I don't even know how to start this honestly. I've debated writing about this a thousand times, and every time I decide against it, or I write the whole thing out and then just delete it. I don't want it to come across like I'm making it about me? Maybe I'll delete this. I try to keep my personal life separate from the black hole that is the Internet, but I also feel like it needs to be said.
Seven years ago today, I got a phone call from my mom that said, "Your dad just found [your brother] dead." I don't remember what happened after that. I remember calling my best friend in the parking lot, I don't remember what I said to her. I called the guy I was dating at the time, I don't remember what I said to him. I don't remember driving home. I do remember pulling up and seeing several emergency vehicles blocking the street. I think I even left my car running in the middle of the street. I don't think I parked it. I remember yelling at the neighbors for staring. Very on brand, but I just I think I was angry at the situation, not them, and didn't know how to process or handle it.
I had just assumed he killed himself. That's what I originally thought. It made the most sense -- he'd had a history of anxiety issues, and I'm not going to get into it all. I heard one of the first responders (or someone, I don't remember) say, "Be careful you don't get stuck with something." And then I went into the bathroom and threw up.
Drugs aren't something I was familiar with at all. The craziest thing I was around was weed, which the skater kids I hung out with in high school smoked. Maybe I was just oblivious? Not entirely sure. I'm someone who, I have to have the WORST headache of all time to even take an Advil. It's just how I am. I had weird reactions to medications when I was younger, and I just think I have a fear of that happening again? I don't really know, that's beside the point. The fact that my brother, who I had no idea did any of that stuff, died of an accidental drug overdose in my parents' house, was completely absurd to me.
No one had any idea.
He wasn't "addicted" to heroin. He had (probably) done it a few times, either socially or on his own, I have no idea. This one time he did it, the time that killed him, was because his body wasn't used to it and it was too much for his body to handle at the time. One. Time.
That's the whole point of this. It's more common than you think. It happens more often than you think, to people you would least expect. All it takes is one time.
My brother and I were never that close as kids, but as we started to get older we started to share some of the same friends -- when I moved out, he helped me move into college. I invited him to parties and over to watch football on Sundays. He never came -- but I feel like if he had the chance to get older, he would have, and our relationship would have evolved into an adult sibling relationship. And sadly I'll never know.
I question all the time if I could have done something, what if I just asked him if he was okay? Do you need any help? Would he have even told me? What would I have done if he did? I'm at peace with it now, but it's something that's on my mind all the time.
His birthday sucks, the anniversary sucks, holidays, especially Christmas sucks. Hearing NOFX sucks. Sometimes seeing Stone Cold Steve Austin on something sucks. It hits me at the weirdest times -- a loss of someone that you can't ever remember NOT being there, is just not there anymore. The last time I saw him was a time that was forgettable, but now I remember it down to what he was wearing. I remember telling myself that I had to be strong for my parents, all the while never really getting to grieve for myself. It never really gets easier, it just gets easier to deal with. You accept, you don't ever really heal.
He was so smart. Was really into literature, songwriting, writing in general. I remember a teacher in high school accused him of plagiarism on a paper he wrote because "a 14-year-old couldn't have possibly written this." He loved movies -- he watched really complex movies (and understood them) at a young age. He was able to carry a conversation that deeply made you think about the world and what happened in it and what could possibly happen next. He threw up in the front of the entire auditorium at one of my dance recitals. He set off the smoke alarm in our hotel on a family vacation once trying to cook eggs and didn't realize he should have put oil or butter in the pan first. He taught himself how to play guitar and bass.
I didn't know how to start this, and I don't really know how to end it, either. It's one of those things that I obviously wish had never happened, but it also gave me a whole new outlook on life. From now on, I always try to find something positive out of something negative. I don't want this post to be a downer, especially on a Friday night. I'm not sitting here crying while I type this (I did write this all in one sitting with a glass of wine and didn't stop), so please don't do that. This was therapeutic for me. Cheers.
While most people have those weird, automated email newsletters, my email list gets an email straight from me every week >>>>