Today, I’m mad at you.
I’m mad at you for leaving me here, alone. I’m mad at you because you made a really fucking poor choice, a choice that will continuously impact me, our parents, and people you knew for the rest of our lives.
I’m mad because after you died, there was tremendous sadness. I’m mad at you because after seeing the outpouring of grief over your life, I at a very young age came to the conclusion the wrong Maher child died. Sometimes, I still feel this way.
I’m mad at you because I had to see my father cry. To hear the shriek and crack of his voice after he learned he would never see his only son ever again is of the most vivid and terrifying memories I have. I’m mad because the death of a child is the worst thing a parent can go through, and it has rotted mom & dad to their core, leaving shells of the people they used to be. Mom & dad are now social recluses and barely venture off the back patio, the only place they have seem to have some sort of solace now. Dad doesn’t sit in the living room on the chair and listen to one of his cd’s from his vast collection anymore, he now just sits in front of news channels letting the stories wash over his sorrow. His CD’s sit untouched and unloved, collecting dust. Mom has talk radio on 24/7, trying to fill the houses silence with gab. It irks me like no other…and the sound of it is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Probably because I know the only reason it’s on is because your laughter doesn’t fill the air anymore.
I’m mad at you because Marian & Michael Maher are the two greatest people I know, and they never ever deserved this.
I’m mad at you because we don’t really celebrate holidays anymore, with the exception of Christmas, thanks to the amazing support of the Byrne clan. Besides that, however, there is no joy associated with holidays for us, only seasonal reminders that you aren’t here. On Christmas I loved creating the holiday town scene with the small houses and figurines, spending hours crafting the perfect snowy village on Christmas Eve. I’m mad at you because we haven’t pulled out any decorations for Christmas in four years…soon to be five in another two months. I’m mad at you because I haven’t listened to my favorite Johnny Mathis or Harry Connick Jr. Christmas albums in what feels like forever…and I don’t know when I will again.
I’m mad at you for missing my prom, my high school graduation, my first day of college, my last day of college and my 21st birthday. I’m mad at you because you weren’t there my freshman year for my first bar trip, and I sat in a bathtub and cried about it for hours after. I’m mad because on my way to my college graduation, I silently sobbed to myself in the backseat of the car while mom and dad rode in the front because I didn’t want to burden them. I’m mad because sometimes my sadness gets so pent up because I’m scared to let mom & dad see it because it’s exhausting enough dealing with ones one grief, let alone setting off someone elses.
I’m mad at you because you will not gift me nieces or nephews. I’m mad at you because we will not grow up to be next door neighbors in a cul-de-sac, like you dreamed about. I’m mad because you won’t be the maid of honor at my wedding, a role that you voluntarily asked me to fill when I was sixteen. I’m mad because when our parents are elderly, I will have to care for them both by myself. I’m mad because when I lose them both, I will be the only Maher left on this Earth.
I’m mad at you because at the age of 17, I lost my faith in God. I went from being a devout Catholic to avoiding the Church, prayer, and beliefs all together. I don’t know what to believe anymore.
I’m mad at you because you left a lot of baggage back here on Earth, that I ended up bearing most of. I’m mad because I’ve had to hear many friends of yours claim stories and argue that they were either your best friend, oldest friend, closest friend, etc. When in all reality, I firmly believe that I was your best friend. I’m so tired of competing with other people and the claim that they loved you the most. I’m mad because I’ve read your name tattooed on multiple peoples bodies, read it written in odd places by random people, and I’ve even been told at a college party that I “look just like him” by a complete stranger, who didn’t even bother to identify or introduce himself to me, as if he was entitled to make public claim on a private struggle of mine. I’m tired of people telling me your private stories. I don’t need to know all your stories nor have I ever wanted to. I’m tired of sympathizing others sadness, while I’ve barely got a handle on mine.
I’m mad because you have left me with incredibly deep inadequacy issues. Do you know how fucking exhausting it is to day-in and day-out compete with a dead man’s legacy? It’s like I’m running on a never-ending hamster wheel trying to obtain an unreachable goal. I’m mad at you because I feel that I not only have to live my life, but yours as well. I’m mad at you because I’ve had people feed me ideas of what I should be like, based on how you lived your life. I’m mad at you because I have a constant, nagging feeling that I need to be perfect. I’m mad at you because since you were the life of the party, I feel compelled to be too, despite the fact that I don’t like binge-drinking, and I personally don’t always want to be the most drunk girl at the party. I’m mad at you because I don’t know who I am – am I Erin Maher? Or am I Erin, a facade of a real person looking to fulfill Ryan Maher’s life?
I’m mad at you because I’ve tried so hard to let people see that look, I’m okay, and your death has made no impact on the quality of my life, whatsoever. I’m mad because no matter how hard I work or what I accomplish both professionally or socially, your death will always be a grim shadow, darkening my past.
I’m mad at you because over the past four years, and eight months, I’ve been to two support groups, four therapists, and spent countless hours talking about the trauma that your death brought upon my life. I’m mad at you because your loss has manifested itself in not one, but two separate eating disorders, one of which I’m currently under treatment for.
I’m mad at you, because I often feel so alone and isolated. I’m mad at you because at twenty-two years old, death lingers on my mind constantly, and that I often think morbid thoughts of how would people react if I died. I’m mad at you because my isolation has made me seek acceptance from guys who have taken advantage of me and made me feel as if my existence made no impact upon theirs. I’ve put up with it and time and time again returned to be in the nest of their arms because I am so terrified of being alone. I’m also mad at you because as my big brother, you’re not here to beat them up on my behalf.
I’m mad at you, Ryan, for dying. And I hope that one day I can find the strength to forgive you.