A Letter about My Brother

by Louis John baxter
(Dublin, Ga, USA)

My brother

My brother

My brother took his own life this past Monday. I had taken my wife to the ER for some problems related to her pregnancy and when I came home I found him hung by his belt. I tried to revive him and when I first got there I thought I had a chance. I later found that there was no chance and I was about an hour too late.

When I think about the specific incident and all the problems leading up to it I realize and accept that I might have been able to help him. I knew he needed help before he died, but I don’t judge myself that harshly because first I think if bobby were alive he wouldn’t want me to be so hard on myself; he loves me after all. I also realize that I’m not perfect. I do the best I can with what I have and that’s also how I think I’m able to forgive him, because I know he did the best he could with what he had.

It is an emotional roller coaster for my entire family because he was thirty one years old and we had time to really grow together, but not enough to grow old together. I can’t be sure but I think I am comforted by his presence; I mean to say that I carry with him in my heart and that I feel like he’s watching out for me. I feel like life does have purpose but I just miss him so damn much. I mean, I know that I will see him again. I know it now. I’m comforted by it, but why is it still so hard to think about him for more than thirty seconds.

I notice that I have anxiety when I get tired and especially at night. I wonder if it has to do with the time he died, the fact that when I’m tired my coping mechanism are weaker, or if I feel guilty because there is a list of things I should have done.
I go between feeling like life isn’t fair and everything is going to be alright. I’m supposed to live another 40 or 50 or 60 years without my brother; I don’t see what’s fair about that. I know life isn’t fair. I mean I really know it now but I always understood it I suppose.

So I just want to say a few things about kabob. He worked hard and he really cared about his family. He was a roofer for a long time and he always called his family to check up on them. He was unemployed and had just broken up with his girlfriend when he moved in. I found a journal entry dated a week before he took his life and probably the same day he moved in. He basically says that he feels terrible about lying to her about his children in a previous relationship and lying in general.

He really hated himself and I think maybe he did in fact hate himself for a long while. Bobbo was never the type of person to think his actions through; when he made up his mind to do something he just did it, consequences be damned, a man of action. I imagine he wasn’t thinking of us when he took his life. I know he barely slept and I imagine he only thought of how much everything hurt and the only thing he could do, end it.

Comments for A Letter about My Brother

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Jan 22, 2013
A Letter about My Brother
by: Doreen U.K.

Dear Anonymous I am sorry for your loss of your brother yesterday to a sudden death by suicide. Your Mom will be in a very distraught state right now having lost an Adult Child. Try and get her some grief counselling which is often necessary in deaths by suicide. Often the family is left holding a lot of guilt. Then there is yourself trying to be supportive to everyone. Don't neglect your own grief and support you need. Not forgetting the wife and 3 children left behind and who will not only suffer anger buy mixed emotions that perhaps daddy didn't love them. Children are often too young to process what a death is and means for the family left behind to grieve. You could all do with professional support to help you move beyond the point of self blame. May you all be comforted in your grief and sorrow. May he R.I.P.

Jan 22, 2013
So sorry
by: Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,
I am so very sorry for your loss. My brother Jonas ended his life on November 20, 2012. Yesterday I had a horrible day, I just wanted to lay in a dark room all day. At dinner time my husband asked me how I was feeling and I said like sh-t! He said that yesterday was blue monday (you can google it), the most depressing day of the year. I thought, oh g-d, if it is the most depressing day of the year than people will die today because of it.

For 2 months since my brother's passing I have been doing a lot of soul searching. I wish I could comfort you by saying that everything is going to be OK. My brother was a father and step father also and adored and loved by all the kids.

THe amount of people who choose to end their lives is shocking. I have not gone to any support groups yet but I do take comfort in that we are not alone in our feelings. I think death by suicide is an unsusual circumstance because it leave us wondering and feeling like we failed that person.

I wish you and your family peace and I send my blessings.

Jan 21, 2013
My Brother Killed Himself Today
by: Anonymous

My brother shot and killed himself this morning after calling my mom to say he loved her but he could not go on. He left behind a wife and three kids. I wish he had called me......maybe I could have changed his mind.

Dec 23, 2012
My Brother did the same thing just 1 month ago
by: Doreen U.K.

Rachel I am sorry for your loss of your brother. You are not responsible for your brother's death. You said your brother suffered with anxiety all his life, and you feel responsible for not doing more to help him. This is the normal feelings of grief. Just don't go through the rest of your life feeling guilty for this. Try and resolve this guilt with the help of a counsellor.
I was depressed for the whole of my pregnancy. I now have a 43yr. old son vulnerable to depression and anxiety. But he went into counselling himself and is moving forward with a better frame of mind. It has just taken him longer to mature. I not only did the counselling bit for myself and to help my family. I was able to relate better and with daily interaction this also helped my children and husband to be healed from this. Often when only one person in a family goes into counselling this can benefit the whole family. I then did voluntary work in a counselling centre supporting clients and I can tell you that anyone suffering with anxiety disorders or depression most often cannot be helped the way they need from their siblings. This should make you not feel guilty. All one can do as a sibling is be supportive. The best anyone can do is encourage their loved ones to go into counselling and stay with them supporting them through this. Being part of the same family one is not able to be supportive in the way the person suffering needs. Their needs are different and sometimes requires a specialist area of support. I hope that life treats you well and that you are able to move forward better after losing your brother. Most people who have lost a brother to suicide need support from a counsellor due to the nature of the type of death. Process this for yourself if you find yourself struggling with your grief.

Dec 22, 2012
My younger brother did the same thing just 1 month ago
by: Rachel

Dear Louis,
I am so sorry for your loss. My brother Jonas ended his life on November 20th, 2012. He was a beautiful person, kind and loved. Unfortunately my brother struggled with overwhelming anxiety his whole life. I can even remember his struggles as a young child. I wish I could have protected him more. I feel like I failed him. I will have a hole in my heart forever, I'm sure you understand.

I pray for all of us to heal and send my very best wishes to you and your familly.


Nov 27, 2012
A Letter about My Brother
by: Doreen U.k.

Dear Louis don't worry too much whether you are grieving the right way. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. But in Grief we express ourselves through crying. Tears are the way to flush out our pain till healing takes place. This is a very slow process.
Many people can be stuck in grief and not be able to express grief. I call this frozen grief where a person cannot express any feeling or emotion. It is not that they don't care. A counsellor is the best person to see in most circumstances of grief when someone is concerned about this.
The first stage is SEARCHING & CRYING. After 6 months I am still stuck in this stage. If I can't move beyond this stage I too will go see a counsellor. There is no time limit on where a person is at. But for many who are still grieving after years then they need to go see a counsellor. After some years the pain should ease. If the pain is still raw after some time then that person needs help.
I wish I pursued my training for Grief Counselling. Also wish I still had my handbook to refer to. Never thought I would need this. Even counsellors lose people from their lives and often need support from a colleague. This is not uncommon. They are just as human as us. We all need someone to lean on.
The reason you are having to tell yourself that your brother is dead is because it was a SHOCK. You are still in SHOCK & DISBELIEF. Don't be afraid to cry. This is not UNMANLY. It is human to cry. Even Jesus Wept.

Nov 26, 2012
Thank you Doreen
by: Louis John baxter

I just want to thank you for your kind words and support. I know you don't know me but I feel like through our suffering, we are connected. I am sorry to hear that you too know the sting of death and that specifically you know what suicide means.

I'm not sure if I am grieving in a healthy way or not. I think it's because it happened so recently and that is why I feel so distraught. I don't have any feelings or desire to die and so I feel like sadness, guilt, and anger are all apart of the normal grieving process.

I have to tell myself every day that bobby is dead and I try to do it before I forget and think like he is alive. That's the only thing I can think of that makes me think that I'm not grieving well.

But again thank you so much for your words. It means more than you might have known.

Nov 24, 2012
A Letter about My Brother
by: Doreen U.K.

Louis I am sorry for your loss of your brother to suicide. You are trying to comfort yourself that you did your best and not responsible. But deep down you probably are feeling guilty. Better to bring all these feelings out and explore them. In reality you are not responsible for your brother's death. He made a choice based on how he was feeling at the time. When a person takes their own life they certainly are not in the right frame of mind to start thinking of who they are leaving behind, or who will miss them. Your brother would have been so desperate at the time he wasn't thinking of anyone else but the pain he was in and the shame he felt for lying to his girlfriend. He wanted to end his pain and shame. Which meant taking his life. If you feel there is something you could have done to save him. This is your grief talking, and making you feel guilty. Because your brother had a personality that made him act immediately to resolve his problems this is why he hung himself. He probably felt he had to be punished for doing wrong. Only you would know from your upbringing whether any of you were excessively punished as children to be good boys. This would have made your brother punish himself when he did anything wrong. He sounds like a man of Integrity. Wanting to do the right thing and not hurt anyone so he hurt himself instead. Perhaps this may make sense to you. You are right not to blame yourself.
My nephew was 30yrs. and 5 years ago he threw himself in front of an express train. He wanted his mum (my sister) to take him back home. His name was Peter and he was disrespectful to his stepfather and so he was denied coming home. He killed himself instead. he was crying out for help. My sister felt guilty for such a long time and needed a grief counsellor to come to her home to support her. She was MAD with GRIEF. We will always wonder if there was something we could have done to save a person. But sadly we are responsible for the CHOICES we make in life. I lost my husband to cancer 6 months ago. I got to thinking I hope I don't have 30yrs. more to live without my husband. I would see this as God being Cruel to me. You asked the same question. "Will I have to spend 30,40,0r 50yrs. without my brother. No one knows how long they have to live. But it is part of grief to look ahead to all the years we may have to live without our loved one we have lost. Healing will take time. But you will get past your loss in time. If you struggle. Go see a grief counsellor. Suicidal deaths nearly always need the support of a counsellor.

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