Category Archives: Guest Post

My brilliant older brother

My brother was a very humble person, with brilliance that far surpassed (and came before) David Letterman, Conan, or Bill Gates. He actually developed the letters v v w v v for the internet BEFORE there was www. for websites. He was there at the beginning of the world wide web. When he was TWO years old, he wrote ” I drank the orange juiice” on a note, and all the words were spelled correctly.
It is an indescribable feeling to explain how my entire experience of life on planet Earth has been altered forever by the loss of him and my mother ON THE SAME DAY nearly three weeks ago . It is like the greatness and memories have been darkened by the way it allegedly ended. If you put yourself through the further torture of going to the cemetery after funeral, I thought ” I am not leaving you here” about my family.

Intellectual and emotional contradictions

Last week my sister called to tell me that my brother was missing and invited me to help in the search. When she had called, I was in my car on my way home from work and I was minutes away from the parking lot to a hiking trail head where my brother was suspected of being.
I arrived to the location minutes before my sister, and we met up with my missing brother’s neighbor who had found his car. A few minutes later, the police arrived on the scene and told us that my brother’s wife discovered that there was a pistol missing from their gun safe.
I quickly searched my brother’s car hoping to find his pistol. My brother had placed the car registration on the dash, which I found odd. After a quick search, I could not find his gun.
My sister and I quickly went up the trail to begin our search. My brother commonly went hiking alone, and my sister and I knew the type of terrain he preferred. Immediately, we noticed a large patch of trees, and we strongly suspected that if my brother was in fact there, the patch of trees is where he would be.
We began pushing our way into the trees; I went high, and my sister went low. Within minutes of us starting, I saw a hammock in the trees, and instinctively, I knew that was my brother.
I cautiously approached the hammock noticing piles of garbage from people experiencing homelessness. I hoped the hammock belonged to the same people who left the garbage.
There was a man in the hammock. They were barefoot and they were listening to music. They had a hoodie covering their upper body. While deep down I knew the person in the hammock was my brother, I still hoped it wasn’t. I spoke to the person in the hammock telling them I needed to make sure they were not my brother and that I would leave them alone after I checked.
I lifted the hoodie to find my brother holding his pistol in both of his hands. He had shot himself in the mouth.
At the moment, I was extremely calm. I checked for a pulse and closely monitored his stomach for any signs of life. While he was still warm and had color, he was obviously dead.
I called my sister on her cell phone to tell her to not come any closer and that I had found our brother.
I waited with the body until the police arrived on the scene, and I quickly pushed my way back to the parking lot. Along the way, I finally broke down with such a flow of raw emotions that I had never felt before. I started to hyperventilate and I needed to stop a few times to get enough control to continue down the hill.
While I was returning to the parking lot, I met another one of my brothers and fell into his arms and continued to cry. I stayed there for a few minutes, and noticed that my sister in law… my dead brothers wife… had arrived. She saw me crying on the hill and simply sat down in the parking lot. I ran to her, sat next to her, and told her I had found her husband.
It has now been a few days. The pain is still raw and as I write this, I am crying and shaking.
I am trying to think back and figure out if there is anything I could have done to help my brother. He and I had shared a very traumatic moment earlier this year, and he had taken undue responsibility on how it affected me. He regularly called me and dropped into my house to see how I was doing. I don’t think I once asked him in return how he was doing… not once.
Intellectually, I know that there is nothing I could have done to save my brother. His mind was made up well before he had taken his life. Over the last few days, information has come out about the failure of his business and the loss of money some of my other siblings had invested in his company. It wasn’t just one thing which led to his decision, but rather a series of events.
Emotionally, I am finding ways to blame myself for not doing enough to be a brother.
It is hard.
I have a fantastic and supportive wife and I have 7 other living siblings and we are close. I have a supportive base.
I have therapist whom I trust, and I am continuing to work with her.
It’s hard to imagine a time where I will not be sad anymore, but I hope it will come.

My Brother

Dear Brother, 7 weeks ago today you finally succeeded in doing what you have been trying to do since March. I can’t bear that, that was the only option left open to you. I saw you fight your battle for years. You were a warrior of the greatest kind. I hate that that horrible illness robbed you of so much. I tried so hard to tell you things will get better, that you had so much to live for but I didn’t know if that was true. Perhaps you pick up on that. I was willing you to hang on til we had a chance to see if the new drug would work but it was too little, too late. You were so tired of battling your mind day in day out. I could see the strain in your face. I told you I loved you. I told you I was sorry if I was ever cranky with you. Through all this pleading with you to open up, to hang in there I knew in my heart this day would come. The trail of heartache you have left behind is devastating. I know you would never want any of us suffering like this. I am so angry at the lack of care you got. The fact that you are just another name crossed off a list by an incompetent psychiatrist. The fact that our health care is so substandard and mental health is at the bottom of the list in priorities. Your life mattered. Your life was so very precious. I will have the last image of you etched in my mind forever waving to me as the door opened for you to enter the unit. Why didn’t I get out of the car when I dropped you back? Why didn’t I hold your hand until the door opened? Did I hug you before you exited the car? I can’t remember. Your voice comes to me during the day “Hellooooo, any news”. I will never get to hear that again. I so badly want to hear that again. You asked me to take care of your family but I don’t know how. I have no words of great wisdom that will take away their pain. I promise to keep trying. I promise to never forget you. I will treasure your memory deep in my heart for as long as it keeps beating. RIP dear brother. I will love you forever and always.

I miss you every day

My little sis not a day goes by when I don’t miss you. That day when my hubby told me you had gone was the worst in my life. We’d lost dad but nothing could prepare me for that day. On the weeks before you went I thought I’d got you, we talked and talked and I thought I could save you. You told me you were going to die of this illness, I said are you going to take you’re life. You told me NO! Your were in so much pain and I knew I was losing you like we did with dad and I couldn’t stop it. These last 9 months have been the hardest, longest times in my life . I wanted to join you and dad and felt jealous you had peace. I couldn’t leave mum, my hubby (my rock) and my precious son an daughter and my future. I couldn’t leave your husband and my niece . I wish you had left a note to them so they knew why but I understand your decision to do what you did there was no reason or rhyme. Those left behind your family, friends and those who know you are living with that and I wished you knew how much you were loved and respected. All I know is I will never know the answers, never have our future together and will never be the same person again. But I know that you are with us, I talk to you every day and find comfort you are at peace. I cannot plan for the future, but I don’t look into the past. I live for now. Love you always and forever.

I Promise

Zachary R. B. September 4, 2017. My big brother. My best friend. The one person who understood me. I wrote a post a few years ago on this site titled ‘I Wish it Was Me’. I don’t think about him as much as I used to. The pain has subsided and introduces itself in small increments every once and a while. Not the same pain. Different than before. I was 18. We shared everything together…… and by everything I’m referring to all of our sadness. The depression. What we really felt and how we viewed the world. How we felt shackled to the earth, destined to live out our days in misery. One night he had called me crying at 4 am. I didn’t care if I would have gotten in trouble by my parents at the time for leaving at such an ungodly hour. I went. No questions asked. I sat on his back porch smoking cigarettes with him that night while he told me everything.  How he sat with his knees to his chest and his back against his bedside table every night in tears. Contemplating. Fighting himself. He expressed to me how badly he wanted to do it. I cried. I told him I knew exactly how he felt. And in tears with my heart clenched, I asked him to promise me. Promise he would never pull the trigger. He promised. After fighting the promise and shaking his head and telling me he couldn’t. He finally promised. And in tears I promised him as well. It hurt me at the time to promise such a thing. The shackles grew heavier. But I did. About a month after this discussion he pulled the trigger. It’s hard to remember all of the feelings I felt. I think the mind has a way of masking and burying those emotions deep down inside of your brain. You may have glimpses of the memory if you really think hard enough but you can never feel the exact pain again. I used to sit in bed in the fetal position and cry. The pain was so bad that it felt like I was paralyzed. Like somebody had shot me with a double barreled gun and I couldn’t get up. It’s all a fog now. My life has gone on. I dropped out of college after failing out. I used to skip class to go sit in my car and smoke weed and look at nothing. It was a miserable time. My entire dream of what I wanted to do with my life seemed so obsolete at the time. I regret that now. I’ve worked multiple jobs. I’ve continued battling depression. I’ve been kicked out of my parents home to try and motivate me to do more with my life. I went through not one but two evictions. I’ve lived in a car. I’ve slept outside. I’ve used my last 5 dollars on a pack of cigarettes. Out of all the chaos I became who I am today. I met someone. We shared our souls with one another. Professed our love for one another after three days time. Gone through one of those evictions together. Smoked that pack of cigarettes together. I got pregnant. I found out I was pregnant while I was couch hopping with my partner. My entire world was thrown out of order once again. We both knew what we had to do. We loved each other too much to let go of our creation. But we couldn’t raise our child the way we were living. A life of depression and squalor was no place for a child. No matter how much the parents love each other. We both worked two jobs. He found a nice high paying job. I found a job that I didn’t have to stand too long on my swollen pregnant feet. We worked as hard as we could and saved as much as we could. We bought cars. We started renting a home. We bought furniture. We gathered all of the necessary things we needed to start this baby’s life off the way we wanted and the way it deserved. I took my prenatal everyday. I went on walks. I ate how I was supposed to. I drank water how I was supposed to. We gave it our all. I delivered our beautiful baby girl via c section as my partner held my hand. The first thing I thought of: I will protect this child with all of my being. The second thing I thought of: she’s perfect. The third thing I thought of: I wish my brother were here to be her uncle. I wish he could see how I’m doing. He would be so proud of me. She’s 7 months old now and absolutely thriving. She is the smartest, silliest, and most importantly; the happiest little girl I’ve ever seen. Every day is more perfect than the last. She gave me purpose. I think of him from time to time. How I wish he could have been a part of her life. How he would have made the most amazing uncle. How he always wanted to be a father and for our children to grow up together and be best friends. Would my life be the same if he hadn’t have pulled the trigger that night? Would I still have met my soul mate. Would we have learned how to thrive by each other’s sides. Would we have been given this beautiful miracle. I’m not sure. I am thankful for all of the things he taught me while living. I’m thankful I had him by my side when he was. I’m thankful for all of the things he taught me after he did what he did. And I’m thankful for his impact on my life. The good and the bad. His life meant something.

Farewell to my little brother….

James,
I am so deeply saddened by your sudden death on June 28th, 2021. I keep wishing I had come by to see you in the months prior. I got jammed up in my own life. I thought you were seeing you psychiatrist and taking your prescribed medications along with your heart medication.
Just know you were on my mind. And I knew mom and you had dinner together every night and played cards. She didn’t tell me how much despair you were in.

You were a good soul who just wanted your wife and sons to love you and get back together as a family.
I’m so happy we spent time together the last two years. It was such a blessing to have you back in my life. We had such long talks over a cup of tea in your kitchen. Our talks about life and nature and law were so intelligent and interesting.
I wanted more time with you but you couldn’t let go of them. They were toxic
people and no good for you. But I understand how you still loved them. She was your wife and they were your two sons. I get it.
I will miss you dearly… I will look for you in every sunset, in every ripple in the water at your favorite beach and in every breeze that brushes against my face as I shed my tears.
I will feel you around me, free at last and at peace. You had to end it your way and I will never judge you for that. I will always miss you and hold onto all my memories.
I loved you little brother and you will always stay apart of me, tucked in my heart. Until we meet again.
Your Big Sister, Lori xoxoxo

Today

I lost you today. I had to tell our parents. It doesn’t feel real yet, and maybe it never will. I don’t know how to exist in a world without my only sibling. My baby brother. Your nephew has been kicking up a storm in my belly today. I wish you could be here to hold him when he is born. I’ll tell him everything about you. I love you.

We miss you, Kev

1 month and 12 days ago, my little brother passed away. This still feels crazy to me, and doesn’t seem real. He had just turned 20 years old, and we all celebrated it together. He seemed ok. We all knew he had his struggles but he was getting better. The night he left us, he had a grocery list in hand. He had just applied to a job as a lifeguard. He was driving too fast on the road, and in a moment of perfect storm, he ended his own life as he felt there was no other option. He couldn’t face another DUI. He is my only brother. Im 21 years old and just moved in with my boyfriend and we are devastated. I miss him so intensely and so deeply, I never thought this kind of pain existed or that I’d be looking up others who have felt this pain. It does not make me feel better, to read others’ stories, however it does give me hope that I can survive this and other people have moved forward through this unbearable pain and are at least, to be frank, alive. Thank you for everyone who shared on this and I’m glad I’ve found this page. My mom has been wanting me to find support somehow but it’s so hard to talk about suicide to my friends. They just don’t understand. I’m so incredibly sad.

My little Brother Josh is Gone

Hey you guys,
It’s three months and a few days, since my little Brother took his life. Died in his little room that all too often was his cave. Did it a day before my 32 Birthday (thank’s man, i never liked my birthdays, but that’s harsh …) and just 800 meters away from me. We always cared for each other, knew about the periods of depressions which plagued us – mine got shorter, his got longer over the years. I tried so hard to help him, when his girlfriend left him two years ago. They were 10 years together, since they were 18. She still loved him but couldn’t carry him through his depressions, she needed to live. Then he was kicked out of university without a diploma last year, after 16 semesters. And he was the brightest man i knew, he just wasn’t able to cope with the system. We had a rough time, when i tried to push him out of his phlegmatism (read Kafka’s  Little Fable and add a whole ton of stubbornness, and you get my little brother). I tried to show him that i know how it feels, to be in your room, not being able to leave, to be overwhelmed by isolation, storming thoughts and headache. He just sometimes opened up emotionally and he always thought he could just use the sheer force of his brilliant rational mind to control himself, talk himself out of his sadness and fear. He meditated, microdosed on LSD, read countless books, but he never f***ing talked about his angst with me or one of the many other people who loved him. Then i had much to do, had to cope with other parts of the family – a lot of s*** on that front too. Had to study for my final exams. And i told him, the second to last time ever that we talked, that it’s his turn to call me or come by, that I need him too and cannot always run after him. I did not know how dark the place had gotten, where he went to more and more often. He never called me or came by…thought he could just vanish from the world.
Thought, so he wrote, he would die ‘lonely and poor’. He WAS lonely and poor, but he didn’t need to be. Just an arm’s length away, but a heart’s distance sometimes can’t be measured…
He was my brother, my best friend, my intellectual nemesis, my anchor.
I f***ing hate him
and I f***ing love him.