The gales of November are icy and sharp.

Digging their cold, dead fingertips into my flesh, bone, and soul.

Leaving waves of frozen emotional debris in their path, these gales strike me down again year after year.

Blowing October leaves off of trees, snow on my neck, and darkness into…

I want to tell my story. I need to tell my story. I feel the words being forced out of me like the retching of hangover after a night of heavy drinking. With months of silence under my belt and the inability shape thought into word, I’m telling my story.

What hurts the most is that I didn’t know Alex. I never got the pleasure of knowing the good in his life. I didn’t know the hurt he carried either. I didn’t know anything about him, really. The only memories I have of him are those of that fateful day.

One year later and I don’t even recognize myself. That person, that version of me feels so far away.

I’m just a shell of the man that I was back then. And yet, I am so so so much more than that too. In fact, some days, I feel like…

No matter how much education, training, or preparation you receive, you can never fully be ready to handle responding to a suicide. You can never fully prepare to administer first aid. You can never be ready to see a lifeless body, on the ground, with a bullet hole in it’s…

If I could take your place,

I would.

Anyway I know how.

Anyway I could.

I’d carry the burden

Of your pain and demons.

Because I know the pain of carrying the weight

Of your loss.

We can’t possibly call this even.

If I could take your place,

I would.

It’s not so easy to hold onto hope these days, as I no longer know what hope looks or feels like. Similar to faith, I’m not sure that I have much hope anymore. I’m not sure I know how to.

They say that healing gets easier with time. They say…

I have to be honest about something. I know that y’all are trying to be protective and sensitive, and I love that, thank you, but not talking about my mental health is actually killing me.

We all know about last Monday and I don’t need a lecture about how stupid…

Joel Kaskinen

Communicator. Educator. Empath. Survivor. Writer.

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