They're all gone now...and I am alone with the pain.
(Mt. Pleasant, SC, USA)
Jeff in his red hot mustang.
Mom, 1996 - I miss you to this day. You were 73, not really old. You died of a horrible disease that no one really ever figured out, or really cared to figure out, in my humble opinion...you died a bloody death. I have never seen so much blood come from one body at one time in my life. We took you off the ventilator and you died several hours later. I didn't even go see you. They cremated you in your hospital gown and dad put you on the mantle. I'm so sorry I didn't do all the things I should have done as a daughter; pick out a nice dress for you, make sure you were memorialized properly. I'm sorry mom. Steve coming to steal your ashes from daddy wasn't a good thing to cap everything off, but Steve was in mental anguish and I forgive him.
Steve, my oldest brother, 1998 - You died at age 53. I didn't know you that well, and what I did know of you was fear. You were a big man, and you talked loud and you frightened me with your mean faces. Drugs came into your life and you lost control. On top of your diabetes problems and heart problems, you gave up on life. Besides, mom was gone, what did you have to live for anymore? So, they say, you lit a cigarette while you were on an oxygen tank. It was said you refused treatment and wanted to die. I never saw you, I don't even know where your ashes are. You were loving too, and you were my brother, and even though you said many mean things to me, I learned to ignore them. I certainly did not wish to see you leave this life the way you did, in pain and misery, lonely and depressed.
Daddy, 1998 - oh how I miss you too. You were 83 and had lived a good life, however, most of it as an alcoholic; but that didn't keep you from getting everything we all needed. You worked hard and you tried to steer us all on the right path. You were moral, intelligent, fun but got angry quite a bit; but I loved you daddy, more than you will ever know. I didn't get to see you either when you passed. You fell and hit your little "eggshell" thin head on the dresser. You never regained consciousness, and the two brothers remaining alive released you by turning off the ventilator.
Timmy, 1999 - You died at age 45...I know this for sure because I had just sent you a birthday card. I miss you Tim, because I thought there was so much potential in you. The drugs got ahold of you so young in your life, ruining it, destroying you. You were a good worker, just wanted to be left alone, but still something was wrong in your head...like the rest of us. You hinted so many times to Jeff, your older brother, that you wanted to die...that you had lived long enough. However, your wife and Jeff didn't realize you would take that lethal dose of morphine. You threw up, but no one recognized these as signs of overdose. I never got to say goodbye to you either. You were mad at me anyway. You always seemed to be jealous of me and I don't know why. I loved you more than I did the other two brothers, but you never knew that.
Jeff, 2009 - You made it ten years after Timmy before deciding to leave, Jeff. Age 63. You made it further than your brothers. The three other times you tried to commit suicide..I was confused because, I, myself felt the same way after losing our entire family. I wanted to join them all as well...including our grandmothers and grandfathers and uncles and aunts....but I had two daughters who saved my life. I tried to help you as much as I could. We brought you to live with us after the last time you tried to kill yourself...but it made no difference. In your mind, you were determined to leave this Earth. You tried to make it. You tried very hard, but honey, I know that you not only suffered pain, but you also suffered tremendous mental pain. PTSD from Vietnam and your childhood.... witnessing mother being beaten and you and Steve being beaten just for the heck of it. You were a shy, unassuming, brilliant and athletic man when you were young...but drugs got ahold of you as well.
Why did Steve, you and Tim feel the need to be "high" or "low" all the time? The more and different pills you took, the better. I have been diagnosed with bipolar, and I think all of you were too. Well you were diagnosed as BP before you left. But it wasn't enough. I was so angry at the doctors for not "saving" you, for not keeping you from killing yourself. I blasted everyone with my anger and hatred... I lost friends, the last cousin we had because I got
angry with him for not speaking with you before you passed...you were trying to say good bye. He didn't even send a bereavement card. My friends backstabbed us both by saying you were a child molestor...when in fact, you were one of the most moral men I knew. You laid in that bed over there for two days in death. Me, going on my merry way, because you were out of my house and not endangering my daughters, because you couldn't get your drugs and would go through withdrawals. And now, dear brother, I feel guilty. So guilty. Why couldn't I have called you more often, invited you over for dinner, coffee, or to meet somewhere....it's because you scared me, Jeff. I never knew what you were going to do. You made my life hell in the end...but it doesn't keep the terrible pain I feel.
I cannot stop the review of them taking you out in a body bag and not allowing me to see you. You left me a letter. That was nice, but it was cold, Jeff. Did you hate me so bad in the end that you had to speak to me so coldly? Thank God you had the presence of mind to have had life insurance. I didn't know what to do with your body. The Veterans Hospital wouldn't help me and there you lay in the cold morgue, in my mind all hacked up from the autopsy. I had no one to help me, no where to turn. I realized how it felt to be completely alone like you must have felt. It's been hell, Jeff. Being bipolar, you know I was weak, and as you said, a drama queen. You knew it broke my heart, soul and mind when I lost the entire family 10 years ago....and yes, I am angry at you.
I talked to you the day you did it. I thought there was something wrong...but two days later, they called and told me to come to your roommate's home. I knew you had finally succeeded. In my mind, at first, I was happy because you were out of pain, but now, I am so torn up inside that I go from being so very angry and hateful to running back to my God. I cannot seem to get back up on the horse, Jeff. Back on the prayer line, or the teen hotline and you will
laugh at this, I'm to begin training for a suicide hotline....is that a joke, or what? I can't do any of this.
Jeff, I miss you. You were the only one I looked up to. I missed you so much when you went to Vietnam. When you left, you were the funny brother that made me laugh, or would go buy me one of those special burritos, or take me to the beach. I don't
think you really liked me, Jeff. I don't think any of you liked me and I don't know why. I just did what I thought I was supposed to do... go to college, go in to a career, get married, have children.... did that make you all mad at me?
I'm sorry for being so different. I wanted to be liked by you all; tough, not a sissy. I was athletic so you all would be proud of me, but nothing I did impressed any of you. Mom and dad were proud, but had a hard way of showing it. It was like expected of me to succeed... like none of the rest of you did, so it was up to me. It was a burden, but a challenge....but you know what happened... after all the deaths, I lost my mind, had my husband arrested, sold everything I had and put my two daughters, two dogs and two cats in to the van and drove back to California from Georgia to be with you and Connie.
I had an affair....my life, career all went down the drain and all I had left were my two daughters and now all I do is yell at them because I am angry, angry angry...at you killing yourself, for hating me, for making my life miserable in the end, for scaring my children, and I feel guilty because you never let me down. You always saw to it my car was in good condition, bought me stuff, food when I needed it. Took me in when I had no place to go......anger, guilt, anger, guilt, then acceptance and peace and then it starts all over again. Oh Jeff, you are the one I want to be happy in Heaven. Please God, make there be a Heaven so that he can finally get some peace.
The rest of my family....I have let you go, at least I have put it behind me. I never allowed myself to grieve...didn't want to face it...wanted to run. I ran from the grief. I think it is way down in my head somewhere, but at least I was able to function somewhat normally for those 10 years in order to raise my girls....and now it starts all over again.
When does it all end? The pain, confusion, my anger....my anger is affecting my children....my friendships. I never saw any of you after death, I never got to say goodbye to any of you and the hole in my heart is so big that a watermelon could fit through it. I suppose it is God's way of protecting me and I thank Him for that....but....when will it all end for me?