Category Archives: Guest Post

It’s Your Birthday Tomorrow

Tomorrow, you’d be nineteen. You’d be an adult, have your own apartment, be meeting cool, new people. Traveling. Doing all the things you deserve to do. You deserve a full, complete life, Jake. I’m so sorry that I transferred to an out of state college and didn’t get to spend your last year here with you. When I was struggling with my mental health, you and dad drove the two day trip there and back to get me. I’ll never forget that. You cared so much. I know that you know I cared about you too, I just wish I would have known. In your note, you said you looked up to me. Jake, I’m 23, unemployed, no longer in school, and just had a stay in a mental health facility. I wish I could have shown you that, even though you look up to me, I’m still a mess. Being a mess is okay. I would have done anything to fix whatever mess you thought was too hard to clean up. I love you.

For my older brother

Dear S,
There is not a day that goes by where you are not on my mind in one way or another. This May will be two years since your death. I wish I could say that your death has somehow made me a better or stronger person but thats just not the case. I am still broken, I am still coping, still trying to find new meaning in life after whatever my previous life was got shattered to bits.
How is it possible to live your entire life with someone and then in an instant have them ripped from you entirely? You were always someone I looked up to growing up and even into my adult years. You were the smarter, funnier, weirder older brother and I wish I could look you in the eyes now and tell you just how much you fucking mean to me.
The note you left you mentioned how you saw me as the bigger more mature sibling, how you looked up to me in a lot of ways, how you were tired of fighting, to take care of mom. I’m doing my best but some days it just really weighs down on me.
You were supposed to be there through all the milestones in my life. You were supposed to be there cracking jokes and playing guitar through all the hard times. You were supposed to be there.
I’m still here and I’m still fighting but sometimes I wish that I would wake up from this bad dream and see you and hug you and tell you just how much i’ve missed you.

My baby brother

My little brother shot himself in the head on February 21.  I found him  covered in blood in my parents room. There was no signs. He was playing uno with us. He asked if I could fix his sweater. He had plans this week with friends. I can’t look at my parents room cause I still see him and all the blood. I can’t sit in silence cause I hear the noise…

My baby brother

He was a kid. 17 years old. And in one second he made the decision to end his whole future. I don’t thing he thought it through. We cant find any evidence he planned it. He shouldn’t have known the combination to the gun safe. Less than 30 minutes before we played uno. A few hours later we cried around a hospital bed where he laid dead.
We all forgot how to drink water, eat, breathe. Exist. A world without him is wrong. Everything about this is wrong. I miss my brother. I want him back. And I wish I could have helped him.

Broken

I have worked in mental health for 10 years and have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. I work with children and adolescents with behavior and mood disorders — mostly adolescents suffering with suicidal ideation, and some have made attempts, but nothing could have prepared me for the phone call I received late Friday night on January 22, 2021.
I ignored the first call because I did not recognize the number, then a text came through that said he was a friend of yours and to call asap. I thought you had been in an accident or something so I called immediately, but then a state trooper answered the call and said the words I will no longer forget “Shane is no longer with us”. It took my breath away, the shock and disbelief overwhelmed me. I said “is this a joke?” and he repeated it. I said “No, you wouldn’t tell me this over the phone, you would come to my house”. He stated my sister in law needed me. I asked to speak to her because I still did not believe it. I thought it was a joke. I then heard her hysterical in the background, his friend took the phone and confirmed it was not a joke. I asked what happened and he said “He was upset” and that’s when I knew.
Then I needed to spring into action. My family needed me–my parents, my sister in law-I needed to get there, but I couldn’t. My 10 month old daughter was asleep and my husband who works overnights was at work. But I had to go there. I needed to be with my family.
I first called my husband and told him. There was silence at first. But he was going to leave work as soon as possible to get home-about an hour drive. I then called my parents-my mom answered. She was already on her way and crying. I just wanted to hug her so tight. She said she wasn’t going to call me, but I assured her I was on my way. She just pleaded with me to “be careful”. Then I called my in-laws who live 10 minutes away and they came right over to stay with my daughter until my husband got home.
It was a 10 minute drive to his house. I remember pulling up to all of the police cars. I got right out and ran to my mom and took her in my arms and hugged her so tight. All my life she had said things like “no parent should have to bury their child” and “if anything ever happened to one of you…” And now her worst fear was a reality.
My sister in law was sitting inside the police cruiser and would not open her eyes, I hugged her and comforted her as much as I could. She kept saying she was sorry-placing all the blame on herself. Her sister was there and my brother’s best friend and his wife, and my dad (who was my brother’s step-dad but had pretty much raised him since he was 2).
We stood outside for almost 2 hours while police cleared the house and it was cold that night. I learned of some of the details. I remained strong for everyone around me and though that night is somewhat blurry, there are pieces I will never forget.
I knew you were struggling the last few months. We were 7 years apart. My older brother who I literally looked up to-a foot taller than me- and figuratively. I got involved in sports when I was younger because my big brother played sports. Life took us on our own paths and we only saw each other a few times a year but mom would keep my updated. I’d always ask how you were and I had been saying after some things mom told me that you needed to get help, you needed therapy. She said she knew and talked to you about it, but that was it. Just deep down my intuition was telling me you were struggling-I just didn’t know how bad it was.
But despite our busy lives, you were always there for me. During the start of the pandemic when I was pregnant you called me and got me supplies because you didn’t want me going into the stores and when we lost power for a week in the summer with a newborn you were trying your hardest to get us a generator and the last time you text me was a few days after Christmas telling me Lowe’s received more generators. The last time I saw you was Christmas Eve and we played a game as a family for the first time and I thought it was the start of a new, fun family tradition.
But you were unhappy with your job, had relationship conflicts, and we suspected PTSD from a car accident you were involved in several years ago that was never your fault. I can’t imagine the emotional pain you were experiencing and the physical pain because you had back pain and more recently over the last few years digestive issues. But something happened over the last few months that drastically affected you.
Now that I know some of the events leading up to your decision, I wish I had known more. I wish she had communicated with his family that you were not okay and yes I have been cycling through the stages of grief- anger, sadness, denial- experiencing some guilt and anger towards others, ultimately I tell myself this is what you wanted, even though it hurts so bad, you were hurting more.
I just wish I knew. I wish we could have helped you. I have access to so many resources, if only I was aware that you needed more interventions. But I know what I need to do for my own mental health and I am seeking the support I need and figuring out how I can turn this tragedy into advocacy.
I just wish you knew how much I loved you and appreciated you. You truly were a loving, caring man who was always helping others, you just had trouble helping yourself. I hope that I can take this tragedy and turn it into something good- like advocacy. You will always be my big brother, and now my sweet daughter has the BEST Guardian Angel and I will make sure she knows just how wonderful her Uncle Shane was.
I pray to God every day that he has you wrapped up in his arms and that your physical and emotional pain are gone. I hope you are playing basketball and catching touchdowns, eating like a King, and blaring your rap music. I love you Big Bro. Rest In Peace.

Experience

I don’t know what drew me to this site today. I’m not exactly sure how I stumbled upon it. My brother Christopher, shot himself in the heart, while I was driving up the driveway, on May 7, 1983. He was 16. No one saw it coming. I was 18. It has taken decades to develop the tools to manage my life in the wake of this trauma. If I could be helpful to anyone, I am here to be of service. Thank you.

Breathe

I have posted this a couple of times on Feb 9th which is the date my brother died. Today is the anniversary of him setting himself on fire. Today is 34 years. Thank you to each of you who have posted here. Coming here is an act of hope and it contributes to the survival of each of us.
Breathe
Half my life ago today, 31 years ago to be exact, my younger brother died. He had set himself on fire and lived for 43 days.
Tomorrow he will be gone more than half my life. It is odd to ponder this milestone. Like all of you here, I did not think I could survive those early years. I had to will myself to take one breath and then the next. Everyone else’s lives were going forward, and I was lost in this unfamiliar and crushingly sad place.
For those new to this awful experience, I want to let you know what it is like to be half my life in this place. I have a full life. I can be happy. My brother’s suicide is still the worst thing that has ever happened to me. But over time this life is my familiar life.
His suicide has been woven into the fabric of that life. I am not longer raw with emotion. I have learned to see what gifts have come from this. I can be a voice for others. I can share my experience, strength and hope. While his death was a catastrophic event, it colors who am today. I am in a healing profession and I know the good I do is colored by good times and bad.
Here are some of the things that helped me long the way: writing in a journal gave me a 24/7 outlet, therapy (both with other survivors and individually), learning about better physical health, eating better, waiting (when the awful moments happen, just wait; they will stop), leaning into the sadness instead of running from it. Find someone who can listen. Make a list of what is comforting to you. Keep it close by. Use it.
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe, until you can breathe without thinking about it.
A therapist once asked me what I thought my brother wanted for me. Without thinking the answer came out, “Peace. He wants me to be at peace.”
I still believe that. Keep coming back here. We know. We understand. We care.

Anger

My brother was sixteen when he ended his time on earth a mere two weeks ago. Currently I feel so much anger (much of it I have voiced, no I don’t feel regret for voicing my anger at those who played a huge part in this). I feel hatred towards those who could have helped him, who KNEW he had a history of attempts. To those who are now pretending to have been the closest to my baby brother when they and I both know they are lying through their teeth. I feel so much anger and people have told me I will feel regret saying things to certain people , but I can’t see it. I can’t feel anything but the burning rage of having lost my brother and people lying and creating a false reality.

Where do I start…I love you bro!

I don’t really know what I’m doing here, but I’m having one of those nights where I just can’t stop thinking about that day, our conversations prior, our conversation that night, the guilt because of the feeling I had and didn’t act on when I went to bed, the feeling in the pit of my stomach the next morning and then the worst telephone call in my life from Dad.
A piece of me is missing. Nearly 8 months on and it still takes my breath and the pain hits me like it did the first time. 2020 was going to be the best year, I became a mummy at the end of 2019 to a beautiful baby girl. I’ve had a year off work to be the best mummy I could possibly be, but in April, you turned my best year into my worst year. I can’t be angry at you though, you were hurting and didn’t want to hurt anymore.

I wish I could have done something to take your pain away, I would have done anything and you knew that. I knew you were hurting, and I knew you had struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past, but when we spoke through lockdown, you told me you were coping. We spoke more through lockdown than ever, I loved it, just random chat as well as slightly more serious chat that you always brushed off. You were never one for chatting on the phone, maybe that should have been a sign to me….that night, you called me because you didn’t want me to worry about you, but you knew I would anyway. If I really knew or lived closer, or didn’t have a newborn baby, I would have sat with you all night (and however long you needed) to get you through it. It’s excuses though isn’t it, because I felt it bruv, I felt something wasn’t right and I was scared for you. I didn’t act because you always told me I was being dramatic and assured me you were ok, so I didn’t want to make you mad by being ‘dramatic’. Wow, I would love to make you mad at me now! I’d do anything for you to be angry at me and have an argument with you. I was always scared of arguing with you because I was scared you would cut me out of your life, I was scared of losing you.
There’s no pain like this and nobody I know understands it, and I wouldn’t want them to. I am doing ok day to day on the outside, inside I’m heartbroken and hurting, but I don’t think that’s going to change so I guess I just learn to live with it. I don’t really know how to deal with the guilt I feel and the regret I have, maybe it’s not something I deal with but something I just need to accept because I can’t change anything now.

I really hope you’re at peace, when I went to see you, I wanted to see and feel that but I didn’t. You deserve to be at peace, I don’t want you to hurt anymore. This has helped, writing to you/feeling like I am talking to you has helped. Now I’ll go back to bed.

I love you brother, and miss you more everyday.
Xxx