I lost my only brother to suicide. His name was Brett. We were full siblings, 1 year and 10 months apart. I was the eldest. We both went through some pretty heavy stuff with our father when we were 11 (him) and 13 (I). Brett and I became really close at the end of the teenage years. Through all the years we fought and hated each other, we really bonded when we grew up a bit., especially when I became a mother to my son, Graham. Brett loved being an Uncle and he was such a fabulous one. He helped me so much through some really tough months when Graham was a baby. We spent many days just hanging out, drinking coffee and laughing, reminiscing about our childhood memories. Brett was an artist and he went away to Auckland to learn how to tattoo and was hoping for an apprenticeship. After a few months things weren't working out as he had hoped, and he really wanted to come back. He got himself a bus ticket and came back to Hawkes Bay. He didn't have anywhere to live so I made the decision to let him stay with us on our couch until he sorted himself out. He then got a job as a runner for the local recycling crew and became fit and full of life.
A few months passed and Brett was living with Mum temporarily before he moved into his own flat. 
Mum helped him and in no time he found a nice little one bedroom flat up on the hill. He still had his job and things were going really well. Or so I thought. Until one day he came over to my place, reached out to me and told me he had been using P. He felt he was addicted and didn't know what to do anymore. He said it was bad. He didn't look like his usual self and I was worried. I wasn't exactly sure how to handle the situation, so I told him about the drugs services in town. He told me he would go, as he was scared. I offered to go with him, but he said no. I offered him to stay for dinner and to stay over on the couch, hang out and talk. but he wouldn't. He then left that day and that was the last time I heard anything about the drugs until he came over another week later and said he had been fired from his job for failing a drug test. He was devastated, the first time I had seen him cry in years. 
Months passed and eventually he had to move out of the place he was living in due to not being able to pay rent. My partner helped my step father move his belongings (Brett was not there) out of the flat into storage. They found a lot of drug paraphernalia, and my partner became very worried about Brett as no one knew things had become so out of hand. My partner came home and told me what him and my stepdad had seen, I was very sad that it had appeared my brother had become the next victim to P.
The next morning my partner was up getting ready to go to work, it was a Spring morning around 6.30am. My son and I were still in bed sleeping, and Brett had turned up at our place with a couple of mates. I woke up suddenly when I realised it was my brother I could hear talking in the background and I remembered what I had learned the day before. Brett seemed quite carefree, and happy to see me. I assumed he was "wasted" still up from the night before. I was right. I asked him if he was using and he didn't deny it, and then he seemed ashamed. I told him what my partner had found in his place and I told him I was sad. He must have been angry and ashamed at himself by this stage, because he became increasingly aggregated at the amount of questions I was asking. We exchanged some nasty words as we both became more angry and he then left.
I remember being very upset and confused about why he didn't come to me for help after the first time. Things had gotten so bad, he felt he couldn't talk to anyone. After this day, I didn't see or talk to Brett for a few months. He went to stay at our Grandparents, and I had hoped he would be getting help for his drug addiction. I didn't feel like I could ask him myself though due to our argument. To this day I am still unsure if he got any help. I think he managed to hide it from everyone, and the pain inside became too much.  

One month later was Christmas 2010. I remember being very concerned about seeing Brett, I hadn't seen him since our argument and I didn't want to  carry on arguing with him anymore, but I wanted to see that he was getting better and doing more to help himself. On this day, I had learnt that he was living back with Mum and I was unimpressed to say the least. Mum was going through financial pressure and as Brett didn't have a job, I worried he couldn't contribute. I was worried that Mum was going to be under more stress than she already was. After much thought I decided to put it all behind me, and enjoy Christmas as a family. Right when I dropped my guard, Brett was standing next to me apologising for everything that had happened. "Please, I don't want to argue, please forgive me Sammie." He was begging, there was huge sadness in his eyes. It was odd, I hadn't ever seen Brett like that. But being Christmas I accepted his apology and tried to move on. Christmas ended up being a great day, but something still wasn't right between Brett and I. I wasn't sure what it was. I had an airy feeling.

The next day Brett, Whelan (my partner) and I got to go fishing all together on my Step-dads boat. The first time ever for all of us to get the opportunity to go fishing on a boat, so we really seized the moment. Brett seemed really happy, but quiet. I didn't have the words to speak to him like we usually would in our own way. Things still weren't right and I still wasn't sure why. At the end of a long day on the water, we headed back to land for some dinner and beers. This was probably the best day of my life. I wish I embraced it more. It was the last thing me and my brother ever did together.

Three weeks later, on a Wednesday was the last time I ever spoke to my brother. I rung him to wish him a Happy Birthday for his 20th. I mentioned how much fun I had with him fishing on Nathans boat and how much I loved hanging out.  It was a brief chat, but he said he would come visit me in the week to put our argument behind us and start fresh. I really looked forward to seeing him, a fresh start I thought would be good for us.

Two days later on Friday the 14th of January, My son and I were walking home carrying the groceries. I had a thought in my mind to ring Brett and ask when he wanted to catch up. By the time I got home with the groceries I had completely forgot.
Later that day I got a phonecall while at my partners mums place having a casual beer. I couldn't believe it, everyone was panicking, screaming and crying. Brett was dead. I fell to the floor, unable to breathe. Apart of me died with him.

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Comment by Samantha Smith on April 23, 2012 at 1:27am

This isn't the end. I have more to write. I don;t want to make out like drugs were the only factor to Bretts suicide coz that isn't true. There are a lot of contributing factors and with me writing my story I am in no way blaming anyone, or any one thing.

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