Sunday, June 27, 2010


I missed last week's post because Mom, Dad, Dolly, and I were up in Calistoga, relaxing in the geothermal mineral pools.  With any luck, Sonoma County will be my parents' new home very soon.  It feels good to bring the family together.  If only I had been motivated to move everyone out to California when Mike was still alive.  I couldn't even convince him to visit me.  He'd only been on an airplane twice in his life.  If Mike hadn't died, my parents might have moved to Virginia Beach to be near him.  Now they have the house up for sale, and are moving west to be with us.

I thought about Mike a lot while they were here, more than usual.  I like thinking about him, but it is hard to think about his death.  On their last day in town we were in Golden Gate Park:  "There's the de Young . . . there's the Academy of Sciences . . . and there's the park bench where I was sitting when you called to tell me Mike was dead."

Sometimes I still can't believe he's gone.

We visited Mission Dolores one day, and lit a candle for Mike in the Basilica.  With all our love, our memories will live on, and we'll never forget.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


One of the blessings to come from this tragedy is that it has brought the rest of my family closer together.  I really can't imagine having to deal with Mike's death without my parents.  They've said that losing Mike has brought them closer together, and I need them more now, too.  We are the survivors.

Mom and Dad are coming to visit on Wednesday, and will spend most of the time they are here looking at condos.  Before Mike died, they never would have considered moving out here.  Now the plan is for them to move out as soon as they can sell their house.  It will be great for all of us to see one another more often.  They will be here to watch Dolly grow up instead of seeing her only twice a year.  I know they never would have moved so far away from Mike.  Part of me feels guilty for any positive outcome of the suicide.  Clearly I would rather have Mike alive than have my parents move to California.  These thoughts are irrational, of course.  We are allowed to make positive changes.  As my Mom said, just because Mike ended his life doesn't mean we stop living.

Another benefit is that when my parents get older, they will be close by for me to take care of them.  Mike would have been given power of attorney for medical and financial decisions if my parents ever became incapacitated.  Now it will be me--when that time comes, a long way down the road--to handle these matters alone.

I hope California will be a new chapter in my parents' lives that helps in their healing.  We will never recover from what happened.  But at least we will be together.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Six Months

Yesterday was the six-month anniversary of Mike's suicide.  I spent Saturday, June 5, 2010 remembering the horrible, haunting details of Saturday, December 5, 2009--the day everything changed.  I remembered getting the phone call from my parents.  This week I just wanted to call Mike.  It hits me over and over that he isn't here.  The hardest part is thinking about how much pain he was in without anyone realizing it.  Mom and Dad went through some of his things this week and found prescriptions for three kinds of antidepressants and an anti-anxiety medication.  They all had dates within the last few months.  But then he stopped taking them so that they had all left his system before he died.  By the time I knew something was wrong it was too late.  I think I felt it when he left.  I sensed something was not right that day.  When my parents called, I was shaking, like I knew they had some terrible news to tell me.  But then, maybe it was the sound of my Dad's voice.  Maybe it was the man yelling at me in the park to control the dog.  The detective said they didn't know how long Mike's body had been lying there, but probably not more than a few hours.  His body was lying by a trash can and a stranger found him there and called the police.  While this was happening, was I walking to the park with Dolly, who was about to run her first race?  Mike had a saved text message in his phone that he never sent.  Did he sit in his car for a long time contemplating his act, or did he just get out of the car and do it?  Was I still sleeping when he left us?  Were my parents eating breakfast or walking their dog?  They woke up and started putting up the Christmas tree.  They never finished.  Why can you just walk into a pawn shop in Virginia and buy a shot gun, no questions asked?  Maybe a waiting period is a good idea, people.  I want to talk to Mike about what he was thinking in those last few days, but I never will.  He is not anymore.  I don't believe he's sitting a cloud watching us, happy that his death made the rest of our family closer.  He is scattered into a million pieces.  Six months into grief, it still haunts me every day, nearly every hour.  Happiness has this dark undertone, this oh yeah, and then there's the dead brother.  Don't forget about him.  Mom and Dad hurt so much.  We all do.  Mom says she does not have guilt but she does have regret.  We all regret not seeing it.  I regret not being more present.  No matter how good I am now, it will never make up for what I didn't do when he was alive.  So there it is, six months into grief.