“I don’t want to live.”
“Do you feel suicidal?”
“No, it’s not that. I just don’t want to exist. I mean, I don’t want to die, but I wish I hadn’t been born.”
“Committing suicide leaves behind huge devastation to everyone you know. I don’t want that. I don’t want to kill myself. I only wish to disappear. What if I hadn’t been born? Imagine a world where I didn’t exist at any point. That’s how I wish it could be.”
“But you were born. You exist. You can’t change that.”
“I know. No matter how hard I wish I could erase my existence, I can’t. So that’s why I have to live. That’s why I survive.”
The aftermath of their death was shattering. It felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest and burnt to ashes.
The worst part was that our parents did not know. Because I had had that conversation with my sibling at one point, I was confident that it had been an accident. My parents, however, believed it to be suicide regardless of what I told them.
The death of anyone close is devastating, no matter how it happens. But believing that their death was caused by themselves is harder to accept.
Because you think that you could have saved that person somehow. That you could have done better. That you should have done more.
Because the realisation that a person so close to you was suffering so much that they wanted to end it for good is gut-wrenching.
Every night, I could hear my mother crying through the thin walls. I could hear her repeatedly question herself. Had she put too much pressure? Had she not paid enough attention to notice her child’s suffering? Had her child known in their final moment that their mother loved them? What if…
So many questions.
Death, especially one believed to be caused by suicide, leaves behind many questions, most of which will never be answered. It shatters the trust you have in yourself and those around you. It affects how a family functions. Family members become strangers. Did we really know one another? Doubts and insecurities creep in.
A week ago at midnight, on my way to the kitchen through the living room, I was startled to see my father on the couch. He, who rarely showed any feelings, was trembling all over. He had his face covered with his palms, but he hadn’t made a single sound. His silent devastation had left a massive ache in my hollow chest. I had headed back to my room without a word. I assumed he would not want me to see his pain.
Each individual deals with grief differently. In this family, everyone dealt with it separately. Yet, there was a feeling of unity that was hard to explain.
I felt it when my only surviving sibling innocently asked me when the elder one was coming back. At that moment, all of us had to come together in our shared grief to explain that they wouldn’t be coming back.
I felt it when relatives whispered behind our backs. I felt it when my mother’s cries penetrated through the wall and drowned out my sobbing voice. I felt it when my father looked at my sibling’s picture with tear-filled eyes and tried to hide his pain. I felt it when I saw my withering mother stand tall at the funeral. I felt it when my younger sibling grabbed my hand as I struggled to stay upright.
One day, I will gain enough courage to not explain ever again. One day, my parents will have enough belief to not seek an explanation. For now, we will be a family getting familiar and learning to live with each other again.