My brother is dead. Dec 29th 2011

by Jillian
(Bristol, RI)

Alex and Jace

Alex and Jace

Alex was my younger brother by 12 years. It feels more like he was my son at times. I did a lot of "raising" of him for those first 5 years. Then I went off to college and a life and children of my own. I lost touch with the day to day happenings; didn't see his soccer games, his plays or musicals, nor his high school graduation. Four hours away and without a car I missed a lot. But I had holidays and summers with him when he would come to visit for a week or two and as he grew older would spend the whole summer.

He was an advid photographer, who took pictures at my second wedding, sang at my pre wedding dinner and wrote us a beautiful poem.

Years later he came to RI from our hometown in NY to live with me and my children. He was in pain and hurting, angry at our mother, the world, himself. He cut himself, drugged himself and drank. I forced him into therapy, a hospital, He got better, got a job, hit low and cut himself again...right out on the street in front of my home...I kicked him out. He bounced around to two different living situations. A year later he came home to me again. He didn't come out of his room, he was sad, he was happy, he was up, he was down. He smoked, he drank, he went for help...he was better, working out, eating healthy, biking and enjoying life. He lost over 150lbs! He made up with our mother....He moved out on his own again. We started to learn how to be friends, brother and sister, not surrogate mother and son. We sang in the car, went to movies, out to dinner. Every other saturday was our "family day" where we'd meet with my son's Kyle(22), Jace (12) and Kyle's dad Jorge and grab lunch or BBQ in the backyard and hit the consignment shops or go to the waterfront or park. We'd toss the ball, fly kites, got to the renaissance fair. In October Alex, Jorge and Kyle had their birthdays. One big party for all of them....I was the oddball out because I wasn't born in a year ending with "9". Jace though born in September was still in the "9's" year. We'd always joke about me throwing the whole thing off.

Over the past summer Alex started getting down again. Started fixating on things, stuff that happened a year ago, 5 years ago, when he was little. He started sending me text messages, phone calls at all hours of the night, started harassing my son Kyle, backhanded my son Jace. His depression had returned. The medications were off, he was drinking and smoking pot again...or too be honest just doing it more...It became unbearable. He lashed out at all of us, even Kyle's dad (one of his best friends). I told him to leave my family alone. To get the help he needed, I told him I'd have to get a restraining order....

I heard from my mom he was going to move back to NY by September. The harassment died down but would come in spurts every once in awhile. I almost called him for his birthday in October...but instead listened to his ranting messages and didn't. I needed him to get help, to apologize, to realize what he was doing to himself, to us was wrong.

I told my mom to not talk to me about him....

christmas came....Jorge, Kyle, Jace and I spent our first christmas in about 8 years without Alex....we talked about him over our belated christmas dinner on Wednesday much we missed him...

On Friday morning, December 30th 2011 at 8:04 am my phone rang. My cousin "there has been an accident. It was Alex. It's not good. He didn't make it" I scream, I can't talk...the boys run out from their rooms, groggy from sleep..."my brother is dead"..."your uncle is dead", I can't breath...I can't speak to my mother...I need to get home...I can't leave my boys...what do I do? ...arrangements made...a solo 3 1/2 hour drive to NY....pain, grief... more screams...funeral arrangments, obituary, pack up his belongings...sleep in his room...a funeral...a photo showing of his work at the funeral home...meeting his friends...going to the site of the crash...finding clues...trying to fit the puzzle together...having doubts...
pain...grief...ripped apart....not real...nightmares and dreams.....agony...guilt...anger...questions
work... how do I face each day...can't stop crying...songs on the radio...memories....mysterious happenings...feeling his presence and then feeling alone....

Comments for My brother is dead. Dec 29th 2011

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Jan 22, 2012
Thank you Carol
by: Jillian

Thank you Carol for your kind and comforting words. I am sorry for your loss of your son Sean. I know all we can do is help the best we can. I work with troubled teens and their parents and sometimes I get so frustrated, but I have to always remember I can't fix anything. Just offer guidance and hope that someone, anyone listens and helps themselves.

I know how hard it must be for you as well...having Sean starting to get help with therapy and going back to school. Alex too had just gone back to get help with therapy and medication adjustment. His friends said he was happier the last couple of weeks. It hurts that he never got a chance to find his way out of his depression. Like your son, he was young (32) and struggling to find his way in the world.

May we both find peace. You will be in my heart for the loss we share and for simply reaching out.


Jan 22, 2012
I am so Sorry
by: carol,seans mom

Jillian, I am so sorry for you and your family. It must be difficult to try and help a family member you love so much and then they die. I lost my 24 year old son who had a year of struggling with pain pills. He wanted to be helped but addictions are tough demons. Sean was actually in therapy, on his way back to school and one day did not wake up. I loved him so much and had helped him in so many ways. Or at least the ways I knew how. I also have a sister who is now 53 and has been an alcoholic for over twenty years. I know your frustration and sadness. Stay strong for your sons. Try to remember the good times with your brother. I am so sorry.

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