"BEYOND GRIEF -
Snapshots of Life after Loss"
by permission of Gracelyn Bateman & Melody Lomboy-Lowe
Published by Luna Peak Foundation, pages 164-165. Copyright 2021.
2 minute read
Courtney has a tattoo with her brother's initials, "EP."
Courtney | 9 Years| Brother
“We grew up just the two of us. With him gone, suddenly I was an only child. I had not been an only child since I was 4 and didn’t remember any version of myself that existed without him. It felt like this foundation was taken from underneath me.”
“I planned my brother’s funeral, I gave the eulogy, and I directed all of these people who were at our house. That sense of empowerment stuck with me.”
How did others support you?
“One friend told me, ‘I’ll call you every Thursday at 8pm and you can answer or not answer, that’s fine either way, but I’m going to call you and if you want to talk we can talk.’ And they did that for many months after loss.”
Did anyone say anything unhelpful to you?
“Yes - people that I didn’t know said, ‘It’s going to be OK.’ Who the hell are you? If it is, it is, but you don’t get to talk about it.”
What do you want others to know about grief?
“Suicide in general is difficult for people to hear about and they don’t know how to react so I try to be open about it and not hide that fact because my brother was remarkably normal. He was a 17 year old normal kid who was happy and played sports. He had a ton of friends and a girlfriend and two parents and a sister who loved him. When you hear that a 17 year old committed suicide, you might think that the situation was a lot darker than it was. So if it comes up, I don’t shy away from the fact that my brother is dead and that he killed himself when he was 17 years old. I try to make it a more natural conversation that people don’t have to be afraid of. I think it’s important to talk about it, because if we don’t, then people continue to feel alone in that experience.”
How has your perspective changed?
“This horrible, tragic thing happened, but what is the absolute best that I can make of it? I’m able to recognize what’s valuable, what I’m passionate about, and who I want to spend time with, then see that through and not waste my time. I focus on continuous movement and continuous growth, and having the perspective of loss fuels that.”