6 months ago I got a message from my sister and then had it confirmed by my little brother that our older brother had passed away after a heroin overdose. In the moment I completely fell to the floor and just didn’t know where to go or crawl to…and I was devastated, because in that moment I thought only of the good memories I had of him. Being young with him and the one time I would never forget him telling me I was his favorite sibling and it was probably one of my favorite life moments when I was younger, to finally get his approval because he wasn’t an emotional guy. I only thought about the good and wanted to remember him that way.
We had an outpouring of support and a lot of it had to do with the fact that TWO days prior to his death, I posted one of the biggest blogs of my life announcing my reuniting with God relationship publicly after years of fighting with personal struggles that kept me away. It was a HUGE moment to share nitty gritty personal details but it also effected so many people’s lives who contacted me immediately after thanking me for sharing and encouraging me on my new journey.
For your brother to die two days after that, it hits you way freaking hard. I was like, is this a sick joke? Did that really just happen, I put my faith back out there and here I am getting HEAVILY tested immediately? It didn’t shake my faith, it strengthened it– and I am SO thankful for that. My friend Katelyn was such a blessing and source of strength for me during that time and I have her to thank for so many other things in life but the fact that she hugged me, cried with me and had a good ol Come To Jesus with me at Creative at Heart right before all this happened and was the first to call when she heard the news..it really kept me going strong and knowing that He is not against me, He’s walking beside me this whole time. And even carrying me. And the proof was in the seashells that I found just hours after he passed away..and then the week after, and the week after. They were my signs.
The most valuable relationship during this time was with my friend Misty who understood the situation so clearly and could empathize, and that is something that is completely necessary when a death occurs in such a tragic manner. Being able to talk to someone like her and let her know I was pissed off and bitter was such an outlet for me and I will never be able to thank her enough for not only listening but empathizing and not judging one darn bit. I think it’s important when drugs, alcohol or suicide is involved to find someone to talk to who knows what it’s like to have a person in their life like that because it’s a different kind of grief to deal with.
But in the spirit of rawness and honestly…6 months later I have to say I am avoiding thinking of him at all costs. I go days and days without thinking of him most of the time but when I do, I just get so angry because really, my brother could have been a good guy with a successful life but he went down another path. I get SICK of people saying “it’s the disease! it’s not him!” — because you know what, he had so many chances and had so many rehab experiences and he was great at criticizing everyone else. And even if it was the disease and it was too strong for him to control, I still get to be angry about it. Hearing grown adults try to blame other people for his death, the same ones who consequently ruined my life in so many different ways…it’s all just a crazy mess and part of why I don’t consider myself related to that side of the family at all.
He was good looking, strong and great with trade work and his life could have looked so different. I’m not gonna say he was the brightest crayon in the box but he really was a hard worker and that got him far a lot of the time. I know addiction is just the realness of the situation but he hardly contributed dimes to his son (you can imagine where all his money went) and he was no kind of father figure to him and that makes me so bitter. It’s so funny to hear family say “he loved him! he loved him so much!” because he never did anything for him. Smiling in a couple pictures on your seldom visits doesn’t make you a great father and I am so let down by how all of this ended, and I won’t pretend to honor him as a father at all, even though I do know he loved his son deep down..I will try to remember the best of him but I also feel at 6 months later really angry and I feel SO much better when connecting with others who have been through similar with their loved ones/siblings on this level of honesty, something lacking when it comes to talking about the unexpected and tragic deaths in circumstances including drugs or alcohol or other addictions. The fluff is not what’s real, and it doesn’t heal to pretend things were all sunshine and rainbows (and you KNOW I usually love some sunshine and rainbows hahaha!) — but I want to thank those who have reached out and lost someone (or fear losing someone with an addiction) — we are so not alone when we open up and get it all out!