March 5, 2018

March 5, 2018, just after 6AM: the phone call that has seemingly forever changed my life. “Dustin is gone…” The words are etched in my mind, a permanent fixture with the sound as fresh, haunting, and devastating now as it was then.
My brother was such a humorous guy, always laughing and always with a cheeky little half-grin that never revealed all of its secrets. Dustin had been struggling for a couple of years, the result of a failed marriage and guilt that he carried about how it ended. His two kids were at the same time the light of his life, and also a painful reminder of how things had been, could have been.
Pursuing a numbing of his feelings, he turned to drugs and got in over his head. He struggled hard, attending a rehabilitation facility and focusing intently on his recovery. I don’t know what happened, why he relapsed, and why he felt he couldn’t continue on with his recovery. A fresh day could have been a fresh start, but depression and anxiety told him otherwise.
For whatever reason, that cold night in March, he made a break from medical care and ran barefoot through the ice covered roads to a nearby school. He broke in, found an extension cord, and hanged himself.
There is so much of this story that is incongruent. My brother is not the type of person who would know how to break into a building, yet, somehow he did. He isn’t the type of person who would turn to drugs, yet, somehow he did. He absolutely was not the type of person who would leave his kids behind, yet…
I miss him intensely and terribly. He deserved so much better than his end and my heart is devoured by the fact that I couldn’t help, that he felt he was a burden, and that our love couldn’t have saved him.

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