My Story = My Strength. When I first saw this shirt I knew I had to have it. After what I’ve been through the past 2.5 years, this saying is my life now. This saying reminds me to have strength, to remind myself that I have weathered a storm and came through the other side still standing.
I lost my older brother to drug addiction on Friday, November 4, 2016. It was 5:30PM and I had just gotten out of the shower and was getting ready for work when I got the phone call from my mom. “Brad died”. Words I never wanted to hear, but always knew it’d be a possibility. Words that I tried so many times over the past year to prepare myself for, but how do you really prepare yourself to really hear them?? That one short phrase turned my life completely upside down.
My life is now divided into “before my brother died” and “after my brother died”. Brad was 46 years old, he was a lawyer, he had a wife and an amazing son. We were 11 months apart; we were “Irish Twins” because for one month every November 16 until December 19 we were the same age. I loved that we were so close in age. Now I no longer have a sibling and it is the loneliest feeling ever. Losing your only sibling is like having the wind knocked out of you. Its losing a piece of yourself. I recently read something that describes it perfectly. Having your parents and sibling is described as a table with 4 legs. It’s sturdy, together in one piece and doesn’t lose its balance. Then you lose a sibling and the once complete table is now incomplete. It now has 3 legs. It’s missing a piece of itself. Its no longer steady, not always balanced and can fall apart very easily. This is how I feel now — like that unsteady, unbalanced table.
Yes, I still have my parents thankfully, and an amazing husband, but losing a sibling is something completely different. This is the person that I was supposed to walk through my entire life with from the moment I was born until we were senior citizens. This was the person that was supposed to help me when our parents got older, who was supposed to help make the decisions of how to care for them. He was the one who knew everything about me growing up. He was the one that I shared memories with from when we were 5 and pretended the floor was lava and had to jump on all the furniture to get around the house, the one who I’d stay up with at night and watch movies with when our parents went out for date night, the one who would comfort me when theres was a horrible storm and lighting and thunder and I’d be that scared little girl. He was the only person in the whole world who knew what it was like to grow up in my house, in my family, with my parents. And now I have nobody to share those memories with.
This is why I need to rely on my strength to get through the hard days. My strength is the one thing I have left to help me through. Its all mine. I have to share my story with my parents, my sister-in-law and my nephew. But my strength is all mine. My strength is going to help me have a better future, and it will help me deal with my past. Because thinking about what I’ve lost could literally break me down to nothing. If I really think about my story, and what has happened over these past few years, I am still in disbelief. Shock. Denial. But this is my new story. This is my life now and I can’t change it. So I need to find the strength to get up every day, and keep moving, and be there for my parents, and my nephew and my sister-in-law and have to make sure to keep Brad’s memory alive. This is why my story = my strength.
-Karyn Abramson Kirkwood
Join Karyn by embracing your story and find your strength.