Familial Ties and Broken Bonds

It’s been quite some time. And Life hasn’t been kind.

Friday – 3:00 a.m., April 28th, 2017.

Three uniformed officers are ringing my doorbell. Once we determine that neither D or myself is getting arrested, I’m told that my youngest brother, B, 23 years old, has committed suicide. Twenty-three fucking years old.  Gone, just like that. How do you even begin to comprehend that? Certainly not while in pjs with 3 officers in your living room, trying to offer condolences and answers to something that they have no fucking clue about.

The sad part is that wasn’t even the part that hit me the hardest initially.  It was realizing that I had to be the one to make three phone calls – to my mother, my other brother and my uncle who has been our only consistent father figure in our lives.  It was also realizing that I purposefully ignored my brother B, asking for money because he always did, literally 2 days before this.  Talk about feeling like a piece of shit. But I had to put my emotions to the side because there were things to do, happenings to organize, people to contact – I was in full robot mode.  My house, my safe space, was now going to be trampled through by friends, family, and Lord only knows who else.

Due to the unnatural circumstances surrounding his death and events that had lead up to it that evening we couldn’t even properly plan the services until the following week when his body could be released from the state M.E.’s office.  It was a full week of my mother staying with us, along with visitors day in and day out. I don’t remember crying, except for the only moment I had to myself – taking a shower. I had a moment where I cried my eyes out with no one around to see.  And then I dried my face, put on the war paint, and got to work on planning my baby brother’s funeral.

The services were fucked of course.  As I’m trying to chase down members of the family, who are too busy chain smoking cigarettes and power drinking in the parking lot to greet guests as they’re walking through offering condolences, I’m chugging a big glass of some mixed drink of Captain Morgan or Canadian Club on an empty stomach, trying to maintain my robot-mode. Story time came and we heard wonderful tales of my brother’s idiocy with vehicles, blowing things up and more.  I could actually see him doing these things as the stories were told.  Still, I shed no tears because there was more work to be done.

After the services, I was more than ready to return back to normal. But what was normal? I tried. I tried so fucking hard and felt like I was getting somewhere until just last week, 6 weeks after the fact.  I was driving home from a work trip, about 90 minutes away, when my emotions just flooded me.  Everything that I should have felt during that week of planning just hit me like a ton of bricks. Especially guilt.  Guilt about not taking his hardships more seriously.  Guilt over not responding to him the two days before his death. Guilt over not forcing him to get help or at least talk to him more. Guilt about not even crying at his services. That’s the funny thing about suicide… we always feel like we could have done more.  SHOULD have done more.  I don’t think anything will ever remove the guilt that I feel.  And I cried.  I cried like I never cried before.  All while lost in my own thoughts, driving home from 90 miles away.  Part of it I realized is because my birthday is the 28th of this month.  Exactly two months after my baby brother was found dead. How is anyone supposed to find any joy or reason to celebrate anything after that?

And poor D. He has been a saint and putting up with more than anyone should have to when it comes to in-laws and a significant other.  I’ve been putting him through the ringer and he doesn’t deserve it.  We’ve been working on our communication and an event like this causes everything to spin out of control.  But we’re working our way back to ourselves and it’s improving every day.  He’s faced a lot of loss in his life as well, but being an only child, he’ll never quite understand the loss of a sibling you helped raise, helped through 8 years of battling Leukemia, and were very close with.

I’m working on myself as well.  It’s going to take me awhile to get there and I don’t know if I’ll ever FULLY get back to where I was before, but I’ll fight tooth and nail to try.  Life is short and I want to try and enjoy every moment of it I can, while I can.  I just wish my little brother was here to enjoy it with me.  Or at least annoy the hell out of me while enjoying it.  C’est la vie.


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