My Brother

I don’t really know why I’m here, I just know I need to put my thoughts somewhere as right now they’re trapped inside my head. I don’t know if anyone is even going to read this but I know I’ll feel a sense of relief once I hit send. I’m a survivor of sibling suicide.
I’m not sure survivor is the correct word I’d use because I’ve not been surviving since it happened.
I’ve not looked into getting support until now, nearly 6 months later. Support from family and friends is just simply not enough. No words can make me feel better and no one knows what I’m going through unless you’ve been through it yourself, which is how I ended up on this website.
I’m 23 and my brother was 20.
I still live at home with my parents, my 18 year old sister and my brother who is no longer here.
We had a very happy childhood and life up until that point, which keeps me wondering why it happened.
My brother was very sensitive. He liked to sit in his room all day playing his PlayStation. He was definitely a home bird like myself. We liked our own company.
I won’t say he was odd but some of the friends he hung around with weren’t a great influence which led him to get into trouble a handful of times. I’m getting off track here but I want whoever is reading to understand the type of person he was. He had his anxieties and the day after his death and the day we visited him in the mortuary, he was supposed to be at a job interview. He had been unemployed since he finished school. Like myself he wasn’t sure of what he wanted to do in life and was afraid of growing up but he just needed to get out of his shell.
He had a girlfriend who he seemed to be really fond of, they were together for around 10 months and broke up a short while after Christmas.
I’m not certain it had anything to do with his actions but may have played a part, I will never know. He never left a note or any trace of “why”.
It was New Year’s Eve and I had gotten promoted in my job, with very little time to celebrate, my new position would start January 20th. I had been practicing my new title while in work with the help of my manager so I’d be ready and also at the time we were doing a stock take so I came home on the 8th of January exhausted after working 4 full days in a row. It’s Wednesday night and I hadn’t seen my brother since the weekend, not even remembering the last conversation I had with him. I was always out of the house before he was awake and I came home from work and went straight to bed.
That night I had come home to hear he was drunk, got scolded and went to sleep it off. Everything about that night and our routines had changed, as if it were meant to happen. My usual routine was coming home at 8pm, having dinner in front of the tv with my mam, while my dad watched a movie in the dining room/kitchen. That night I decided to leave my mam asleep, eat dinner in my room and watch twilight with my sister. During this time my brother was supposedly asleep. My dad decided to watch tv in the sitting room because I was upstairs. These actions ruined our lives. Not that we were to know, these situations had happened before where he came home drunk and slept it off.
I was so tired that I turned the movie off halfway through and went to sleep roughly at 9:30pm. I was awoken an hour later by screaming downstairs. I was so afraid to move that it took me at least a full minute to get out of bed and see what was happening. I thought a murderer had gotten into our house. I met my sister on the stairs screaming “he stabbed himself”. My legs were like jelly as I ran downstairs and entered the kitchen where I seen my brother laying on the couch we had in the room, sitting slightly slouched and eyes wide open staring at me. I sometimes can’t seem to remove that awful image from my head when I close my eyes. I don’t want to get too graphic or go into too much detail. At the time I thought he was alive, I don’t know why because there was hardly any blood left inside him. I was just trying to be hopeful. Ambulance came, police came, he had been removed from the “scene” and were questioned. The whole entirety of that night has traumatised me. The way we were all being questioned as if we had done something because of the circumstances of his death. I know they were only doing their job and It definitely wasn’t a typical suicide case or way to do it. He had stabbed himself in the heart with a knife. We were told he would’ve died instantly which is the only thing keeping me going. Knowing he wasn’t in any sort of pain and not being able to shout for help. We thought it had happened as soon he did it, my mam got up to the toilet and she found him. My dad heard a glass break which we thought he was holding at the time of his death, as he must’ve come down for a drink like he always did. Normally he’d pop his head into my mam or dad to say sorry or hello, he didn’t this time. No one heard him, no one knew why it had happened, we were in complete shock. The doctor told my dad he had been there for an hour before he was found which I still question to this day. I just don’t understand. I’m forever going to question that night and never get the answers I want which is the biggest struggle for me. I could cope with an explanation but I don’t have one.
I went back to work on January 20th and seemed to be doing well.
Fast forward to lockdown where I’m unemployed and having to be stuck in the house where my brother took his own life 24/7. I’m being constantly reminded of his absence.
This is the first time I’m dealing with grief, the first time I’m losing someone, someone so close to me. I don’t know if my grieving behaviour is normal or excusable. I don’t know how to grieve. I don’t know how to cope. People rely heavily on support from friends whereas I push them away and isolate myself completely and try deal with my emotions on my own.
People around me seem to be moving on with their life and I’m stuck on this loop.
I’ve been crying every night since it’s happened and I’m afraid that soon I won’t be able to get out of the hole I dug for myself.
I hear the saying “you don’t get over it, you learn to live with it” but I don’t know how to.

2 thoughts on “My Brother

  1. Thank you for sharing the story of your brother. I hope it did give you some relief once you hit send. I don’ t know if anyone “knows” how to grieve or cope naturally. It’s something we are forced into learning and it’s hard, hard, hard. It has been almost 9 years (this Saturday) since my brother passed and I’m still working through the pain. I do encourage you to look at the resources section and find something that may work for you. I found that SOS groups with people who experienced the same type of loss helped me. Also therapy. And some books. Something may help you to not get too deep in the hole you can’t dig out of it.

    Sending caring thoughts your way

  2. I am so sorry you are going through this. I lost my brother to suicide as well. My whole family was at home, too. That hurts so much and it took a long time to come to terms with the guilt and shock of being right there. While the pain never goes away, time numbs the sting a bit. Take care of yourself and find a therapist or at least a trusted friend to talk with. I know there are few people who can really understand but don’t hesitate to reach out when you need it. Hold tight to the positive memories and remember that new life will come. At first, it feels like everything in your life will be forever shadowed by this loss… and that is a little true, but there will also come a time when eventually, you just have a good day and you can think back on him with pure love.

    Just please take care of yourself and handle the emotions as they come. My brother died 15 years ago and I am still learning all the ways it changed me (I was 10 years old). The sooner you can confront your emotions and experience, the better. I think writing this beautiful post was a good step. Nothing but the best to you!

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