02 September, 2019

An Ounce of Peace is All I Want For You

Today's title is taken from the lyrics of "Hate Me" by Blue October.  This is inspired by the September Song Project (check it out here) that I found out about on JZ's blog (A Reluctant Bitch). However, I will not link up to the party today, because this post is deeply personal.
I have no words.
I am writing this to try to accumulate some words that make sense of a senseless situation.

I snatched maybe an hour of sleep last night, sometime after 4:30 a.m., so this may not even be coherent.

At around 9:40 last night I turned off my phone to go to sleep.  That's about 10:40 Sunday morning in the US EDT, where my parents live.

I couldn't sleep. I tried my essential oils. I tried a sleep meditation. I tossed and turned, never really reaching that required REM.

Finally at 12:24, I saw a blinking light on my phone. It was a message from my eldest sister alluding to bad news from our brother. So I messaged back that I wasn't sleeping, so if she wanted, we could chat. She called.

My nephew, home from college for the long weekend, hung himself in his bedroom. My brother and his wife returned home from running errands on Saturday and found him. I cannot imagine. A parent's worst nightmare. He was 18. He'd only been at college for about two weeks.

He was well-liked, the life of the party, energetic, tortured his sister regularly like a normal brother, soccer-star at his school, good looking, ambitious; nobody saw this. And there was no note. I have a weird inkling to hope that, since there was no note, maybe it was an accident? Maybe during those first two weeks of his freshman year, the guys were talking about auto-erotic asphyxiation and he wanted to try it? I don't know why that would be preferable in my mind, and maybe I should talk to a counselor about that. But then I remember, when I was suicidal, decades ago, I had no intention to leave a note. I didn't go through with it, so it doesn't matter, but as much as TV and the movies want us to believe there's usually a note, that's not necessarily so. Was he depressed? Who knows. 

My brother is still going through locked accounts to see if there's any hint online. My darling husband suggested that, with no note, no clearly defined reason, there may be some ugly discoveries cropping up in the next few days.

I cannot imagine having to go through that. My head is a whirl of questions. It seems like the only question is "why?", but that's a HUGE question! What circumstances led to this? Was it an ongoing situation in his brain? Were we all blind? Had he gotten into trouble at school and couldn't face the music? Is there some dark secret he's hiding?

My writer's mind wants to be able to describe the situation. I want to know details of what my brother and sister-in-law went through, but that is HORRIBLE! I think I thirst for detail in every situation because my family is severely deficient in the communication department regarding even normal things people talk about. It's not my business anyway.

Oh, incidentally, the family line ended with him. In the traditional sense. This nephew was the only male descendant of my father's family in that generation. My dad was one of six, including four boys, three of whom had sons who might have passed on the family name. Of the four boys born to my generation, only my brother had a biological son. (One has a step-son, who will pass on the name, but not the genes.) It's a tiny, insignificant detail, but my brother was one of those people who cares about things like that.

The suicide was on Saturday (from the secondhand information I have received). Sunday morning, my brother called Mom. She was just finishing up Bible study at church and her phone, which almost never rings, rang. By the time she left the room, it stopped, but Dad's phone was ringing. They joined their pastor in a private room and my brother made sure that Dad (with a weak heart) was seated, before explaining what happened.

The time that phone call took place? Sometime between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m. EDT Sunday morning. Exactly when I was finding myself unable to sleep. And for the rest of the night, I talked to my sister, talked to my mom, messaged my brother, talked to my husband, messaged my other sister, my niece and my sister-in-law, then had a chat conversation with the first sister again, since I was still awake after 3:00 a.m.

I finally drifted off, and woke up crying. 

It's so surreal. The nearest grief I've experienced was my grandmother's death. I thought my next grief would surely be my dad. Today, I can do things - like write this - but I can't stop and think. That's when the tears come again. So the trick is to stay active. I did a great workout this morning, walked to the market and back, then out for breakfast, then out to the shops, then put away laundry... 

As I said, I'm only writing this to try to form words. I really hoped it would help. I can't talk to anyone, because it's not public knowledge yet and anyone I would talk to about it knows my brother and might spill it before they are ready to share. This blog is my safe haven that no one IRL knows about. 

Sorry if it's jarring to you. It's jarring to me.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear this.
    One of my dearest friends discovered her sister the same way. It's a horrible, awful thing that will reverberate for a long time. Worse, there's nothing anyone can do to help. Miserable stuff.
    Sending good thoughts to all, anyhow.

    1. My sister-in-law expressed hope that I have support, and I couldn't tell her that, until they are ready for this to be public, I can't really talk to anyone but my husband about it. I just hope they get some answers.

  2. Nothing I can say will make it feel better but I just wanted to let you know that you'll be in my thoughts.

  3. I'm so sorry. I'm glad you have the blog to vent to. You might try journaling as well. There's no rhyme or reason to grief, so do what you need to do as you need to do it.

    Depression is a bitch, and at that age, everything seems so huge. It's amazing any of us live to be 21, really.

    1. I feel like I went through all the stages of grief in pretty short order. Today seems fine. But I know that the tears will come randomly at unexpected moments. Just another thing to watch my brain for.

  4. 18 is so young to leave this world. You and your family are facing a terrible grief. You'll make it through. I'm sorry for your loss.

    1. Thank you, Ann. It has been difficult. I know his immediate family will struggle more as they try to find a new "normal".

  5. Oh Red! I am so far behind in reading blogs (been busy writing & promoting). I am SOOOOO sorry to hear this. I've had it strike in family & friends with young boys like this and like you, we prefer to think of the accidental causes. But in most cases, we'll never know. Sending hugs to everyone who can use it.

    1. I have been negligent in my blog reading, and don't have nearly such a good excuse. Good for you! It was a blessing to see so very many people outpouring their love over the weekend.

    2. I loved the pink shirt detail....somehow your instinct connected.


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