Saturday, November 24, 2012

The End of The Day

So many people say that the hardest part of losing someone is forcing yourself to get out of bed each and every morning. However, for me, that is the easy part.  For me, the hard part comes at the end of each and every day.  You fight through so many challenges throughout the day as you shed sweat, blood, and tears.  You laugh, you cry, you do what you have to do to fit a smile in here and there.  Then, the end of the day comes and you look back on everything you’ve done throughout the day, good or bad, easy or difficult, and time and time again you’re forced to realize one thing...

No matter what decisions you make
No matter how hard you push yourself
No matter what you do with your life

He isn’t coming back

You then close your eyes and, once again, cry yourself to sleep because sleeping is the only way to get through the darkness that comes with the night.  You cry, because you cannot follow.  You cry, because you still have to wake up the next day and fight through it and do everything you’ve always done to make him proud, but now you have to go to bed with the same dark realization as each night previous since you've lost him...

Loss and sorrow are a cold, dark, and miserable place and I wouldn’t wish them on anyone.  Some days are easier to smile than others.  I have amazing friends who support me and make it easier.  However, at the end of the day - no matter how much support, or laughter, or mini victories you have - it always ends with the same damn reality running through your head:

Your brother is dead.


Holiday season fricken sucks...

McConnell Out.

                                                                      Another day fought
Another inner war won
So gather up what’s left
The day is now done

Soft rain cascades down her cheeks
The thunder tears through her cries
Victory’s weight bears down on her shoulders
To give in is her demise

Another day fought
Another inner enemy defeated
So gather up the pieces
For tomorrow, this battle will be repeated
    (c) MEM 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012


A million calming emotions can be expressed through a smile.  Every day I smile for those around me.  I smile for my patients, my friends, my family, myself...  I've buried the dark clouds within me so deeply that when they finally surface they are a raging storm.  I wish there was some way I could convey to those who don't understand what it's like to lose the single person you are most close to.  Every time you go out and search in the world for someone or multiple someone else to take care of you like the one you lost did you come up disappointed and empty handed.  I wish I could describe to the world the pain that occurs when you re-realize that they're gone. 

I could be having a really amazing day - happy as can be without a care in the world.  Then, out of no where, some random event triggers a memory... the event could be happy or sad - and not everything directly related to Ian brings it up... shoot-- I could talk about him for hours and be fine!  However, for some reason, random unexpected things strike me at just the right angle and my mind and heart remind me over and over again that he's gone. 


I cannot emphasize those words enough.  They are the words that strike the deepest and hurt the most.  Yes, it's a reminder, but it's more than that.. I have no idea how to describe it- I really don't.  It's like the words bring with them a hurricane all on their own.  I'm swept away in the realization of the truth of these words.  Every time, without fail, no matter how much time has passed, it all feels fresh once again.  In my mind and in my heart it is as if I just learned my brother has died and I'm having to deal with it all over again.  In my mind and my heart, my brother died today - that really is how it felt.  I know he died over a year ago and today isn't even a monthly anniversary, but my entire being feels the freshness of the pain just as strongly as it did the first day, if not stronger.  Each day I realize I have to keep going on without him is not another battle, but another war in and of itself.  I really do not know how to do this life without him.  As people in my life let me down left and right it's another painful reminder of the ever strong support I had with Ian.  People will say that he is still there supporting me in my heart, but, dammit people - it's not the same!  I'm sick of people trying to make me feel better - I know y'all have good intentions, but it doesn't help!  The pain and the reality are still the same and my brother is still gone.  Unless you can bring him back, don't even try.  Just give me a hug and leave me alone to, once again, swallow my 'new' reality.

I have an amazing job and my own apartment and I finally feel like my life is moving forward as far as success is concerned.  However, I still feel like I'm at a standstill.  I don't want to move forward without my brother and yet, here I am, having to move, reluctant step after reluctant step, forward into my future without him.  Yes, I do have my happiness a lot more, but all my happiness feels like some sort of a cover for the clouds and the storms still raging deep within me.  Life just doesn't make sense without Ian.  It's as if I cannot force myself to fully accept that this is reality and not just some nightmare I'll awaken from one day.  I miss my brother and I'd give anything to be able to hear his voice coaching me through life once more... (once again, please don't give me that 'he's talking to me through my heart or from what I learned from him in the past crap... it's not the same and you all know it!  So just... seriously, STOP)  I just want my brother.  I don't want anyone's advice!  I'm sick of people giving me advice on how to still feel like my brother is around.  I hate it more than anything else!  He is GONE.  Stop trying to make me feel for something that isn't really there.  He's NOT there.  I want him back as he was before July 2nd, 2011.  I want my flesh and blood brother back.  I want to be back to starting our real future out in California together.  I want to go back to our plans to buy my mom's house and live close to each other!  I want my kids to hear stories from their crazy uncle Ian!  I want to know what his kids would look like!  I want nieces and nephews... real, blood, nieces and nephews.  I'll NEVER have them!  Marriage nieces and nephews are one thing, but I want to grow up spoiling my brother's kids - and now I never will.  To those of you who have siblings with kids - cherish your nieces and nephews forever.  They are such an amazing blessing.  For those of you who have always been an only child - be glad.  You never have to deal with expecting to one day have amazing nieces and nephews running around and then have that torn away from you.  Nothing in life is certain and it sucks.

I want my brother... I want my future with him back.  I want my real dreams back.  The career I'm in, yes, it's part of my dream... but all of my dreams seem pointless without my brother in them...I hate it.

On that terrible July 2011 entire life stopped making sense and it hasn't made sense since.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A New Kind of Christmas

The First Christmas Alone
Getting through the holidays without him
There’s a Marine, freshly graduated from bootcamp, behind me as I fly home for Christmas this year.  He sleeps so deeply that even the turbulence and the crying children all around don’t disturb him in the least bit.  He’s gone through so much and been so sleep deprived over the past three months, it must feel so good for him to finally be able to rest his eyes for real.  There is no way he can even imagine what things will be like from here on...
I remember flying home with Ian after he graduated from bootcamp...He was one of the few Marines from his class that refused to wear his uniform on the plane.  He claimed he was sick of it and was embarrassed any time my mom gushed on about how proud she was and how her son was now a Marine.  On the plane, I sat in the middle, my mom was in the window and my brother was in the aisle.  Like the Marine currently behind me, my brother quickly fell into a deep well-earned sleep.  I took a picture of him sleeping on the plane.  At the time, I took it because he was pretty much sleeping with his mouth wide open or his chin so deeply nestled in his chest that he looked ridiculous.  Now, that picture is such a cherished memory.  I can still remember how it felt to slip my arm around my brother’s (even though he tried to tighten up so I couldn’t slip it in there... he gave up eventually!) then rested my head against his shoulder and fell asleep myself.  I can still remember the feel of that fabric against my face.  My brother’s scent filling up my senses for the first time in three months. 
I now find myself thinking of other encounters with Ian.  I remember the day he graduated bootcamp.  I was snapping pictures left and right as they marched around.  I fell in love with California on that day with the bright sunshine and gorgeous weather.  However, it wasn’t the sunshine and the weather that really made me fall in love, it was the fact that I was there with my brother.  
The graduation seemed to take forever.  Ian’s squad first ran up in their short pt shorts and I couldn’t help but laugh.  My mom and I noticed Ian sneak a look our way and smile.  I remember that exact look and that exact boyish crack of a smile perfectly.  I was freaking out the entire run and throughout the entire graduation as they marched in perfect unison in front of us.  I cheered so loudly as my brother received his Eagle Globe and Anchor and when it was finally time for us to greet our Marines I SPRINTED down from the stands, ahead of my family and ran straight into Ian’s arms.  He’d remained dry-eyed until the moment we connected.  As I jumped into his arms and he hugged tightly I could feel his tears on my shoulders.  He hugged me so tightly and kept whispering over and over in my ear.  “I love you, sis.  I’ve missed you.  I love you, I’ve missed you... I love you.... I’ve missed you.”  Mom had to pry us apart in order to get her hug, but I can still feel my brothers tears when I close my eyes and feel his arms around me tight.  My brother was coming home with us... he was coming home.  (On a side note:  The next morning at home I woke up to him watching elmo’s world downstairs... that’s my brother!)
It’s difficult how, out of the many flights we’d flown together through our lives, I only remember two of them vividly.  His flight home from bootcamp, and his final flight. 
 It’s been so difficult these past few months as my life has been taking major turns and I don’t have my brother to tell about it all.  I want so badly to tell him about how I am now an EMT... I want to hear him say that he’s proud of me that he loves me... People keep saying that he is telling me that in my heart and that he knows, but it isn’t the same...  
Now, I’m flying over Colorado on my way home to Minnesota for the first time since the funeral.  It’s Christmas in two days and yet I refuse to believe that it’s the Holiday season.  There’s been no arguing over whose year it is to put the star on Christmas day on our ornament calendar nor arguments over which ornaments get to be hung by which one of us on the tree.  (Granted, the last time we had these arguments, they were purely for the fun of it and we were each trying to force the other to do all the work)  There will be no phone calls, no Christmas care packages, no presents for Ian this year.  It really is amazing how the greatest present every Christmas that he was deployed, the one we got the most excited over, was a phone call and the chance to hear his voice... to hear him say that he loves us.  There will be no snow balls thrown at my face every time we went outside, no being pushed in the snow bank, no cranking the heat in the Ranger together as we slip and slide around on our way to go see the family.  I miss the feeling I got simply from sitting in that truck next to him...I was home.  
People keep telling me that they don’t know who I am anymore.  That I seem to have lost myself... that I need to let go.  The thing is, I’m not holding on to anything that I’m ever going to let go of.  I will forever hold on to my brother because he will forever be a part of me.  As for me being lost... I am lost.  Not only am I lost, I’m homeless.  When I was with my brother is the only time I have ever felt at home.  Even the homeless have a home somewhere.  Your home is wherever you feel most relaxed, most like yourself... it is where you can open your heart and just trust.  Ian was my home... so with that description... yeah... I have lost myself.  I felt it shatter and fall away the day I opened that door. 
There’s no place like home for the Holidays.  I’m glad I’m flying back to MN this week.  I plan on spending the vast majority of the 25th with my home.  Freezing my butt off with him once more at the Fort Snelling Cemetery.  It will be nice to be close to my brother again... to wish him a Merry Christmas and tell him that I love him.
It’s a tear-drenched Christmas this year and as we move forward into the 2012 year, I brace myself for my first year without him... 2011 was difficult, but at least I had my brother for half of it.  2012, however, I’m on my own.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Saddest Happiness

Hours and hours of studying and stress.  Days and days of exhaustion and no social life.  Finally, the day has come where I have to take my EMT-B written exam.  My stomach was completely knotted and my hands were shaking as I approached the computer and carefully chose each answer.  One-Hundred and Fifty questions later, I've passed.  I'm able to relax and be happy with my classmates and practice our practical skills with ease now that the worst part is over.  I'm able to be happy and relieved that I passed.  Then class ends... I get in my car... and reality sets in once more.

I want to tell Ian...

I want more than anything in the world to call him right now and tell him that I passed my exam.  That I'm finally finishing the training he proudly watched me start a year ago.  That I'm finally moving forward with my life and really making something of myself.  I want to call him and tell him more than anyone in the world.  My heart is once again torn in half.  I don't want to move forward with life... not if Ian isn't here to tell me he's proud of me... It's as if so many of life's joys have been robbed out from under me because I don't have my best friend to share them with.  I want to tell Ian I passed my test... reality has hit me so hard once more.  It just doesn't make sense... this isn't how it's supposed to be... I am left, on one of the happiest and proudest days in my life, a broken down and crying mess on my floor... I just want my bruh bruh...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Four Months

Four Months....

I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone by and yet how fresh the pain still feels.  As I trudge through this rainy day, I find myself feeling oddly nostalgic for the funeral home room where Ian's casket had resided for the visitation. I wish I could go back to that dimly lit room, the smell of his decay floating in the air, complete silence all around me, and just sit with him and cry on the couch once again.  I wish I could feel the comfort of knowing that there was a Marine in the next room - a random stranger - that was watching over my brother and myself.  I wish I could feel Ian's physical presence right there with me again.  Even in death, his body still warmed the room.  On the day my brother's body was placed in the ground, I completely cracked.  That warmth, that feeling of him still being near me was lost in the ground.  It was in that moment that the full reality hit me.

He's left me here, alone.

I wish I could have stayed in the dark with him forever...

Instead, the light shines on me and I'm forced to keep stepping forward into reality.

One step at a time, 
I get through each day.  
One tear at a time, 
I cry myself to sleep each night.  
All I want is Ian. 
All I want is my big brother.

It's strange to me, that I keep wanting to be in that dimly lit room.  Although I do wish that I could have Ian back, this isn't even why I wish to be back in that room.  However, what I do want is for that feeling of warmth and comfort in my sorrow.  I want to feel that raw pain again.  I want to be in the same room as him again.  There was something almost warm about when I first found out he was gone.  I am not sure if it was the hope that he could possibly still be alive, or if it was all the support  we had from loved ones, or if it was simply the nice calming break from life - but it was warm despite the cold sorrow.  Now, I feel only icy cold jabbing into my heart.  It is a feeling of deep despair and exhaustion while feeling numb through and through.  I just want to break off from the rest of the world and sit with my brother.  I'd give anything to curl up with a sleeping bag by his grave and fall asleep right there for days on end. I just want to be near my brother once more.

Time and time again I reach for my phone to call and tell Ian about something going on in my life, or ask him if he wants to come over for Thanksgiving, or see if he plans on seeing the new Batman movie, or if he's heard about a new video game coming out.  Time and time again I'm left drowning in the sorrow of realization as I place my phone back into my pocket.

I have so much love and support around me and yet none of it feels like enough.  No one is my brother and no one could ever be my brother.  I'm so grateful for all that everyone has been trying to do, but it isn't the same.  I'm able to forget for a few hours while I hang out with friends or go dancing at In Cahoots, but, at the end of the day, I'm still left to deal with the pain.  No one understands it - no one can fully comprehend my pain.  All I want to do is curl up on that couch again, smell my brother's scent (decay or not... it was still Ian...) and sleep.

I miss you, Ian.  I miss you more than you or anyone else could possibly know.  We had a friendship closer than any I have ever seen.  Thank you for always being open with me and sharing the details of your life.  I love you so much.  You are my one and only forever.  Just like you can't be you without me, I cannot be me without you.  Instead I'm lost in this lump of sorrow.  I try to move forward, I try to let other people help pull me out, but, at the end of the day, I'm just stuck here without you.  I need my angel to come save me...

I love you always, best friend.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Moving Forward


That is the only word I can think of to describe how I have felt since the day my brother died.  I wish that God would literally move my body like a puppett so I don't have to think to move it myself.  Work, school, finances - even social life - I just want to quit it all and lay on the beach and cry.  I'm so exhausted and stressed.  Dealing with life and all of its crap, even the good things, is almost too much for me right now.

I sit at work - I do everything I can to smile and be extra awesome and friendly to patients as they come in and on the phone, but I feel myself just draining away and wanting to be anywhere else but here.

School - I study for hours on end - I do everything I can to retain all the information.  Being a good EMT and eventually an excellent Paramedic means everything to me.  However, no matter how hard I study, it is like nothing sticks any more.  My brain is fried.  I know all this information already and yet, when it comes time to take the tests online, I just cannot do it.

Social Life - I love spending time with my friends and I love being around them, but there are so many things I just do not want to deal with.  Regular friendships are awesome, but the idea of a relationship just completely overwhelms me.  It's almost like I don't ever want to be in a relationship ever again and yet I want to feel loved and be held...all the things that come with a relationship without the emotional side of it from me.  I want to take care of them, make them food etc, but emotionally... it's like I'm completely shut off.  I just cannot care.

I want so badly to be a completely caring person like I used to be.  I want to be like Ian, but no matter how hard I try it's like I just plain cannot care anymore.  I keep plugging forward, keep doing everything I need to do, but the motivation just isn't there.  It's like Ian took everything that made me... ME... with him.

I suppose it makes sense.  When Ian died my home went with him.  Ian was who raised me and he is everything that makes up who I am.  Now, I just don't know where to go.  I lost my idol, my life, my everything... and I no longer know how to be Meg, because Meg and Ian were the same person with only slight modification.  It's not that I've never been me all these years, it's that me was Ian.  (if that makes any sense...) 

I keep dreading the weirdest things.  The idea of getting married and not knowing who is going to walk me down the aisle.  After my dad and my relationship became slightly rocky, I always knew it would be Ian, but now who?  I dread my next birthday, because Ian will forever be stuck at the age of 24.  We will no longer be 3 years apart... the day I pass Ian in age... it's going to crush me. 

Christmas without Ian is going to be empty.  We were at least able to count on a phone call from him around that time.  Now, we can expect nothing.

I've also lost my ability to fly for free through my dad.  Delta is having an audit, so I can no longer get by as just an EMT student.  I have to be a full time bachelor degree pursuing student.  I feel completely marooned - separated from Ian, my mom, my friends in Michigan.  California is no longer an easy transition.  I'm completely lost in what I need and where I need to be. 

I'm clinging to God, still, with all that I am.  I put my entire being into my faith to survive, but my heart cannot even feel the familiar fire burning inside.  It really is as if everything inside of me as just died.

I'm sorry this has seemed to be nothing except a depressive rant, but welcome to life after death.  I know it will get better one day - or that is what people keep telling me, but, in the mean time, this is how I am.  :-\

McConnell Out

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I need you...

I want so badly to be with my brother - I want so badly to see him again.  I need to hear him tell me he loves me, that I'm beautiful and that he will never leave me, but he can't...

I'm so sick and tired of being strong.  Ian was always the strong one and he's the one who is gone - how the hell do people expect me to keep holding on when he's the one that was always so much stronger than me??  What does the world expect from me?  What the hell kind of future could possibly exist without my brother - I hate it.  I miss Ian so damn much.

I'm so tired of being strong... why did Ian leave me here to fight alone when he is supposed to be fighting through this messed up life with me?  Why isn't he here every time my heart is broken or I need advice?  Why isn't he here??

I need him so badly - I'm clinging to God with all that have left and still I've completely run out of strength.  I need my bruh bruh...

I love you Ian... come back... I need my home - my safe haven - my place to rejuvenate... please...