Still can’t talk about my brother

My brother Jimmy committed suicide 39 yrs ago this August 30. For years we would talk around it, if someone asked how he died, we’d say in an accident. He died in a time when you didn’t talk about suicides. Over the years I still don’t talk about him. He was my older brother and I love him very much. He was 27 when he died and he was my best friend, my mentor, the one I could always count on and then he was gone. He was a great guy with a big heart and the problem I still have is I can never talk about him and tell people all the great memories I have. I feel ashamed to the them how he took his life. I feel like I’m betraying him, telling his secret. I know that’s crazy but that’s how we were brought up. If anyone has tips on getting started on opening up, I appreciate it.


6 thoughts on “Still can’t talk about my brother

  1. Ask two friends you trust to sit down with you. Tell them first. They’ll probably cry along with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re “old school” or a “tough guy” or anything else. The one thing most people understand is that there is a pain that comes with your situation that is unfathomable to most people. I lost my 17 year old son to suicide only 10 months ago. Trust me, I’ll understand… without judgement. My daughter lost her older brother. I bet she wouldn’t mind hearing what you would have to say, both about when you lost your brother and how you’ve felt in the years since. We’re in California. Let us know if you ever want to drop by.

    Alternately, there are groups, Compassionate Friends and others that you can locate in your area. Those can be a good place to start, with people who have all had to face similar losses. Dan

    1. Thank you Dan for the kind words and good advice. I’m so sorry to hear about your son. I know how it change my parents life after my brother’s death and the hardest thing for us was not being able to say good bye and to tell him, you didn’t have to do it, that there’s nothing you were going through that we couldn’t have couldn’t have helped you with. If you knew my brother Jimmy, he would be the last person you would think could take his own life. Dan, I’ll keep your son, you and your family in my prayers. Thanks again.

  2. You did it! You started, you opened up, you told us about your brother & how much you loved him. Maybe there is someone in your life you feel really comfortable with that you could tell at your own pace? After such a long time of holding all that grief & shame alone, I can only imagine how overwhelming it might be to finally speak about it all & of him. I am sure there is someone in your life who cares about you & would be honoured if you told them about what happened to you, your family, your brother & to hear stories about him when he was alive. Or if that seems to much, maybe a counsellor or a grief support group of some kind? My brother committed suicide 2 years ago & I have been seeing a counsellor as it was so difficult to talk with my friends about what I was really feeling…

    I hope this question won’t offend you, but I wonder if you are ashamed that your brother took his life & you may be betraying him, or if you are ashamed of the way your family stopped talking about him?


    1. Una, thank you. I was 17 when Jimmy shot himself, I don’t know if I was ashamed, I’m sure I was, as a teenager trying to fit in or just unaware of how to deal with it and I’m sure my friends didn’t know how to talk to me about it. Jimmy taught me everything, how to play sports, build models, paint, carve pumpkins anything you could think of. I was his little brother. I went everywhere with him, I was cool because I got to hang out with him and his older friends and then he was gone and then no one else knew how to act with the whole situation.
      Una, thank you for letting me talk, I wish I knew years ago that there were good people out there to get good advice from.

  3. Hi there. Thank you so much for sharing your extraordinary story. Your brother sounds really special and someone who stayed with you forever. My beautiful younger brother took his own life in February this year. He was 42 and I am 46. Like you, he was a mentor, a best friend, everything to me. I’d love you to tell a story about your brother – our generation wants to hear it. The choices they make are their choices. Heartbreaking. Devastating. Knock-your-breath-out shocking. Never-get-over-it-mind-numbingly-catastrophically shiteful. Crushing. But they lived and we loved them and they shaped us. I cannot imagine how you have suffered these long years. I learned something from reading your story: I need to prepare for this to stay with me forever. For that I am grateful. Thank you for your wisdom and for sharing his and your story. It is not a betrayal, it helps us all.

  4. Hi Sarah, thank you for thinking of me and taking the time to write, your kind words mean a lot. I’m very sorry for your loss, brothers are special, they’re the closest and longest friendships we have. I have three brothers, Jimmy was the oldest, I was the youngest. I would follow him around, I think, from the time I could walk and thought everything he did was amazing. From throwing a baseball to drawing pictures, which he loved to do and taught me how, I think that’s why I still love to play Pictionary. He was a Boy Scout and past on everything he learned from starting camp fires,fishing and just the love of the outdoors. I camp alot during the Summer and I still think of him every time I light a fire. I don’t know why but I’ve been thinking Jimmy more this year than in previous years I think that’s why I sought out this website, I’ve talked about him more in the last three months than I have in years. So thank you for letting me talk about my brother Jimmy and I would love to hear stories about your brother too. My email is, Sarah feel free to write anytime.

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