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“This is a story about my big sister, who should be turning 43 this month. I vividly remember the moments before her death like a bad dream: she was 16 at the time, and I was 7. It seemed like a regular day- I was just watching TV in our living room but caught her staring at me. When I questioned her, she just said that she loved me and left the room. I think we were the only two home at the time, so it wasn’t until my dad got home about 30mins later that we discovered she had gone into my parents’ room, taken a gun out of the nightstand, and ended her life.

I don’t remember much about after that, or who or how anyone told me, but I remember knowing exactly what had happened. I don’t think at that age it was even fathomable to me that this was something that actually happened (this was also the year *before* Kurt Cobain’s death), but I certainly knew then.

I think a lot about the silence around mental illness at the time- she certainly wasn’t in any treatment, no diagnosis of any kind- just a seemingly normal teen who occasionally got into trouble. Since then, I have been paying attention to the culture and stigma around mental health- we have a long way to go but we have also improved so much. It’s honestly bittersweet for me, because while I’m glad for that and try to contribute to that positive change, I also think that if she had been a teenager today, we could have saved her. I just miss her so much.”