My younger brother committed suicide 9 years ago. He was 22. He left a very long letter in which he explained how he had been carefully planning his death for years. I was in college at the time and, in his letter, my brother said that he wanted to wait until after I graduated to kill himself. In May of 2002, I graduated from college and a couple of weeks later my boyfriend and I decided to go on a road trip to celebrate. When we reached the hotel, I called my mom to let her know that we had arrived and that's when she told me that my brother had committed suicide. He went to his favorite park in the middle of the night and shot himself. A jogger found him in the morning.

My parents haven't been the same since then...especially my mom. I feel like I've been numb for the past nine years. I've come to dread it when people ask me if I have any brothers or sisters. Sometimes I lie and say no and sometimes I tell them the truth. It just depends on the person, I guess. I envy everyone who has a sibling.

Has anyone out there had a similar experience? I'm just curious to know how you feel and what you're thinking. My feelings differ from sadness for what he went through to anger at him for doing this to our family.

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Comment by Carrie Lee Wolinski on October 17, 2012 at 6:29am

Well, we are fast approaching the holiday season and I wish I could just leave the state or the country from the end of November to the end of March.  It was bad enough when all I had to complain about was scraping the ice off of my car in the morning and the change in daylight.  My God I would take that time back in a heartbeat.  Since my brother killed himself our interest in celebrating anything at all has been limited.  I came across a quote that is just soooo true.

It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses. ~Colette

My parents and I were on autopilot during the whole death ritual.  If you ask me the whole thing is just bizarre and barbaric.  It's was hard enough just to look at his pictures-why in God's name would I want to see his dead body laying there looking as if he would sit up any minute and say the whole thing had been a nightmare?  I know a lot of people wanted to pay their respects and be supportve of our family and that's nice.  There were, however, a lot of kids (17 or so years old) saw it as a social event.  It's funny how many guys said that Todd was their best friend.  I knew all of Todd's friends and I just felt like screaming, "If you knew him so well where in the hell have you been, and why didn't you tell us that he quit martial arts and was experimenting with pills?  Please stop posing and be on your way."   Back to autopilot- technically denial-and how insane those few days were.  I tend to forget things a lot, but I remember vividly every second of every day that I had to show my face and be composed when all I longed for was my warm bed and the sweet escape of sleep.  That was 1996-February 14th(Valentine's Day) through February 19th(my mom's birthday).  Had he not left us he would have turned 18 on March 25.  I am explaining this because after we make it through the holidays we still dread the upcoming months and that's why my wishful thinking hiatus is extended.  I can almost feel the weight come off of my shoulders every March 26th.  So much about death involves time.  I basically look at my life and it is divided: I refer to things as Before Todd died and After Todd died.  It's the only way I know how to think.  I remember my Mom and Dad genuinely smiling.  Man I miss that, but I would be the same way I think.  They are both wonderful to me and I never feel shut out-if anything I'm the one doing the shutting.  It's just so painful to see the two best people I've ever known struggling to make it through day to day in a positive manner when I know that they are slowly falling apart inside and walking around with broken hearts.  It just gets worse during the holidays.  Last year my mother and I went to my aunt's house-a tradition since I was little-for the first time in 16 years.  In the years past we just couldn't handle it.  I'm the only cousin who is not married with children and it must be terribly sad for my mom and dad to watch all of the kids playing while their son is dead and their daughter(me) is just one big mess after another.  I know they wonder if they will ever have grandchildren-I hope so, even though the thought of having a child and walking around for the rest of my life with my heart outside of my body terrifies me.     My parent's did a seriously incredible job raising us and look what happened.  Anyway, I cherish the first few seconds after I wake up when I have not yet realized that anything is wrong and I get some peace.  This, of course, is very brief.  Reality.  Life is a hell of a thing to do to a person.  So many times I have longed to be with my brother and all of the others I've known.  I have begged God to end it, and I don't even know what 'God' really means.  I almost succeeded a couple of weeks ago.  I ingested a whole bunch of crap along with alcohol and wound up on a resipirator with pneumonia and then in a psych ward for two weeks.  Another blow to my parents I was only saved because my roommate had a funny feeling and decided to check on my a lot earlier than I've ever seen him.  I was pissed when I woke up for two reasons-1. it didn't work, and 2. I saw no signs of Todd or the others or even just a tiny little clue that there is somewhere out there for us to go when we die.  The good news is that I had dreams about him for about four nights after that-I never wanted to wake up.  Some people think that when a person dies the grieving should end after the funeral and the one's left behind get closure.  If there was one word in the English language that I could get rid of it's closure.  The 'c' word(well, one of two 'c' words I don't ever use) needs to go.  I detest that word.  There is never closure-you don't forget.  Acceptance takes long enough and I'm pretty sure I am not there yet.  I still get pissed that my cousins have siblings and don't even really talk to them or see them unless it's a family function.  I just want to shake them and say, "How dare you take advantage of such a tremendous blessing?  Don't you know how important brothers and sisters are? Do you even know how fortunate you are?  They are the only ones who you can joke with or complain about your parents to.  I will never have that.  I will never have true nieces and nephews.  i will never dance with Todd when he gets married.  I will never again(at least while I'm on earth) hear his laugh or crack up at his dry humor.  All of that is gone.  Why can't you make time for each other and give thanks for all of which you take for granted?"  I am filled with envy and jealousy and sometimes I border on hatred, just knowing that they got what I wanted in life, and despite the fact that I truly would never trade places with any of them.  My worst nightmare(so far) came to be real 16 years ago and I damn near lost my mind.  Now, no matter how horrible or painful or devastating  a life event is, I know that i can handle it and I will get through it because I've done it before.  The others don't have that  luxury.  They go along, year after year, never allowing themselves to even consider the possibility of tragedy in their world.  They ask how we are doing but don't really want to hear the answer.  They seldon visit for very long(well, neither do I, but I am in daily contact with both of my parents), for fear that our grief is somehow contagious and if they stay they may have to face their own, and their family's, mortality.  They want us to smile and tell them all is well, so that's pretty much what we do.  There's no sense in spreading pain-it's better to just let them go because sooner or later they, too, will face tragedy and we will be there when they say "How did you ever get through this?  Will it ever go away?  I'm so sorry I didn't try harder to understand and listen to you-my God this is agony!" I hope to be strong enough to give support.  Wow-I just rambled on and on.  Thank you for this blog.  It's extremely helpful to have a place to go where I am understood, and the writing is a great coping skill. I'll check in soon:)

Comment by Tamika on August 31, 2012 at 8:04pm
I have never felt so close to someone before. I feel the same as time passes. I just feel like he's been gone too long. It hurts more and more. Instead of less. I also have opted out of having children scared they may be prone to doing the same. Also I just can't bear to explain what my brother their uncle did. I refuse to take anti depressants because my brother was on a slew of them when he made that decision. So I have very little if any chance to escape it. So I think about the moment try to be ok in the moment. However when things go left you can imagine the extra emotional roller coaster I'm on. You have said everything I feel. Just amazes me.
Comment by Carrie Lee Wolinski on August 31, 2012 at 3:43pm

Thank you for posting your experience.  For some reason I decided to just google 'brother committed suicide' and your blog came up.  My prayers are with you and your family.  My 17 year old brother, Todd, shot himself in the head 16 years ago on Valentine's Day.  He was my only sibling, and we were very close.  It has been beyond devastating.  As much as they try, my parent's will never even be close to the people thhey were.  It is still difficult to spend time with them without other people around.  Todd's suicide was completely out of the blue.  There are a few things that we could blame if we tried really hard-he and his girlfriend had a fight the night before, he had been smoking pot and he took what he thought were uppers but turned out to be antidepressants a few times, But to blame his girlfriend would be totally unfair and he really didn't have much of anything in his system so we are pretty much stuck with no explanation whatsoever.  I am a recovering alcoholic and although I don't blame his death for my drinking, the event definately escalated my alcoholism.  I have just started to be able to look at his picture without quickly turning away and putting it out of my mind, or just start crying uncontrollably. I try to put things into perspective by thinking about all of the other families out there who have been through this, or worse, but it doesn't take away the fact that my family was destroyed and I am so afraid of losing someone else that I've never married or had children,  I just don't think I could take the pain of losing a child, and the thought would be with me constantly if I had one.  I've felt every feeling possible, but I think guilt and anger are the main things I struggle with.  I wish I could say that things get better, but the truth is the more time passes, the more reality sinks in and the more depressed I get. I am on medication for bipolar disorder and have a huge support system but the fact remains that my best friend is gone and there is nothing I can do about it.  I thank God for laughter because it is the only thing that gets me through.  I wish you well in your journey of recovery.

Comment by Tamika on August 15, 2012 at 2:10pm
Yes, I've had a similar experience. I'm on here to see if I can find a way to cope. My 22 yr old brother killed himself too. He jumped in front of a train. 5 years ago a day before Thaknsgiving. He left no letter. He even called and told me he was looking forward to Thanksgiving. Then he left. I wish I just envied ppl with sublings but I'm flat out jealous. And I'm still very angry with god and the world all together. Aside from my parents he is one of the only ppl I would just see and light up. On that day I felt as that light snubbed out that day. My life is changed and I wish I could move forward. But every sunny day reminds me. I can't feel the good in any good thing that happens. I feel guilty for feeling any happiness. I'm so tired of him being gone. Only been 5 years don't know how I will get to 9 years.
Comment by Jonothan J on April 14, 2011 at 10:25am
Sorry to hear of your loss, my brother hung himself in October last year. He had serious financial problems, a wife that had left him and met somebody else, his relationship with his children had never properly developed because he was always working, in a futile attempt to support his family and pay off debts.

I find it hard to accept that he is dead. I still often wake in the middle of the night in shock, as if I have just been told the terrible news.

It has also affected my relationships with family and friends, I have become more withdrawn and find it hard to be around my parents as they are so full of hate and anger towards my brothers ex wife. My parents are suffering greatly, however I feel like I have nothing to give them as I am grieving too.
Comment by Franklin C on April 4, 2011 at 10:52pm
Christina: I'm sorry for your loss, and I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone. Please see http://www.save.org/coping as a starting place to find out more about suicide loss. Google "suicide survivor support group" and your ZIP code to see if there is a support group in your area. Please reach out to others, perhaps even a counselor or a minister or a local hospice (someone who knows about grief and might be able to help you). I wish you all the best. Franklin

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