Darkness is nothing to be afraid of, if you know there is always someone pursuing you with light.

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Sometimes I think it’s sad that I only sit down to write on days like today. But the truth is it is really only days like today that I can’t run from the weight of loss. Every time I look at that calendar I see December 6. December 6. Today I should be celebrating. We should be taking her out for dinner and filling her cards with sappy notes about how much she matters, and laughing until our hearts hurt. For at least 18 years of my life that was what December 6th meant.

Now, it is just another day. One where those who miss her the most might pass comforting texts or if we’re feeling ambitious pick up the phone. Mostly we let it pass mourning her loss in silence.

But I think silence is stupid. I think her story needs to be told. I think there are too many families in the world that have December 6th of their own that need to know they aren’t alone. There is a tribe of us who know what it is like to get the anxious looks of pity when we say our person took their own life. There is a tribe of us who will always feel the gut wrenching desire to scream out “You’re wrong” when someone tells us there is always hope. A tribe of us that will forever sit wondering if we could have done something more, or sit condemning ourselves that we should have done more. A tribe that struggles everyday with the fear that our person won’t be remembered for their joy.

To the tribe that is listening, the only way this world will move from that label of suicide written across our person’s life is to talk about our person’s light. The only way we will move our world from losing others to darkness is to champion each others’ light. The only way we can be beacons of hope is to shine our own light.

48 years ago, my mama was given a life full of light. She was beautiful and perfect, just like all of us are on that day. She was a gift to this world. She was gentle and smart. She was a protector and a dreamer. She was the only one like her.

For years, she stood toe to toe with darkness, and she fought through. She bore unbelievable pain for years in silence. She continued to show up even though no one around her showed her how. She was a champion of love, when she chose me regardless of the shame. She was the bestower of unconditional love, when she had my brother. She was goofy and smart. She was passionate and kind. She was a shoulder to lean on and the first to show up when called. She was so beautiful inside and out. She loved so deeply that she forgot herself.

And it makes me so mad, that when the world hears her story, they only hear one thing. Suicide. She and those who loved her the most are shamed for not fighting harder. She is deemed a champion of the weak; she is swept under the rug. But she wasn’t any of those things, even in her last moments. She was fighting for light, and I truly believe she just didn’t want it to cost those she loved so much anymore. She went out a fighter. That’s a mama I can be proud of.

Evert part of what is good in me comes from some part of her. She was the one who made me believe that I can do anything; that my life could be different. She was the one who guarded me when the ugliness of the world came calling. She was the one who prepared me for the darkness. Even in her darkest of days, there was light.

I always think about the conversation I am going to have with my kids someday about their Grandma. I wonder how I am going to tell them why she isn’t here to love on them. And although, I haven’t figured it all out quite yet, I know it’s going to start with a story of her light, her strength, her love. She was human, and on somedays she was my hero.

So to my tribe and those supporting us, keep searching for each other’s light. Keep chasing those you love into the shadows. Darkness is nothing to be afraid of, if you know there is always someone pursuing you with light.

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