My brother Axel left this earth six years ago. He took his own life under the influence of alcohol. Suicide is prominent in Alaska. It’s a topic people tend to shy away from as to sweep it under the rug. When the thing we should do as communities is bring awareness to this darkness. It is a darkness, when someone feels like life is no longer worth living, that the best solution is to take your own life, that all your problems are too big, that is darkness. The only way out, the only light, is through Jesus. I do not condemn nor condone the act of suicide. Those of us left behind, have a hurt in our hearts that needs to heal. When there is a wound in our heart, and we don’t allow Jesus to heal it, it festers and becomes a weight on our shoulders causing more havoc in our lives. When we give our hurt, our pain and our burdens to God, we lift that weight. The memory of those we lost may fade with old age, but there are sparks of oh so precious memoires that are treasures worth more than anything this world can offer. What this world offers is darkness, people succumb to darkness daily, most without even realizing it. Action or lack there of to help those in need, desires and lust for materialistic possessions, thoughts of judgment on those less fortunate and the list goes on. The human tendencies to be human are what make us all human. I know with all my imperfections, all the times I fell short or felt less than, at the end of this day I rejoice for I am loved beyond measure, just as my brother who has gone on before me is loved beyond measure. There is healing and hope and love in the belief of the unconditional love we all have, but not yet share. For this love is a choice, a choice to accept or deny, life or death, darkness or light. There is no riding the fence, no half in half out. People either choose to wholeheartedly accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior or not. That is a personal choice no one can force anyone to make. Once you do find this love, your whole world changes. With time the understanding of what love is, what it can be and what you would be without it. I see the joy, I see the love and I see the hope each day presents, because I choose to see each day as that. So on this day, that I remember as the day my brother was born, I send out love, hope and joy to the heavens and I put my faith in God. Love and be love, for you are loved.