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I have moved my blog over to http://www.lindsayotis.blogspot.com, please check it out!

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How far have we gotten…

So it’s been over a month since my last post. I apologize and goodness knows I have had a few typed out and just haven’t felt right about posting them. It’s in moments of darkness that I write most of them and I don’t want to make this blog a continuation of depressing “I miss my brother” posts, but instead a honest blog of a grieving sister.

So we reached the 6 month anniversary, then the 7 month anniversary since my last post, we also celebrated my 24th birthday and got through Halloween. It is obvious that every 5th of the month will be a hard day this year, he died on the 5th. It is also obvious that every holiday will be tough, my birthday was tough because he was always a big part of it, growing up just two of us. Halloween was tough because for over 15 years Halloween was a big deal in our neighborhood so I am flooded with memories. Up next is Thanksgiving and Christmas, I feel lucky that my husband finally recognized at my birthday that maybe we need to do things different than normal and that I need a break when it comes to holidays. I have made it through Mothers & Fathers Day, Easter, every 5th of the month, His Birthday, My Wedding, My Birthday and I am spent to say the least with this year and these emotions so as the holidays approach I need a break, I need something different. Color me emotionally exhausted.

I think the most important thing I have learned this past month is that I haven’t fully accepted it yet. I have dreams about Micah at least 4 days a week. Some day’s I think about his voice and that I can’t hear it again and it blows my mind. Utter disbelief. So here I am..realizing that acceptance hasn’t cleared in the bank of my mind. I know I will never get over it, nor do I want to. I want to able to talk about him without sobbing, think about the life he had left to live without regret, consider the role I lost as a sister without anger. We are full blown in month 7 and this is where I am.

I heard an interview by Nicole Kidman on Ellen this past month and it really resonated with me. She is talking about the death of her dad and how scared everyone is to talk to her now, almost making her into the grieving freak. It just smacked me in the face that the world is such a disturbing place when it comes to real emotions and it is so sad that when suicide is at all time high that people can’t even find it in their hearts to muster up some understanding and compassion to someone grieving. People are so scared of it because of how awkward and uncomfortable it is. I can say I have lost more friends than a few since April 5th. I am not saddened by losing them but saddened that I live in a society where we push things like acceptance to things we don’t know (homosexuality, gender complexes, the emo kids, the hipsters, the quiet ones) but where do the grievers fit in?!We don’t expect you to know what to say to us, but avoiding or acting like we are a group of freaks will get us all no where fast. We need to put those that are grieving and the issue of grief in the forefront. Grief affects everyone at some point, you don’t need facts to show you that.

Just a look at the numbers:
Every 90 seconds a person succeeds at a suicide attempt. In the US, 8 million people suffered through the death of someone in their immediate family for 2013. 800,000 new widows and widowers for 2014 so far and 400,00 people under 25 suffered from the death of a loved one (I am 1. There are 399,000 like me suffering just this year).

I’ve found that numbers make things more real for people. This needs to be an issue we talk about, in every day conversation, in churches. We need small groups for grievers and an acceptance needs to be taught to those who have been fortunate to not experience grief yet. Can we all just recognize that GRIEF is the one thing that will affect us ALL at one point?! Im not trying to bring everything down but I think sometimes we need a kick in the butt to realize. What would you want from people as someone who is grieving…then give that to someone who is currently in despair. Help others. Help yourself. I’m finding comfort in God’s promises that “..weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” I pray that one day the grievers won’t have to a part of this society’s freak show.

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Do you remember?

I was recently watching Joan River’s documentary and she was speaking on having to fire someone that had been in her life for the longest period of time and how bad it hurt.

It sounds silly because I didn’t fire Micah, Micah died. That being said, she was upset because firing this person meant kicking them out of her life permanently and this was hard because he was her last memory bank. That completely resonated with me because I realize I am young and I will have Tripp one day to look back on and say, “Do you remember that time?” But the hardest thing currently and will always be, is that my link to my childhood is gone. Your siblings are your links to that I believe. Micah was the only person that was in that room when we were playing video games or going to Grandmother’s while our parents were away. He was the only one that knew how our parents marriage affected us because we were in the same position. I will never have my link that I can go to and say, Do you remember?

When Joan said it on the movie it clicked with me that for 6 months I’ve been reminiscing on memories that no one knows about because it was just Micah and I. That’s the thing, it was just the two of us and we were home-schooled, did karate together, did shooting sports and when you got one, you got both. He was the one that knew about pizza and candles at Grandmothers and how bored we were when they had to watch Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights. He knew how irritating it could be when dad wouldn’t let us have earphones in the car so we could drown the world out or how we HAD to be on time for everything growing up or you would legit get left at the house. He knew the people in the neighborhood growing up and we would talk about how stupid some of them were and when we thought about how we used to play banjo-kazooie, it was completely embarrassing.

My poor husband listens and my friends listen but I don’t have the person that was there with me to talk about how ridiculous it was, how painful it was or how stupid we were. They don’t know the parts of the story to make fun of me about and they didn’t have the room next to mine for 21 years.

It’s just surreal, surreal that I can’t make fun of those memories with him and that my children won’t grow up hearing us reflecting on our adventures when we were their age. I grew up listening to my mom and Uncle Al talk about things they went through and funny stories about what Grandmother did to them when they would get in trouble. It’s difficult to think that he isn’t here to do that with me.

My memory bank is gone. The person that knows my parents like I do isn’t here. It’s hard when my dad is being a headache or my mom is doing something silly to not have him here to be like, what are they thinking or doing?! He knows how my dad can be a jerk and how it’s our job to calm mom down. I mean we’ve been through those things countless times together. But..Micah isn’t here. He’s gone. It’s just me. I think that it’s easy to take that for granted, having a memory bank. I know I definitely did. I promise that as I grow older and Tripp and I create our own memory bank to not take it for granted.

I hope someone can relate and maybe I can make someone feel less crazy because they are going through similar things. Grief is the hardest battle I’ve ever had to face, even when I’ve been told I’m doing it wrong, I have to believe that better days are ahead.

Ps. He would say this whole post is super gay. Sorry bub :).

This is the clip for the movie and it includes what inspired this post.

Happy Birthday Micah

I’ve been meaning to write the past couple a weeks so I apologize for just now getting to it.

August 17 would’ve been Micah’s 27th birthday and I wanted to write something for that but I honestly didn’t handle it as well as I would’ve liked. I had plans to get out of the house that day and do all this fun stuff but instead, I slept..A LOT. I did eat some pizza though (Micah’s fav) and saw my parents for about an hour and that helped. I just didn’t feel like moving that day and I knew I was too emotional to write a blog post. I hope next year on his birthday I am able to make myself get out of house and do something, something he enjoyed. His birthday fell on a Sunday this year and that night I was feeling absolutely defeated, defeated for not doing anything, for not really living his first birthday in heaven, for sleeping it away. I really beat myself up and got extremely ill at the world. I know if anyone else had been going through this that I would’ve been like it’s silly to be that hard on yourself, this is the first one, etc. But of course, I am my own worst enemy so my internal battle that night made that day even harder. I just felt like a failure. Tripp was supposed to work that day but he was sweet and stayed home which did help because it is easy to feel very lonely when it comes to events that remind me of Micah.

Birthdays were ALWAYS a big deal growing up. Heck, I even call mine Lindsaypalooza. Micah would always make fun of me and write, Happy Birthday Faggot in my card :). Never thought I’d miss being called Faggot! But my parents always made a big deal about birthdays and because me and Micah were so close growing up, we would even get small gifts on each other’s birthday. I remember one birthday in particular, it was Micah’s and he got $100 to go to Toys R Us and I got $20. It was a blast! We could buy whatever we wanted. But that was just an example of how my parents did our birthdays, so I knew it was gonna be hard. Plus we would always go to my Grandmother and Granddaddy’s house for birthday dinner, every year, even now.

So my plans were to write a blog post, in memory of his birthday. Then go to the movies and guitar center because those were his favorite things. I hope that I can stick to the plan next year, it’s just hard to make yourself when you’re feeling that blue.

It took me awhile to think about what I should write in honor of his birthday, I didn’t wanna focus on the depressing facts so I’m want to write a few facts that made me love my brother so much and remember him that way.

1) His nickname for me was Faggot, as mentioned above.
2) I never wanted a sister, I loved every second of having a brother and soaked in every ounce of boy knowledge. That being said, a lot of guys thought I was really cool for my knowledge of all sports and video games and it was ALL because of Micah. Needless to say without him here, I am very uncool. (thank God I’m done dating!)
3) When we were little we would sit in his room and play banjo kazooie on his N64, except we would mute the sounds and I would make them talk while he played. Don’t ask me but we thought this was hilarious.
4) I am an Auburn fan because of him and I haven’t processed not having him here this season. He was a huge Auburn fan and I didn’t even have to watch the game to know how it was going when I lived with him, when I heard “Yahhh!” “Go go go!” or clapping was a good sign, any expletives were all bad signs.
5) We did karate together for 7 years, so just picture our poor mom when we would fight at home.
6) He was the kindest dude in the world and I loved the talks we had when it was just me and him. Sometimes in hard situations I think about what he would say to me and it helps and makes me laugh.
7) Growing up with a brother makes you have extremely thick skin and I love that. Once before I left on a date, he so nicely informed me that I smelled like a tropical fruit nightmare. (thanks bub!)
8) He would be happy with how close his death has brought both sides on my family. He never understood arguing and only wanted everyone to get along and now I totally agree.
9) The summer of 09, we didn’t have AC at the trailer and I didn’t have a car yet so we watched all the seasons of The Wire in his room with ice packs all over our heads. One of the best memory’s I have.
10) Our love of caffeine is something to be scared of, me and him could match each other on caffeine intakes and it is quite scary. We loved us some energy drinks!

I think looking back, if I could give myself or anyone else that has yet to experience the first birthday of a brother/sister that has passed is to take it minute by minute, especially that day. Go with whatever you’re feeling, even if it’s exhausted. Don’t hate on yourself, especially this day. Make plans to do something fun but it’s okay if the day comes and you don’t want to do any of it. Don’t be alone, if you can’t find someone to be with you, call me! Again it’s a minute by minute process right now. I think the hardest thing is this first year, every day is a new day that you have yet to experience without your sibling so taking that in and knowing that it can effect you differently and it change you in an instant.

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It’s been a long year..

Whew, I know it’s been quite a few weeks since my first post but what I failed to mention in that one is that I was planning my wedding. Tripp and I set our wedding date in July 2013 so when my brother unexpectedly passed away just 15 short weeks before our date, we were forced to make some decisions that we had NO clue we would have to make. When planning a wedding one section that people forget to mention to you is, what if an unexpected death in your family happens? While that is super depressing, it is very real for us and caused a lot of hurdles in the last few months of our engagement.

I want to be as transparent as possible on this blog and that is what I plan to do. My goal is not to be super hateful or super depressing on here but to talk about some things I’ve experienced or am experiencing in hopes that someone who hasn’t been able to relate to anything before may find this relatable. My main passion in life is to help the lonely, no not the lonely for a soulmate kind of way but someone who feels that their situation is completely different from anyone else and who goes to bed at night feeling completely alone in what they are going through. I’ve had that feeling too many times and I never want to know of someone having that feeling when I could help in some way. So I hope that this blog brings about some kind of comfort for someone.

That being said, like I stated previously Tripp and I did not have unexpected death in our wedding plans, for financial sake or emotional sake. Our engagement was one of the toughest things I have ever been through, it had extreme highs and extreme lows and I am grateful for all of the persevering that we have gone through because the Bible says that God blesses those that persevere. It was not easy and we did not always handle it right, simply because we had no idea how to handle it, nor did we have it in our plan. In the end, we did what we needed to do, what we had to do and what we felt led to do, no matter how hard it was.

Tripp and I do not come from money and we make no bones about it that we are simple people that were both brought up on hard times. When we got engaged, we were overly excited and exceeded our budget fast. We were quickly brought back down to earth in January and tried to make do with what we had and also had some help from our parents which we greatly appreciated but like I said, we do not come from wealthy backgrounds which I feel is the normal thing for most now. We both have student loans and paid for our own bills at the time we got engaged. We did not have some grand savings to pull from and literally started saving aluminum cans from the second we got engaged. We lost a lot of wedding weight doing the ramen noodle diet and learned that life could still be complete even if we got rid of cable. We both made a lot of sacrifices for the wedding and trimmed down our idea of what a grand wedding would be. (All that being said, I was OVERJOYED with our wedding in the end and it perfectly fit the couple that we are!) When we first got engaged, we had a huge venue picked out, a huge guest list and a huge wedding party. Well life happened which brought our idea of the perfect venue down, as well as, eventually our wedding party became smaller. Some of you may be wondering what this has to do with me dealing with my brother dying but it was so close to our wedding and financially, my parents did not have a child’s funeral and a child’s wedding all saved up to happen in the same year just weeks apart. Around 7 weeks after Micah passed, Tripp lost his job. So with all that had just happened, we had no choice but to continue to trim on the wedding that was in just a few weeks and while the wedding party did not understand at all what we were going through financially or emotionally, the show went on. Everyone said that we would find out who our true friends are during these hard times and we truly, truly did and I am so thankful.

During all of the financial hardships we were being hit with I was still trying to comprehend having the worst day of my life and the best day of my life so close together in the same year. It was hard and I wanted and tried to talk Tripp into eloping more than a handful of times. He did not want me to have any regrets, which now I am so appreciative because our wedding was exactly what I needed. It was hard to have family pictures and it was hard to see him have pictures with his siblings. As we were on stage during the ceremony, at one point I did glance at the groomsmen and think of how in a perfect world Bub would be standing up there with them. Micah loved Tripp, honestly Micah wasn’t the type of brother that would be the big bad wolf. He would’ve said, “Screw everyone that has not tried to make this time easier on y’all, including myself.”

After all the hateful words, hard financial times, people not understanding, sadness and anger thrown our in our direction…our wedding and honeymoon was so perfect for us. It was really a day where I didn’t care how ugly anyone acted to me, if the flowers were the wrong color or if my cake was falling apart from the humidity, Tripp is mine and I am his.

A few wedding pictures:

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April 5th, 2014

My brother, Micah died on April 5th, 2014 at 26 years young. I hope that through this blog I can learn from others and their experience and somewhere along the way begin to help others heal from my experience.

My name is Lindsay Grace McKeever and I was born on October 27, 1990 to a  mother, a  father and big brother. Our family was always being tested and whether we always handled it right or not was a different story. What happened on April 5th, 2014 was something that we always knew COULD happen but is also something that you can NEVER be prepared for as a family, as a daughter or as a sister. I don’t know what I expected out of life when I found out my brother passed away, I do remember being terrified about what was about to happen with our lives. Our lives have always been dysfunctional, just like every family I know. Sometimes our struggles were different than others, but I knew how to handle it, I had it down to a science. Death is not something I had dealt with often, my Aunt died in 2011, she had been sick for a while so it was a bittersweet time that we were just thankful that she was no longer in pain, but other than losing her I was pretty fortunate to not have lost many.

It has the been hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through and unfortunately, the comments that others have made following Micah’s death and how he died have been destructive to the healing process for me. It is truly ridiculous the things people think is okay to say to others grieving. Even though I had never dealt with a death this personal before, I have the common sense to know what is comforting and what is cruel. I would say the two cruelest things I have heard is: “At least he isn’t causing you pain anymore.” & “Why is everyone acting surprised that he died?” I have even been told that I am not grieving properly, as well. So it is pretty shocking when you have been told multiple times that there is “no rule book to grieving” then to hear that I am letting grieving take over my life or I am not doing it correctly. This world is cruel and I often find myself being envious that Micah is in heaven and he left me here to overcome all of this. I hope that as I get through this I will truly develop such a compassion toward others and that I will be able to use Micah’s death to help others see that they are more than the words people use to describe or define them and that God does not see those words when He looks at His children. I keep saying that if I can help one person with Micah’s death or how he died or even how I am handling his death then it will all make sense and I really feel the need to help others. I feel desperate for all of this to make sense. I feel desperate to learn as much about heaven as possible. I need to know that Bub’s okay and what he’s doing and that he knows even in death I will have his back and use his story.

I haven’t spoken to Micah since January 12th due to his actions, but I did not hate Micah. I feel sad that people would even think that I should or that I could hate my only brother and my only sibling. Micah was not his actions or his addiction. He was my brother, my parent’s son and loved by many. I feel bad for those who didn’t know Micah because he had the BIGGEST heart and was such a goofball.

I hope that through this blog I can find healing and comfort. I hope that someone can stumble across this and find something beneficial as well. I am desperate to help others and pray that no one will have to hear some of the cruel things I have when grieving. If you are someone that is currently grieving, please know that you are already so much stronger than people who make those comments. That by waking up everyday and doing life is a huge accomplish. That God is such a comforter and He can truly be your everything and your strength during this time.

 

One day at a time.

 

In His steps,

 

Linds