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amie   

Where do I even begin..... Well, the beginning.

I am Amie, when I was born I had a friend that was already selected by nature to be my best friend, teach me unforgettable lessons, and help every step of my way. His name is Jeremy, and he is my big brother. We have always been very close. I am now 23, and confused with life. He was 25 when he died, just weeks before his birthday. Well, the history of his life, my life, and our family is quite deep and painful. Jeremy joined the army when he was 18, and served two years, even went to Iraq, before returning home with his honorable discharge. Upon his arrival home, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. I hate the stigma, and assumptions that go through others' mind when they hear of this disease. He had such a hard time. He spent the following six+ years taking anti-psychosis medications and relapsing his pills, going through an inner hell on a daily basis.

He had been in and out of psychiatric wards a few handfull of times. He eventually started drinking heavily, and majority of the time did not take his medication. For the past two+ years he would drink roughly 18 beers a day. He would walk around the city, sometimes pass out in bushes, and wake up in the hospital hours later or even the next day absolutely confused why he is there. People have called the police on him because he would be wandering while drunk. One time he was walking barefoot, went into a 7-11, and told the clerk to call the police on him because he was losing his mind.

This was after a several day drug binge.

You see, though, Jeremy is (was) the most innocent, intelligent, wise, witty, goofy guy I have ever known. Schizophrenia or not, the disease did not take him away. It just became a part of him. It tormented him, and he was desperate to not feel the way he did, therefore began binging with drugs. For years he would find cocaine from someone, and binge for about a week straight, and then not touch it again for 6+ months. One of his most recent cocaine binges resulted in him desperately wanting to live in a sober living home to help himself get cleaned up. Unfortunately, while there, he met a man named Erik. Or should I say boy. Erik was there for heroin. Eventually they began getting motel rooms in DTLA, and Jeremy was smoking heroin while Erik shot it up. This was about a year and a half before Jeremy would chase the dragon for the final time.

Well, my details are feeling scatterbrained as I think I am still in total shock. All I know is Jeremy got really sick. It was a Thursday and his illness just began. My dad called me to tell me about his symptoms. That Saturday I drove over there (we live 45 min away from eachother) and visited.

Jeremy was so sick that he could not walk, could hardly talk, and was crying with frustration and didn't understand what was happening to him. He hated hospitals so refused to let anyone take him, until I convinced him something is seriously wrong. There were buckets in his room that he had been vomiting in and peeing in, as he could NOT walk. He was perfectly healthy before. On Sunday at 9 AM my dad took him to the emergency room. I stayed home and cleaned his whole room, his bedding, vomit, everything.. so when he got back home it would be comfortable for him. While cleaning his room I found roughly 20 balloons of heroin- black tar- 9 of them had been used and 11 of them were untouched. I flushed all of it down the toilet.

I also left a note on his desk saying I loved him, and I am sorry if he feel I invaded his privacy by cleaning his room, I just wanted him to feel comfortable.

I left the house before he came back with my dad, because I thought he was going to be mad about the heroin.

Two days later, it is now Tuesday morning, I am at work eating a subway sandwich on my lunch break. I just so happened to already be on the phone with my mom, and my dad called her on the other line. We both immediately knew something was wrong with Jeremy, as my dad never calls her. Especially that early. She called me back, wouldn't tell me what was happening, and just said we need to get to the hospital.

My dad found Jeremy dead early Tuesday morning, in his room, sitting in the same position and place where he had seen him the night before. He touched his skin and it still felt warm, so he called the ambulance. They told my dad to perform CPR until they arrived-- somehow, by some freak of nature, they were able to bring him back to life. When I arrived to the hospital Jeremy had only been there for an hour, and the doctors said he already coded 4 times but they finally have him stable.

Eventually we discovered both of his kidneys had failed, and that he will need a dialysis of his blood will just poison his body to death. At this point I was standing beside him, in shock, watching all of the tubes. He was on 100% life support. I went home that night, after the doctors did the dialysis, and told me his potassium levels were back to normal. I felt like everything might be okay.

Well the next day, I woke up and went back to the hospital, and immediately there was a whole team in the serenity room wanting to speak about his condition, and our options as his family. My mom, dad, and I sat there as we were told Jeremy is 100% brain dead, and there is absolutely no chance of him ever coming back. For some reason they were not able to take him off life support until the next day, so we scheduled the time to be at 4 PM. We all got to have a personal last moment with him, I got to tell him all of the non-thoughts I was having. I literally had no thoughts. I was in shock. I just layed on him in silence, kissed his eyelids, smelled him for the last time, and told him how much I loved him and how I'm not sure how to be an Amie without a Jeremy.

And that part still holds true, I do not know what to do. I've lost pretty much all my friends, as a result of pushing them away, as none of them understand whatsoever the immense pain that is now my world.

Anyway, heroin took my brothers life. On Wednesday, the day before he became very sick, he got some heroin from a friend of Erik's. He binged with that heroin, smoking all 9 balloons that night. Thursday he immediately got extremely sick from whatever the adulterant was that the heroin was cut with. It took 11 days in total to kill my brother. And I......... I ..........am lost. I know this is happening, but somehow still have a hard time accepting that it has happened.

-- it has been three months, now.--

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dsmurph   

I'm sorry for the loss of your brother, your best friend. There are alot of people on here who will listen and who understand. Grieve in your own way at your own pace. Life shouldn't be like this. But, it is and all we can do is hang on the best we can. Debbie

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Dear Amie,

First of all, I want to give you a Big (((((HUG))))) for being as courageous as you are and have been in dealing with your brother's tragedy. You certainly deserve that hug and I'm sure many others are with me on this. I am so very very sorry that you had to experience what you did and I offer my most sincere condolences on the physical loss of your dear brother.

We will never completely know what drives people to do what they do and why they continue to do it knowing the odds are against them. It has been said that each person's mind is a different world. Indeed they live in their world that can either bring them happiness or torture and why, if it's the latter, do they continue doing that to themselves we just have to ask?

It is the hardest not only for them but for the rest of the family who loves and cares for them. To see a sibling suffer as you describe your brother did, and you also along with him in your own way, is truly heartbreaking and I wish there had been another way for the ending to be a happier one. But his young life tragic as it ended may have resulted in perhaps letting others, through your testimony, become more aware of the Extreme Danger in taking such harmful drugs. Many people use drugs as a crutch to try to escape from reality others use perhaps other excuses which we may not fully understand. But one would expect for those whom they go to who are professionals to be cognizant enough of their problems such as to guide them away from the harm that is occurring. But truly they cannot be with them 100% of the time to supervise their behavior thus, that is where dark opportunity unfortunately raises its ugly head.

While no words can be so comforting as having your dear brother incarnate and alive right there with you, please know that his spirit still lives on and suffers no more. Please know that you are loved and respected for trying to help your sibling during his time of most need and I'm sure he more than appreciates that you did that for him. Do try to relax and allow the Good Memories of your childhood together to emerge rather than the unpleasant ones that you have revealed to us.

I pray that you will find Strength and Comfort in your life and that even though you may feel shattered from your present experience you will find that you are not alone in this and that God is right there with you to guide your life towards a more pleasant and loving tomorrow! May God bless you and your family and keep you safe and in His care.

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