He was still alive and I could speak to him, see him, hear him, message him—and he’d respond. He would answer. He would smile and he would laugh.
He would be there.
This year is a year I will never forget. It has changed the world. It has changed our worlds. It has changed everything.
Just writing this now fills me with so much emotion: a mix of happy memories, joy, life, and love all blended together with tears of sadness, sorrow, loss, and emptiness.
I’m holding on to 2020 because it feels like I’m holding onto my brother. When the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2021, I will cry. I will cry my heart out. I will feel like I’ve lost my brother all over again. I will feel he is further away.
I will see my hand holding his and his letting go. He’ll let go and drift away and I’ll be all alone, my heart broken.
When I think about what our parents are going through, I cannot even begin to imagine. How are they still doing everyday life? How? How do they do this? It breaks my heart to know they are hurting and in so much pain and I can’t make it better for them. No one can.
This is when I have to breathe. When I remind myself that Stuart has transitioned; he didn’t die; he just transitioned back to spirit. He’s well, he’s watching over us, and he’s with me now. I just can’t physically see him, and that’s what hurts so much right now. I want to see him. I want to give him a big hug and tell him I love him. I want to tell him he was and still is the best brother and I’m sorry I never told him, but I hope he knows this—I really hope he knows.
I have tears flowing down my face right now. I need to breathe. Just breathe…
Stuart has given me the courage to be me, to live my dreams. Growing up, we are taught that dreams aren’t real and we should just focus on academics, but sod that! Our life is our life, and it’s what we make it. It’s not for someone else to tell us what to do, how we should be, or how we should think. We are all perfectly capable of being our authentic selves, and I think that’s what Stuart was trying to do and be.
Love and kindness were two of Stu’s biggest strengths. He made sure others felt loved and cared for, no matter what. He was, and is, an angel of kindness and I promised myself that I would carry this on for him. I will continue this fight with every single person I meet.
So, I’m still working through 2020 and how I will be able to transition to 2021 in a more serving, beneficial, and positive way. But I’m not there yet—one day at a time, one moment at a time, one step at a time. One thought can make all the difference.
Today, I say thank you to 2020 for opening my eyes to believe in myself and to help others believe in themselves too.
This year has actually been the biggest, most impactful, insightful, and challenging year so far. But it’s taught me that life is precious and life is short. So live it now—not tomorrow, not next year, not 10 years from now—because who we are is what makes each of us special, and it’s what the world needs right now.