It was May 1998 when my Step-Father committed suicide at home. I was 7 years old at the time and my mother, my 2-year sister and I found him hanging in the master bedroom closet. Now, luckily, when a person, especially a child, experiences something as traumatic as this, your brain typically defaults to a defence mechanism that forces you to either forget, disassociate or pretend that what you had just experienced is not real. Typically a child will act out the scenario during play to learn to understand and cope with what they went through. My brain on the other hand protected me by erasing large gaps in my memory associated with the trauma, as well as, very random portions of my life up until this point. I am fascinated by our brains and how they can protect us and pick and choose what we allow to surface into our minds or keep hidden for as long as possible. One of the memories I will never forget from that traumatic event were these delicate hand made construction paper cards that my classmates, who were only in 2nd grade at the time, made for me to remind me that I was thought of during such a confusing and difficult time. When I look at these cards now, I wonder if they truly knew what happened or if they were simply told that there was a death in the family? Of course, being so young, there was no true way of wrapping their heads around what exactly went on. When I look at each unique card, I am reminded that through each other their innocence, even beyond their comprehension of the event, that love, care and sympathy were not lost. I have held onto these cards for 22 years now, and since my brother's recent suicide this past May 2020, these cards have resurfaced into my view to remind me to keep my hope, my love and my care at the very surface of my mind.
I decided to title each card under the name of the child who made it for me. Although my mind won't allow me to remember who they are or were back then, I still wanted to make sure I didn't forget that they were very real to me at some point and I once called them my friends. These young amazing kids affected my life for the better and I want to honour them for it. Little do they know these small acts of kindness were the glimmer of hope for me to look at the good in a very bad situation and that made all the difference in my world.