| | Dealing with the death of my brother...how?!
Four months ago, a seemingly normal day turned out to be the worst day of my life. I got the news that my baby brother had just been found dead in his house. He was 19...I'm 31. But he was my best friend. I kept screaming over and over again, "No, no no, not Randy! Anyone but Randy!" It was surreal...almost like a scene out of a movie. To say that this has been a difficult thing to handle would be an understatement. It was ruled as a suicide, but those of us that know him believe that it wasn't intentional. He took way too many drugs to get away from his pain, but he never would have wanted to escape life like that. He'd never want to hurt people like this. I flew out to Michigan (I live in Washington now...he was supposed to be moving out here with me a week ago) for the funeral, stayed 2 days, and came home to go about my life. I have kids & responsibilities. It had to be "life as usual" or my family would suffer. I guess I went through a lot of denial at the funeral. It took me HOURS before I could even set foot inside the funeral home. I stood outside in the cold and chain smoked.
So 2 days later, I was back at work, trying to pretend like I was ok. Everyone kept telling me how strong I was and how proud they were of me. I honestly wanted to smack them all. I wanted to say, "Are you kidding me? Don't you see that life as I've always known it is over? My best friend is gone! DEAD! I AM NOT OK!!!!" Of course I just put my brave face on and smiled at them, thanking them for their sympathies and encouragement. As if that wasn't enough stress in my life, 3 weeks after Randy died, my boyfriend of 12 years (the father of my children) had a heart attack. He's only 38 years old. So here I am again, putting on the brave face for him...for my children, yet falling apart inside. He had angioplasty done and it went well...until I went to see him in recovery. Apparently he had started bleeding internally and his blood pressure dropped while I was standing right there to 38/26. I watched him almost die right in front of me. So in he went again for a 2nd surgery to stop the bleeding and spent 3 days in ICU before being released back home.
All I wanted through all of that was to be able to call my brother and talk to him...but of course I couldn't. He was gone. He was the person I'd always turned to when things went bad. Since all of this happened, I've had no choice but to be the responsible adult and take care of my family, now also playing "nurse" to my boyfriend. He's back to work, but still has occasional chest tightness because he still has 2 more clogged arteries that need to be taken care of. So I put on the brave face and do what I have to do.
Unfortunately, through all this, I turned to drinking for a while to mask my pain. One night of driving home drunk and realizing in the morning the possible consequences of that stopped it immediately, but now I'm left to deal with all of this and I don't know how. I'm such an emotional person, but I'm not very good at opening up to people because I grew up abused and was told that crying is a sign of weakness. Knowing this isn't true, it still doesn't make sharing my feelings any easier. It's what I've been conditioned to do my entire life. I've gone through so many stages of grief over and over again. I'm not really stuck on one particular thing. I just keep repeating them. I've gone through shock, disbelief, guilt, anger toward my brother, anger toward other people, depression, thought a few times that I was coming to some sort of acceptance with it, then started repeating it all over again. It's like a vicious cycle that I'm stuck in. In talking to a friend who lost a brother in high school, I said that I wished I knew when there would be some sort of normalcy back in my life. She told me that eventually things would go back to normal...it would just be a different kind of normal. What she said made sense, though I don't like the sound of it. I want NORMAL back, which I know will never happen.
I have my good days, as well as my bad ones. Sometimes I can talk about him and feel happy and wrapped up in memories. Sometimes I get so angry that he's gone. And sometimes the smallest things can make me unbearably depressed. I really haven't been able to find a good outlet for any of this. I'm a writer, yet I've only just begun journaling about it and even when I do it's very difficult. It's like my heart isn't ready to let all of this out yet. I'm searching right now for something, ANYTHING that will help me deal with this in a healthy way.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I'm open to any suggestions because right now I just feel so....LOST.