My brother

My older brother committed suicide 20 years ago. I will never really know why. The pain is still there. He shouldn't have been the one to die. He had so much to live for. It should have been me. I have nothing left to live for. I don't know why I'm here.

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  • People will tell you that 20 years is too long to continue to grieve, or to allow the death of a loved one to so adversely impact your life. I say that's nonsense. Grief takes the amount of time it takes, whatever it is. Personally, I'll tell you that I am very sorry that you have experienced this loss and that it has had the effect it's had on you. It's heartbreaking and it's sad. I'll also tell you that I've spent a lot of time wondering and worrying about why I'm here, with little in the way of absolute answers. What I can say about it is that I believe we are here for love. I could put that in a theological context for you, or a philosophical one, but it would probably mean little to you so I won't do either. I can't tell from your post how old you are, but my impression is that you're old enough to understand love, and probably in many settings. You clearly loved your brother, but there are sure to be others in your life that you love, or that love you. There are also likely to be things in your life that you love, or that simply have meaning to you, whether they are vocational, avocational or some combination of the two. Developing those relationships or things is vital to happiness and to enjoying - and appreciating - life. I'm not telling you to find the love of your life (though that would be wonderful), but simply to place yourself in situations where you have the opportunity to put your own love into them. Giving love is so much better (and easier) than finding it and accepting it. Doing that will make you a happier person and a better one, and will make you one who appreciates the gift of life. Finally, I strongly recommend that you find a counselor or therapist, a professional who can give you some guidance about these things and help you to shape your way of looking at and experiencing the world. It's easier for me to say than for you to see, but it's true: the world, and your place in it, is not as bad as it seems. I wish you the best of luck.

  • Thank you very much for the kind and insightful response. I am old enough to know about love. Unfortunately anyone who I ever loved I ended up losing. I would love to find love. I don't think its meant for me. I have things in life I enjoy and people I care about but not to the extent you describe. I fear that my punishment is to live out the rest of my life feeling incredibly empty and lonely.

  • They say of happiness that it's not a destination but a means of transportation. That is to say, it's a choice we make about how we live our lives. Love is the same. We do not find it, nor does it find us. We make it, shape it, create it. We do that around us as much as we can, every day, in every situation in which we find ourselves. It isn't immediate. It accrues over time. But the more we give, the more we receive. The more we put out into the world, the more comes back to us. I know that sounds like psychobabble, but it isn't, please believe me. It's absolutely true. And I know it's true because I have seen it at work in my own life and in the lives of others. You're obviously a caring person, and so that leads me to believe that you're a loving person, as well. It may seem to you like your love is wasted or thwarted or pointless, but it isn't. Please don't allow your feeling that you're being punished (you aren't) to produce the self-fulfilling prophecy of feeling vacant and disconnected. Put yourself in the midst of others, and in the service of others. Soon, I think you'll recognize that giving (of yourself) will generate more blessings -- and more love -- than you can imagine.

  • I wish I could believe that but I can't. I give of myself to people and to the world. The more of myself I give the people take. What you describe is an idealized version of life. You may be fortunate enough to have that happen to you but for most people it doesn't work that way. For whatever reason I've been put on this earth I will live out the rest of my days as best I can. I will leave myself open for whatever may come my way but I seriously doubt it's going to be love and happiness. There are many times I feel guilty to even be alive. I know I'm here for a reason and if it's to be punished for whatever wrongs I may have done so be it. There are times I really wish I could join my brother and everyone else I lost but I don't because I fear what would come next. So whatever happens will happen.

  • If you truly believe that, then that is precisely what will happen to you. If your attitude about the world and your place in it is so relentlessly negative, then my recommendation is to find a professional counselor, one you like and trust, and work on your perspectives. The effort will be worthwhile. I feel for you, and I wish you only the best.

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