Ashes to Ashes, Dustin to Dust

Content Warning: Suicide

“Suicide is not chosen; it happens when your pain exceeds the resources you have for coping with that pain.”
Out of the Nightmare by David L. Conroy

Firstly, if you are or believe anyone you love might be considering suicide to stop the pain, please review and/or share the following links. You might find new ways to reduce your pain, or to increase the resources you have to cope with it.

You are loved, and you are worthy of that love. I care for you, and I hope you take care of yourself and offer that care to others whenever you have enough.


My brother died by suicide.

It is hard to say “my brother” – I am an exile from the birth family, barely more than a stranger to him in my current form. I left the house as he turned 8. Having been the caretaker for all the siblings through my adolescence doesn’t negate both my flight and their expulsion. Now somewhat literally an entirely new person myself, I absolutely did not know who he was.

Yet it’s hard to say “died by suicide,” as I feel there’s so much more to the story. Is that always the case?

“There are no words,” says everyone. Why? I see words everywhere. I have been gathering them all up. I have more words than I know what to do with.

Words bottling up inside of me.

Words dribbling out at odd moments.

Words I’m stuffing in pockets and bags.

Words I’m desperately hiding in cabinets. 

Words I’m taking apart and obsessing over.

Words I try to pronounce again and again.

There are definitely words.
How do y’all not see all these fucking words!?

I breathe out, and forget the words I don’t need.

All the words from notes in his own hand and others around him tell me he felt that house was safe and sound, his sanctuary. A place he couldn’t see himself leaving. But he was in the house when he left. Are the other words lies?

That house, place, and faith almost killed me by the very same mechanism. Trapped in both body and spirit, and isolated for eternities, I felt I could not bear it. For years I made elaborate plans to fake my death and never return. I concocted worlds of fantasy to cut through the haze of life: pretending to be a secret agent, a wizard disguised in enemy territory, a hero of any variety who needed to fake being a girl only a bit longer to fulfill some noble purpose.

I breathe out, and see it passed in the blink of an eye.

Was he like me, was there something queer in him? Did it lead him to similar sensations of unworthiness and despair? Did he try to change everything about himself and fail? The darkness of my mind imagines him observing how my “family” considered me through all this time. It sees him recognizing a lack of resilience, a desire not to take that on. 

If not queerness, was it faith? All the words tell me he held to their faith. Despite none of his actions demonstrating such a reality to me. Again, words from my darkness whisper constructed narratives about how their words erase his experience, whether they be negligent or willfully ignorant. Of course my past struggle tells me faith absolutely kills individuals. The world I inhabit offers confirmation frequently. Can I blame the societal and religious pressure that led him to think his existence was naught but burden?

I ask questions and invent conjecture. The only true way forward is to make a decision for my own life. The forks I’ve taken have closed off some paths, and despite the sadness I feel for this loss of life, I will not pick up regrets. I released that world quite some time ago. The path from here will be a long one, and I know it may be harder still. I will not be in that house again, for I do not belong with those people.

I breathe out, and live my life.

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