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My older brother shot himself just about two weeks ago and I can't believe he's gone. We were supposed to meet up for a movie on Sunday with my parents and he never showed up. He dropped out of medical school a little over half a year ago and we assumed that he was probably depressed. He was very independent and not we are not a very close family so it wasn't unusual to not get a text from him for a very long time, but he always texted if he couldn't make it for something that was planned. We texted him through the week but he never responded so my parents we over to his apartment that Wednesday. My dad called me a couple hours later saying that the police went in and found his body. I can't stop thinking about what his body looked like, how long it had been there, if he felt pain or died instantly. It feels like a knife in my chest when I think about what he felt and thought before he took his life. We got the watch he was wearing when he died and I had to clean the dried blood off which is what prompted me to make a post because I couldn't stop thinking about how much blood there had to have been to reach his watch. Writing this has made it a little easier and it helps to know there are websites like this. 

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Nicole-my grief journey


I am deeply sorrow for the loss of your brother. I feel it in my heart. I too know what it’s like to not receive a text, think maybe it’s normal and a pattern... and then...not have a response ever again. This happened with my brother who I call “B” (on this forum). I also have the first hand experience of cleaning up blood, among countless other things, in his entire apartment. I’m the one who found my brother. He was overdosed. It was a full week that I was trying to reach him with no response. I was worried and other family members convinced me it was a normal pattern. I lived out of state and had come in for holiday and knew it wasn’t like him to not respond when I come to town. I too have suffered through intially wondering how long he had been dead, then going out of my mind wondering what day he died on. I wrote a lot below because I want you to know you’re not alone.

Here goes: I traumatically learned the moment that I opened his apartment door “unattended death” first hand. I didn’t know at the time while I was worried sick, with no one listening to my concern, that I could have had a welfare check done by police. I am glad for your family that it was the police that found him and saw him instead of one of you. It doesn’t ease the raw emotions you are feeling and of course your mind is racing with questions, but that is something to hold on to about not seeing him that way (even though you’re wondering), because I don’t wish on anyone to find their family member in that situation. Even though I briefly saw my brother and where he was laying, I too wondered about the blood, how much, did he choke, stop breathing, how long did it take, could we have gotten to him sooner and stopped what happend, why did it happen, what was he feeling...How did he suffer, what were the moments before, what led up to it? On and on the thoughts raced through my mind for weeks, until my therapist and I continued to do some CBT and also grieving and trauma therapy. I also took action even though it felt hard as hell and unbearable and began writing those thoughts out even though I didn’t feel like it. I started with one sentence a day of how I felt, or a question that wouldn’t get out of my head, or a positive thought and then I would rip up the negative one and throw it away. The one sentence, positive affirmations for healing I folded and put in a small box in my night stand. The action in itself helped. Even if you feel it’s not working immediately, I promise it does in the long run. 

Back to what intially happend: When I mentioned calling the authorities about my brother, my family didn’t want me to get him in trouble with the law and so I waited, terrified, knowing instinctually he was gone. It haunts me that he was there for so long. It’s taken talking to a therapist, trusted friends and time to feel, speak and accept all those feelings and questions. Not that I’m recommending this...because what individuals can handle is different (and it could negatively affect you or others reading this anyone chooses to do what I’m about write)...but I was able to check “B’s” phone records to see when his last calls and texts went out, so I can guess when it happened. However, it added more questions to ALL of the overwhelming ones I already had. So you may not want to do that and let the professionals tell you and your family what they figure out.  Eventually there will be an autopsy report and possibly toxicology report and then you’ll have an idea of when, how long, and various jarring details. 

I personally had fair warning regarding autopsy and toxicology reports, in the way that my best friend had gone through something similar. She let me know they are extremely difficult to read, absorb and could be damaging to my psche. She said it might be better for me not to do that. I mention it because I want to give you fair warning too if you ever decide to read your siblings. Everyone deserves a heads up if they can get one from someone who’s gone through it. Because, although you may feel that you want to know, it is extremely difficult to read the details in those reports. They are graphic in those reports. I didn’t read my brothers until after a month whe I knew it arrived and I felt I was ready and could handle it. This was only a week ago that I read it and so i had over 5months to grieve beforehand and attend counseling first. If you can, use thise resources. Once I did read it, it was upsetting, but in his case, I learned his airway was clear and no vomit and so it gave me a teeny sinch of comfort that maybe he went more peaceful than I thought. But the rest of report added more questions and pain. So it's a catch 22. Again, I’m not a professional, but I do suggest putting a support system in place for you and your family. My therapist was key in helping me cope with my trauma, reducing those circular thought loops, hyper focus on the tradgedy and preparing me for up and coming thoughts and feelings.

It will take time to process your feelings and there’s no set amount time because everyone’s grief is different...but it’s imperative for you, others and myself to have outlets and support and to start as soon as possible, so that the grief doesn’t lead to depression, worse depression, or other things. You’ve done the right thing by joining this forum and sharing. I know how hard it is, but you took a really good step. Writing out those feelings and questions and unknowns you’re experiencing will transform your grieving process and help. Slowly but surely, I don’t think about the most traumatic parts of what happened as much. It’s still fresh for me as it was November 27th, 2017 when I found him, but there is light even in the darkest times when you can’t see it. And there is hope too to transform your feelings and thoughts. We are here and we care. You’re not alone.



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I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my brother on May 9. He was living with me in the days before he died and I felt all of his desperation. Although my brother's death wasn't a suicide, his life was so out of control and I had just got him out of jail. He was in late stage liver disease but still drinking. Despite all that he wanted to get sober and was trying to get a bed in a recovery center every day. I felt all the excruciating pain of his last week. After he died, I asked a native american wise man for guidance and he told me to do a fire ceremony. At that moment I was looking at a duraflame. Then, for two weeks in a row I made a fire every night in my fireplace and stared at it alone. One night staring at the fire I had the thought to have a lantern ceremony for his memorial, which we did on Saturday. Everyone said it was beautiful. It was. I planned it. My siblings paid for most of it. My closest friend played amazing music and my brother's AA friends came. We floated lanterns on the river close to the ocean to help set his spirit free. I am grateful for the blessing of the offering on the river and for the beauty. But the day after, everyone who had come to stay left and I was alone and nothing could have prepared me for that empty loneliness. The beauty of the ceremony was gone and it felt like a performance. I still have lanterns left. Maybe 30  lanterns. I would like to have another ceremony in May next year. Maybe that can happen. I am holding on to the image of the lanterns because it is too painful for me to look at images of my brother. I feel unable to do that. I feel like part of me is now in an immaterial place with him and I don't know where that is. I don't know where he is or where I am sometimes. Some of the shock is starting to wear off, but when people ask me how I am I have nothing to say. I feel like a dog looking at humans and wondering what they mean. I am so sorry for your pain and for your loss. We try to take the burdens of others and still we cannot. But we feel their burdens as ours. They become ours to carry. I hope you know that you are not alone in carrying the sorrow. We are all holding part of it. All of us are with our lost loves in the immaterial world as we are with each other in the material world.

But despite the beautiful tribute, I cannot get around this fear that keeps circling back that I will not do my brother justice. That I will never do him justice. Never remember him enough or tell enough funny stories to keep him alive. I am afraid that I will forget, that I won't do this right. I know that sounds crazy. It is crazy.

The only thought I seem to come back to over and over again that seems to help me is not that he is with me still here, but that part of me has passed into another dimension and is now with him, and that I am bigger and immaterial now and part of me is disappeared but huge, like him, with him, on this other plane. My brother was not "good" at material things. He was disorganized and being in his body was incredibly hard. He suffered so much. But although I am not a religious person, I do believe that my brother continues to exist in an immaterial plane, and communicate with me. So many people have told me special ways they feel that they have received messages from him. Your brother is free. My brother is free. Part of us is with them in that place too. 

Sending you love. 


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