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Trauma from Siblings Heroin Death

Nicole-my grief journey

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Nicole-my grief journey

Feeling so sad and alone in my grief. The trauma keeps re-playing in my mind. Feeling and worrying for a week that something was wrong when I couldn’t reach my brother and intuitively knowing he was most likely dead somewhere. I felt it in my heart. We we’re close and I don’t know how to explain that feeling of just knowing. My mind, my soul, the pit in my stomach all telling me. 

Asking others for help and being told “he’s probably just wanting some alone time” and “not to worry”. No one listening to me and not agreeing with me to call the police, or offering to go with me to look for him. Feeling that if I did and being told if I did, that everyone was going to be upset with me (because if he was alive and just on a binder “You’ll get him in trouble with the police and he doesn’t need that”).
Me explaining and pleading that it could possibly help him get clean if the law was involved.

Deciding I could no longer try and act like nothing was wrong and deciding I had to know. The drive to his apartment that night and how scared I was and then finding out what I had feared the most was true...My worst nightmare real and right in front of me. He was dead, I found him and I couldn’t help him, save him. I’m broken that he died by himself and that I had no idea he was doing heroin. HEROIN! WTF! I knew he had struggled with pills, but  this?! I live out of state and so that is the only reason I feel like I missed the signs. I am trying to forgive myself for failing him and not pushing harder to do more. We got him into rehab several times over the last 10yrs, but he would leave on day 7 EVERY time.

The scene was terrifying. Needles, decomposition, the screams let out by my other family member who was with me. First responders, forensics, non- chalant police officers, nosy people in the neighborhood standing outside watching everything unfold and calling others in town to tell them before even a few hours had gone by. My brother being carried out in a body bag. Being retold grim details by one officer (which I could clearly see, because I’m the one who went in to the apartment and called 911 in the first place!).

So much anxiety, anger and pain in the days following from people making rumors about my brother and his life and death. I mean, how could they know anything unless they were there and saw it?! They hadn’t. Therefore, it was so disrespectful and parasitic and disgusting of them to say anything. We’re a family who is hurting and this was/ is really happening to us. Anything less than condolences is out of line. And if they knew he was in trouble, they should have done more, instead of standing around waiting for it to happen so that they could gossip about it. It sends chills up my spine knowing there are people who were in my brothers life feeding off of him and his disease.

Next, funeral arrangements. Choosing an urn, music, writing an obituary. Family members being in shock and upset and taking it out on me because (and I understand this) the reality of the situation was too much to bare at that time. But someone had to make decisions and so I did. Waiting for his body to be creamated knowing I would never see his beautiful face again. He had big brown eyes and long, black eyelashes. A magnetic personality. He seemed to being doing so well the last month and when I had spoken to him on his birthday over the phone (a few days before I couldn’t reach him), he was so happy. I couldn’t wait to see him for the holiday and he called me by my nickname, teased me as usual and said I love you.

I did my best to do right by my brother and make things in a way, so that it wouldn’t be so horrific for my other family members. Cleaning the scene and apartment, so that everyone wouldn’t experience what I had if they went there to help me. The insurance adjuster sent a team that didn’t do anything except remove the part of the floor where he lay in his final moments.  I will never get over this.

I didn’t want the way it happened, the things I had to get rid of, to overshadow the beautiful memories we had of my brother before his disease destroyed him. He didn’t want to die. Everything leading up to it in the weeks prior showed the hopes and dreams he was trying to make happen for himself. The disease was too strong.

There is nothing like an unattended death and although I handled it at the time, I’m now experiencing ptsd. I feel so detached from others. It’s a victory if I can get out of bed and dressed. I don’t want to live my life without my brother and I’m not sure how I will go on this time. I’m scared. I am seeing my therapist and fighting to move forward. It’s so hard. This is the second brother I have lost. The first was to cancer 11yrs ago when he was in his early 30’s. This brother that just passed literally turned 41 a few days before his death. I used to be strong and now I feel I’m falling apart. 

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