Monica Ormes

@monicaormes | contributor
I write as an expression of healing.
Monica Ormes

Reflections a Year After I Lost My Sister to Suicide

It has been a year since you left, my lifelong friend and sister, one of the best parts of my soul. I want you to know some of the things I have learned since you departed so I write this open letter for anyone to read in hopes that wherever you may be, at least some of it will get back to you. This will also serve as a glimmer of hope for those forced into the kind of destructive grief that follows losing someone — a sibling, a friend, a family member — to suicide. The last year was one of the hardest emotionally in my entire life. When you left and I fell, I didn’t know if I was strong enough to get back up. I didn’t know if I would ever stop sobbing or if I’d ever feel like me again. I didn’t know if I had it in me to survive this world without my big sister beside me. I didn’t know if I could parent my children in a way that was still wholesome and true. I really didn’t know if I would ever find my way back. I have found in the last 12 months that I am allowed to be destroyed over this type of loss. That it is absolutely OK to lose my mind for a minute, get a hotel room, drink a 12-pack of beer and sit up all night crying while binging “Anne with an E.” It is not the best coping skill, so I also now know not to stay there. I have tried to be patient with myself even if somewhere deep inside of me there is a terrible sense of guilt for those who have had to carry me or my weight as a byproduct of my grief. Through this experience, I have learned what it is like to be loved in a very raw sense by those people. I have also learned that nothing I could have said or done would have changed things for you and that this terrible sense of guilt for being angry with you when you died will one day dissipate. It may take the rest of my life, but I can slowly feel that part of me healing. You were at rock bottom and I refused to see it. I am sorry. I took your strength for granted and thought you would pull out of it just as you had many times before. Turns out, I was wrong. I have learned that my mental illness is real and can be dangerous, so I decided the repetitive thoughts about suicide that have ravaged my brain and my heart for most of my life are not allowed to live there anymore. These thoughts are not invited to the party. I’ve mostly determined this in my decision to live mostly for myself but also for the part of me that houses you. I have decided to start living again, to seek out comforts in our happiest memories. When I take a breath, I do it with the intention of not only myself feeling the crisp cool autumn energy that fills my lungs, but also for you to feel it in the space you keep in my heart. I know you are with every step I take and the things you could not see or love about this life, I will see or love for the both of us. My hope is that wherever your full spirit resides, it sees and feels the love and appreciation I have for this life. I hope that you feel my joy, laughter, nostalgia, and appreciation for having the chance to show you what this life should have given you in yours. I hope to show you that you deserved so much from this life and it’s not fair that you weren’t given the chance to feel that. It was hard to get back up after you left, but I tried every day. I hope you are proud of me. I hope you know that the only anger I hold comes from the knowledge that I will never get you back. I have lost one of my greatest friends and protectors, but I also hope you know that I know you are with me, carrying me through the rough stuff because you know that only on the other side of said rough stuff is the reason I still belong in this body, on this earth, in this lifetime with these people I so love and adore. In closing, I will say that I have also learned that I will not stop grieving your loss and that I miss you more that I can put into words, but with that comes the knowledge that it is time for the best part of  this life to begin for me. Though I am sad that you are not here to live it with me, you are walking beside me taking it all in as I walk my path. Thank you for filling me with strength and love and intention. I promise, I’ll do my best.

Community Voices

Give yourself a one-sentence pep talk.

<p>Give yourself a one-sentence pep talk.</p>
292 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Let me tell ya a story

Hi! I’m so happy to be a contributing writer on the Mighty! I’ve quietly enjoyed this platform for years and now I feel it’s time for me to give back. As with many people, the last few years have been difficult for me. So many terrible nightmares to note, I wouldn’t know where to start... I will say that I am a 42 year old woman well versed in #mental health, #SuicidePrevention , #Depression #Anxiety , #SuicideOCD #Addiction so that is likely what the bulk of my writing will be about. Thank you for reading.

8 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Let me tell ya a story

Hi! I’m so happy to be a contributing writer on the Mighty! I’ve quietly enjoyed this platform for years and now I feel it’s time for me to give back. As with many people, the last few years have been difficult for me. So many terrible nightmares to note, I wouldn’t know where to start... I will say that I am a 42 year old woman well versed in #mental health, #SuicidePrevention , #Depression #Anxiety , #SuicideOCD #Addiction so that is likely what the bulk of my writing will be about. Thank you for reading.

8 people are talking about this
Monica Ormes

Not Just a Statistic: When a Sibling Dies of Suicide

It’s been two weeks. Fourteen days since I’ve felt her part of my soul burning hot. Three hundred and sixty six hours since she took her life. That’s 21,960 minutes since time stood still. Her name was Sabrina and she was my sister. She died less than one week after celebrating her 44th birthday. She didn’t leave a note, nor did she say goodbye. I’m not angry. I can’t be. The grief and sadness that envelopes me allows no room for any other emotion. I will not allow her memory to fade into just another number. She deserves so much more from a life that bullied, beat and bloodied her soul until her last breath. Sabrina never once experienced her time on this earth outside of fight or flight. Her destiny determined inside my mother’s aching womb. Our father; I use the term loosely as he was never more than a monster; found sick pleasure in beating the shit out of and terrorizing our mother until she was little more than a shell of the woman and mother she dreamed of becoming. When she was seven months pregnant with her second child, mom once again found herself imprisoned with fear as he barreled his enormous fists into her swollen stomach and face. He beat her through her cries for her unborn child. The more she tried to protect her baby, the more incensed he became. The blows began to alternate between belly and face until he was satisfied with his work and relented. He left her there to bleed out, emptied what little money she had in her purse to drink the rest of the night away with the boys. Mom’s occupied uterus hemorrhaged that day and she would have lost Sabrina had she not received immediate medical attention. Sabrina lived. Mom lived. Our oldest sister lived. Not one of them without the raw, agonizing, profoundly permanent wound in their souls that is exclusive to trauma survivors. This would set a tone throughout our lives but in my sister’s case, it became the cycle that would eventually put a violently abrupt end to her excruciatingly painful time on this earth. We were born into poverty, trauma, mental illness and suffering. Sabrina was, at her very core, a survivor. Whether she knew it or not is beyond me as she never had the proper tools to fully realize her place on this earth. With every punch to the gut came an ever mounting fragility that could not be mended. So, we watched, helplessly, but never without hope, every time that fist met her tenuous soul. She found hollow solace in a bitter prescription dependency. For the last decade of her life, Sabrina attempted to soften the sharp edges of her pain with whatever pills she could get her hands on. Her desperation made itself known with every stolen dollar and/or prescription bottle she hastily ripped from its rightful owners grasp. She was seeking respite from her own mind. From a lifetime of struggle. From a never ending series of fall down, get back up, fall down, get back up. Of course, until the last fall, when she would make her final decent into an eternal sleep. The festering wounds Sabrina collected and carried through her life are now at peace with her yet continue to live on inside of the ones she left behind. Like her ashes, our family split her suffering and as each one of us grapples with the depth of our loss, we are each faced with a choice. We must now decide what to do with it. I cannot speak for anyone but myself when I say that I choose to let my grief take me to the only place I have ever known comfort; my creative mind. I’m 42 years familiar with what I need to survive. I have no choice but to take what I am feeling and create beauty with it because, within that lies the wisdom, courage and hope I must acquire to heal the wounds her death left behind. I should have prefaced by saying that my reason for writing this is solely to raise awareness in a time we need it the most. From the beginning of 2020, we have all endured so much hardship, stress, pain and loss. We are a beaten and battered people, screaming for respite. As the COVID-19 death toll continues its rise, so does the potential rise in the suicide and attempted suicide rates. My sister in now a statistic. Be kind and gentle with yourselves. This life is hard and this year has been no exception. Even through my freshest trauma, I still see hope ahead of me. I still love this life unconditionally (even when I hate it.) I still fight to find my purpose. I still create and love with the whole of my wounded heart. And I will never stop.

Monica Ormes

Not Just a Statistic: When a Sibling Dies of Suicide

It’s been two weeks. Fourteen days since I’ve felt her part of my soul burning hot. Three hundred and sixty six hours since she took her life. That’s 21,960 minutes since time stood still. Her name was Sabrina and she was my sister. She died less than one week after celebrating her 44th birthday. She didn’t leave a note, nor did she say goodbye. I’m not angry. I can’t be. The grief and sadness that envelopes me allows no room for any other emotion. I will not allow her memory to fade into just another number. She deserves so much more from a life that bullied, beat and bloodied her soul until her last breath. Sabrina never once experienced her time on this earth outside of fight or flight. Her destiny determined inside my mother’s aching womb. Our father; I use the term loosely as he was never more than a monster; found sick pleasure in beating the shit out of and terrorizing our mother until she was little more than a shell of the woman and mother she dreamed of becoming. When she was seven months pregnant with her second child, mom once again found herself imprisoned with fear as he barreled his enormous fists into her swollen stomach and face. He beat her through her cries for her unborn child. The more she tried to protect her baby, the more incensed he became. The blows began to alternate between belly and face until he was satisfied with his work and relented. He left her there to bleed out, emptied what little money she had in her purse to drink the rest of the night away with the boys. Mom’s occupied uterus hemorrhaged that day and she would have lost Sabrina had she not received immediate medical attention. Sabrina lived. Mom lived. Our oldest sister lived. Not one of them without the raw, agonizing, profoundly permanent wound in their souls that is exclusive to trauma survivors. This would set a tone throughout our lives but in my sister’s case, it became the cycle that would eventually put a violently abrupt end to her excruciatingly painful time on this earth. We were born into poverty, trauma, mental illness and suffering. Sabrina was, at her very core, a survivor. Whether she knew it or not is beyond me as she never had the proper tools to fully realize her place on this earth. With every punch to the gut came an ever mounting fragility that could not be mended. So, we watched, helplessly, but never without hope, every time that fist met her tenuous soul. She found hollow solace in a bitter prescription dependency. For the last decade of her life, Sabrina attempted to soften the sharp edges of her pain with whatever pills she could get her hands on. Her desperation made itself known with every stolen dollar and/or prescription bottle she hastily ripped from its rightful owners grasp. She was seeking respite from her own mind. From a lifetime of struggle. From a never ending series of fall down, get back up, fall down, get back up. Of course, until the last fall, when she would make her final decent into an eternal sleep. The festering wounds Sabrina collected and carried through her life are now at peace with her yet continue to live on inside of the ones she left behind. Like her ashes, our family split her suffering and as each one of us grapples with the depth of our loss, we are each faced with a choice. We must now decide what to do with it. I cannot speak for anyone but myself when I say that I choose to let my grief take me to the only place I have ever known comfort; my creative mind. I’m 42 years familiar with what I need to survive. I have no choice but to take what I am feeling and create beauty with it because, within that lies the wisdom, courage and hope I must acquire to heal the wounds her death left behind. I should have prefaced by saying that my reason for writing this is solely to raise awareness in a time we need it the most. From the beginning of 2020, we have all endured so much hardship, stress, pain and loss. We are a beaten and battered people, screaming for respite. As the COVID-19 death toll continues its rise, so does the potential rise in the suicide and attempted suicide rates. My sister in now a statistic. Be kind and gentle with yourselves. This life is hard and this year has been no exception. Even through my freshest trauma, I still see hope ahead of me. I still love this life unconditionally (even when I hate it.) I still fight to find my purpose. I still create and love with the whole of my wounded heart. And I will never stop.