Suicide: when one intentionally stops their heart from beating. It was only a simple seven letter word, yet it was powerful enough to fill me with profound fear and sorrow, powerful enough to teach me about my own capacity for love and powerful enough to reveal my own inner strength. At twelve, the word suicide was something I had minimal understanding of, simply the fact that people occasionally decided to end their lives. At twelve, the word suicide did not mean depths of darkness or rolling waves of tears. No, suicide was only a simple seven letter word in the dictionary, something that affected “other” people. I remember when my mother said, “Aaron has committed suicide”. I remember the night I learned about the power of words, as the word suicide took on more meaning than I ever imagined was possible. The word suicide became my brother and as life went on, that word began to create a complexity of emotions, ideas and feelings. Suicide: one simple word, yet so life altering. Initially, it was as if those seven letters were pushed hundreds of kilometers apart, the space between them filled with unfathomable sorrow. The pain spanned so far and deep, that I began to revolve around it, its weight pulling me down in all directions. It was like filling a plastic bag with water and trying to carry it on my head: I could not do it without breaking the bag and spilling water all over myself. A plastic bag was never meant to carry that sort of weight alone. Every time I would hear the word suicide it was like the plastic bag breaking. I remember in gym class when the teacher asked us to do “suicides” as a warm-up and in drama class when suicide would come up in conversation. The bag of water would instantaneously break, cascading a waterfall of emotions, tears and painful memories. For a long time, it was challenging to speak or hear the word suicide. I did not know a single word was capable of bringing about such deep emotional pain. Seven simple letters, yet powerful enough to pull me apart and leave me full of heart wrenching sorrow and fear. As time went on, the letters gradually moved closer together, as I learned not to run from what hurt me. Instead of pulling me apart, the word suicide began to help me come together. I learned about what it truly meant to be a human being, capable of experiencing emotions and about my own capacity for love. Once I began to look deeper, past the fear and the sadness I had experienced, I became aware of the root cause of the depth of my pain: my own ability to love. “…Within all pain are tiny buds of beauty and within all beauty, seeds of pain…” (Catherine Garland). This is what the meaning of those seven letters evolved into, as I began to understand that the pain I had experienced, deep as it was, was directly related to the love I felt for my brother. Gradually, the word suicide began to extend its arms in the opposite direction. Away from the darkness and towards gratitude for being alive and gratitude for the beautiful relationship I had with my brother. As the years went by, along with the letters becoming more closely spaced together, the weight of the word became less as I learned how to carry it in a stronger container. I learned how to allow grief and joy to exist in the same space and how both happiness and sorrow could be peaceful. I learned how to seek out a meaningful life for myself amidst the grief. Instead of pulling me apart, the word suicide became a representation of my own inner strength and courage in learning to live with sadness. It has been five years now and I still think of my brother whenever I hear the word suicide, but it does not carry the same weight that it used to. Instead, those seven letters symbolize a defining part of my early teen years when I learned about the depth at which pain can exist, about my own capacity to love and about strength and courage. The word suicide is like a tap that never stops dripping. A word so powerful, that wherever I go, it will always be there, a part of who I am. Yet, it is gentler now; like rays of moonlight cascading across the rocks, rather than the blinding light of the sun in my eyes. Now, the words serves as a reminder to myself of the importance of reaching out for help in order to learn to live deliberately amidst the sorrows that come with living life.