Thursday, December 5, 2013

Haunted


Today marks the four-year anniversary of my brother’s suicide, and once again I am haunted.

Haunted by the last conversation I had with Mike the weekend before he died. He was panicked and overwhelmed over some issues with his job and with his landlord. He was being kind of a drama queen, his stress way out of proportion to the problems he was facing. I wasn’t worried because I knew things would work out one way or another. I had no idea he was teetering on the edge of sanity. Only in hindsight can we identify the warning signs we didn’t notice at the time.

Haunted by the voicemail messages he left for my daughter Dolly two nights before he died. He said he’d been having a hard time and thought hearing her voice might cheer him up. In reality, he had already made his plan and was calling to say good-bye. 

Haunted by the text message I planned to send the next day but didn’t. “Hang in there, kid.” Composed in my head as I walked into my office, but never typed, never sent. Also haunted by every detail of the work I did that day before he died, when I didn’t text or call him. 

Haunted by the walk to the park the morning he died, when I didn’t know he was already gone. I said to Dolly that we needed to call Uncle Mike after her race because he really wanted to talk to us.

Haunted by the Girls on the Run 5K in Golden Gate Park that morning, the strange voicemail message from my parents alerting me that something was wrong, the aggressive ass-hole who yelled at me and threatened to sue me because Duncan’s dog wouldn’t stop barking while Dolly and Duncan were running in the race, and the foggy notion that maybe I knew what had happened before I called my parents back because it seems like I did but how could that be possible?

Haunted by the park bench across the road from the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park where I called my parents and they told me that Mike was dead, that he had shot himself in the head with a shotgun. Whether I knew or not, whether I suspected or not, whether I had prepared myself for this eventuality after two earlier suicide attempts in his teens, no imagining could have ever prepared me for what it was like when it actually happened. The world opened up and swallowed me whole.

Haunted by the gunshot that I didn’t hear, his body by the trashcan someone else found. Haunted by my parents driving to Virginia to get him and clean out his apartment. Haunted by his suicide notes. Haunted by his last text message:  “I am so sorry. I love you all.”

Haunted by December 5 for the rest of my life. And so, so grateful the other 364 days of the year are no longer like this one.

17 comments:

  1. Wow. I just found your blog. My brother died by suicide 3 weeks ago. The week leading up to it sounds almost identical to yours, down to the text I sent him to hang in there, but it was sent too late. I haven't read your older blogs yet. It's too much. But thank you for posting. We truly are not alone in our pain, huh?

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  2. This is the only thing that I have read since my brother passed last January that mirrors all of my thoughts and feelings. I was sitting alone in my room, just thinking about it all. I feel like I have nobody to talk to who can relate to what I'm going through. not even my own sister. So, I decided to simply google "My brother committed suicide" out of pure desperation for some article, poem, song, ANYTHING from someone who feels what I feel. I ran into this and I have read every single post. It has only been almost a year, (a year on January 18th, 2014) and I can relate to everything you've felt. I know that I'll be feeling this way for the rest of my life. Nobody else seems to understand that when I tell them. Reading this blog completely makes me feel sane and normal for not wanting to move on. I'm only 20 and I have my whole life ahead of me, but I feel like I took 100 steps back. I know it is going to be so difficult growing up, but I also know that there are other people out there in this world who know exactly how I am feeling thanks to you. I can't begin to explain how thankful I am for that. Keep posting, please. Even in your worst of days.

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  3. Haunted by the three voice mails he left on my husband's phone for me because mine was broken and finding out they were there right after I shared the news of my brother's suicide with my husband. Haunted that I was the one who told him we weren't getting money promised to us by our parents while he was in the middle of a desperate financial situation. Haunted that I knew he was fragile but I didn't do more to help him....

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  4. My brother committed suicide February 2013 after his birthday.I miss him I wish it wasn't forever that he its gone. Now I have only my memories off him. And my two year old niece that he left behind. Words fall short of the emptiness I feel.

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    1. I'm so haunted by my brother's death by suicide one year ago February 11, 2013. Time is passing by and not one second during the day I don't think of him. I'm actually now thinking of joining him since happiness has been stripped away from me.

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  5. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. My brother passed away almost 8 months ago and it's still as real today as it was then. Your blog is inspiring me to be constructive in hopes that I may help another. God Bless and thank you for sharing the most difficult moment ever.

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  6. my brother killed himself yesterday. he apparently counted it down on facebook.. 21 days till self destruction. It feels like am the only one that didn't know about it. he was in the room next to me. i found him.

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    1. OMG I hope you are OK, My brother phoned me on the 7.05.2015 and the 8.05.2015 he was found dead in his bed, I wish I had seen the signs, but I did not and that kills me .

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  7. My brother Todd committed suicide in 2008. A note was left for me and our older sister and our mom and dad. He said "I know people will call me selfish but stop being selfish yourselves and understand that this is what I NEED. I accepted that he meant that and just send love and understamding to him in the Afterlife. Anger only delays healing and causes other sicknesses. Heal through accetance and love, as well as forgiveness.

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    1. But it hurts so bad... It is killing me

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  8. My brother Todd committed suicide in 2008. A note was left for me and our older sister and our mom and dad. He said "I know people will call me selfish but stop being selfish yourselves and understand that this is what I NEED. I accepted that he meant that and just send love and understamding to him in the Afterlife. Anger only delays healing and causes other sicknesses. Heal through accetance and love, as well as forgiveness.

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  9. My brother ended his life 3 weeks ago. I find listening to spiritual/self help( not religious) teachers helps.

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  10. My brother shot himself on June 20, 2011. I am heartbroken each day that I think about his despair. No note was left--but he did say goodbye...I just didn't realize it at the time.

    I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this blog.

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  11. I looked on line also to find somewhere that people would relate to my situation. It's hard for someone who hasn't experienced this to comprehend the wide range of ever changing emotions. My brother Greg killed himself two months ago. It feels like yesterday and ten years ago at the same time. It's as if I have stepped out of who I was and am finding a new normal. We were close for the first 23 years of our life but weren't as close since he had moved. But when we got together it was like we hadn't missed a beat. I fight with the fact I am so caught up in my life and business that I didn't spend enough adult time with him. I don't feel guilty for him but for my own selfishness. I know have spent more time with my parents and will keep doing so. I worry most for the. Since they are retired and have a lot of time on their hands. Busy is the best way to help. It stinks that anyone has to go through this sadness.

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  12. My brother killed himself on 28th October 2016. I still can't believe I'm typing something like this. My thoughts and emotions somewhat mirror what you have described in your post; it is a tough event to go through, friends and family are very supportive but I guess no one else really knows how it feels, and my thoughts go out to all of those who have experienced it. God bless you all.

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  13. My only brother killed himself on May 6th 2011. The pain never goes away. I think I survived only for the sake of my son (he was 2 at the time) and my mom,,,,
    I am grateful for this website, I have read the posts. I sympathize with everyone here and it feels good that we are not alone.

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  14. My only brother killed himself on May 6th 2011. The pain never goes away. I think I survived only for the sake of my son (he was 2 at the time) and my mom,,,,
    I am grateful for this website, I have read the posts. I sympathize with everyone here and it feels good that we are not alone.

    ReplyDelete