My Brothers Death

May 8th, 2011 by LeighAnn5588

Receiving the phone call, jumping on a plane to LA and taking the elevator up to the 8th floor where my brother was is all a bit of a blur. Walking into to ICU and seeing my brother, broken, swollen, and almost unrecognizable is very clear in my mind. They had to remove the right side of his scull in order to relieve the pressure in his head. His eyes were bulging out of his eye sockets. Blood was slowly oozing from his ears, his eyes and his nose. He was being jerked up and down by the ventilator. Walking into that room was gut wrenching. He only had a very thin strip of bandage wrapped around his head, other than that, his face was not covered. I have never experienced such disbelief.
Eric had fallen about 30 feet from a building and landed on his head. He was known as John Doe for about 6 days, in which time he had undergone 5 brain surgeries and was being kept alive on life support. After stabilizing him, they finally were able to run his fingerprints, and we were called.
After an extensive meeting with his medical team, it was decided to take him off life support. The damage was so extensive that there was little hope of any sort of recovery. Knowing my brothers wishes, we felt it was the only choice we had. It took my brother 4 hours to die. Gasping for air, struggling for life, it was indescribable. My mother clutching her only son and sobbing. It was unbelievably inhuman. I put our family dogs down about 6 years ago, and they went so peacefully, why can’t we do this for our loved ones? Why did my brother have to suffer so? Why was he saved in the first place?

During the first couple of months after my brother’s death, we talked about him incessantly. We reminisced about how he acted and looked. We had an insatiable desire to reconstruct the weeks before he died. We recounted the last conversations, moods, phone calls, and photographs, hoping that somehow our memories would explain the answer to why he had killed herself. That question still gnawed at my guts, creating a big, black, empty hole

It has been almost three month since his death, and I find myself paralyzed with grief at times. Paralyzed with guilt and regret. I find myself angered by almost everything and everybody.

There is a litany of feelings that all survivors of suicide know too well. The flippant use of ‘I could just kill myself’; the incessant wondering of Why? Why? Why?; the anniversary of the death and its importance (no matter how long it has been); someone remembering that this is the day your world stopped and then started differently; the fear of memories yellowing and becoming harder to recall.

Some people are disturbed most by events that are unexpected.
For me, it has always been the half-awaited ones that carry the blow: the semi-conscious fears that lurk behind closed eyes, the “what ifs…”

I believe, the history of our family is partly responsible for my brother’s death, a history full of self destructive events.
Addiction has touched every aspect of my life. It has chewed me up and spit me out. Addiction took a beautiful, talented, loving man from me. He was my other half, he was a part of me. He made our cruel history doable.
Is the legacy of self-destruction I have discovered in my family too great for me to survive? If so, when will the pendulum swing? And, if it never does, why not? How can I – now walking alone in this life — escape?

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6 Responses to “My Brothers Death”

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  1. Oh god. I don’t know what to say. Your experience puts a lot of things in perspective.

    I won’t say the old cliché that “he’s in a better place” because we don’t know where he is. But all I can say is that he made a choice and succeeded in his choice.

    I’m also the survivor of someone who died painfully. I’ll never get over that, no matter how many photographs and happy memories I try to relive. The paralysis of grief & guilt you mentioned is something I completely understand. But I keep returning to the idea that he did what he thought was right.

    If you browse some of the posts here, you’ll see how unbearable life is for a lot of people. Sometimes I read them and… there’s no nice way of putting this… I imagine how these tortured souls may find their only peace in death, or at least they’ll meet fate on their own terms. Do you think that thought might be a comfort to you?

    As to the situation you’re in… especially with a family history of self-destruction (I have those “genes” too)… all I can say is make a conscious choice. Are you going to fight it & live? Or would you rather go along with it and be doomed? That’s a question we all have to ask ourselves; I personally haven’t made a decision. It’s tough fighting against our nature. Sometimes you wonder if suicide is part of the natural order of things. I have no clue.

    My mother is able to bounce back from tragedy in a heartbeat. She has dealt with death in ways that amaze, inspire and disgust me at the same time. I guess the point is to choose how you want to react and stick with it.

  2. LeighAnn,

    I’ve been talking with Scooby all day…. Scoobs has some great insight… I found your post to be very moving and tried several times to reply but could never find the words…. I’ve always been on your brothers side of the fence, the one to say I’ve had enough screw everybody…. but your post….. read my story…. your experience and the sharing of it has touched lives. Thank you.

  3. Dang, FTS said what I was trying to think of, but I couldn’t put it in words. Yes, being on your brother’s side of the fence, we tend to get stuck in that one-track way of thinking. Screw the world, better to burn out than fade away, etc. Hearing your experience really jolted me back into the world. Thanks and I hope you realize you’re helping others just by talking about it.

  4. Wow… I understand what you are going through though… in a sense. Although my brother didn’t die, I was abandoned by my father and my brother for 13-14 years. For my entire childhood, because of drugs, for all I knew the two of them were DEAD. My father took my little brother away from me when I was 17… I see him every so often… but after growing up with him, I lost almost everything that I had.
    I know that our experiences are not the same, but just know that just because your brother died doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the story. I dreamt for years that I had a complete family, but I knew that I would have to make it with what I had. Don’t give up hope, and just remember all the good times you had with your brother.

  5. You can survive this. Have you heard of Survivors After Suicide? There are support groups survivors like you. Your life is precious, but you have to heal.
    Let yourself heal and draw in all the support you need. This site can be a part of that but it shouldn’t be all of it.

  6. i clench my jaw. i am holding back the tears. it hurts so much to lose the ones we love. but what of the ones the love us?

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