Coping with the suicide of a family member.
My Name is Valerie. I'm 25 years old. Twelve hours ago I found out that my sixteen year old brother killed himself. There was no note, he had never shown signs of depression. He was energetic and bright, intelligent and funny. I loved him more then anything in the world. He just reacted to his emotions and in an instant he was gone forever. I cant change it, all-though I would give anything to bring him back. I dont know what to do, he was only 16. He was so important to me. My family is broken, my child hood home is tarnished by this violent act. How do I move forward and more importantly how do I help my family move forward. This is still so surreal to me. Im just hoping to connect with people who understand my pain and confusion. Im so confused and delusional right now, I keep calling and texting him. I dont know what to do.
Valerie, I'm so sorry to hear that you lost your brother, especially so young and in such a way. Suicide is especially difficult to handle because it's easy for those left behind to feel guilt, even though it's no one's fault. It's easy to say "if I'd only ..." but the reality is - if someone is going to kill themselves, they can find a way regardless of what we do. I lost someone I loved to suicide, and spent years feeling guilty because I MIGHT have been able to help him. And I wasn't able to grieve properly (meaning process the grief) until I finally accepted that I wasn't responsible. When I did that, I found myself moving on, emotionally.
You have a lot of healing to do ahead of you, and your family too. It will be hard. There will be a lot of tears and some times of high emotion between you and the rest of your family. I hope that you can all cope with this traumatic happening, and not feel overwhelming guilt.
Wishing you and your family all the best -
thank you so much for your kind words. I wish there was an easy way to deal with this. At this point Im just trying to reach out to strangers. Everyone close to me is so affected by this situation. Its chaotic and I keep trying to hold it together and be their shoulder to cry on. Im just so completely devastated and hurt. Everything is just welling up and pouring out... anger, resentment, sadness, guilt, even the love I have for him is unbearable. He was my only brother, and I'm almost ten years his senior. I cant stop thinking about all the plans i had for our future. Seeing him graduate, buying him his first beer at a bar. Meeting his first real girlfriend. I wanted that, I still do... but he is gone forever. Im still so angry at him for leaving me, and our family. Just hearing that other people have shared similar experiences and made it thru is a ray of hope for me. I just cant figure out how to function right now. I'm trying to keep busy, but im just overwhelmed and haven't fully excepted the reality of him being gone. The world just feels different to me now, I want to feel like I can find happiness in it again. I know that I will always feel a huge loss in regards to him. I just dont want him being gone to define the rest of my life. Im so scared, and confused and alone right now. I cant keep my brain from reverting to delusions of wanting him back, or talking to him, or just waking up from a bad dream and finding everything is ok.
I believe that since you posted your problem here...you are a brave woman Valerie. You should be the beam of light so others can follow. Guide yourself and consequently guide others during chaos. Just one person can make a big difference.
I'm so sorry for your loss but this is something that I know too well. I lost my mother this way many years ago and of course, life changed drastically from that point on. Although there are many things that you will not be able to change since they already happened, there is still hope for suicide survivors to have a productive and happy life, despite the tragic event.
I don't want to be too self promotional here but if you see my link for my 3-part videos below, I would highly suggest that you check it out because it turns out that the first video is from my live keynote where I actually reveal to audiences about my own experience dealing with the suicide of my mother.
You are not alone because this type of event is more common that we all think. So the objective of my talks in the videos is to give others who went through rough times, some much needed hope. And there is always hope!
I'm so sorry for your loss. Please accept my sympathy. I'm also so sorry that he didn't leave a note and that it was so sudden.
It might help to read about Right to Death movements where people accept the rights of their families and friends to commit suicide if they're no longer able to tolerate living. Hope that helps.
So truly sorry!
I lost my mom to suicide when I was 19. She did leave a note but didn't finish the one to me so I never got to hear her last feelings for me. That was really hard to swallow.
Can you tell us more about your brother? How did he do socially? Was he well liked or on the sidelines?
You're doing the best thing by expressing your emotions. Cry when it's time to cry, be angry when it's time for anger. Let everything out when it's in you to do so. That is self-healing.
And take life one day at a time.....
I'm so sorry
I am so sorry for your loss.
Andrew Dylan "Dewey" Kopchack
My brother was 16 years old, he was born april 11th 1995 in Philadelphia PA. His mother and father were both heroin addicts. He was adopted by my grandparents by the age of two. We were both raised by grandparents. They were incredibly loving and supportive. We have a warm, quaint middle class home in a town called Bethlehem PA. I am 9 years older then him. He was always a bright and charming young man. At an early age he excelled in school often assisting his classmates in subjects such as science and mathematics. During middle school standardized tests placed him second in the school for mathematics, however, he was not a terribly focused student. His sense of humor often pegged him as a "class clown" a trait he carried with him for the rest of his life. Because of this he had a large network of acquaintances. Everyone knew my brother, everyone enjoyed his company.
By the time he was 16 he was 5'11 and 250 pounds. He was a full back on the liberty high school football team. He enjoyed "underground hip hop" and had begun attempting to write his own music. He got to see his favorite artist "Atmosphere" this past spring. He and a friend of his visited me and stayed with me at my home in Philadelphia. It was his first big concert, he met "slug" a member of the group. Him and his best friend had their picture taken with "slug". It was his facebook profile picture for a long time. He had a confused 16 year old view of radical politics. He believed the country should be socialist so that our country could have an equal division of its wealth. He was still a political and social idealist at the time of his death, understanding the deficiencies of our current system and discovering ideal systems that countered our current capitalist predicament.
He begun doodling tags in his notebooks. He obviously had an interest in graffiti art. His tag was DEWB, a play on his childhood nick name and what I thought was an obvious drug reference. As it turns out it is actually an acronym for a phrase " Don't even worry bro". He was a clever and creative young man. Despite the negative connotations of things like Rap and graffiti he was an outwardly positive teenager. He was never disrespectful and vary caring towards my grandparents. These were his mediums of expression, I was proud of his for defining his own ideals and beliefs at such a young age. I related to my brother more then anyone in my family, I wish I could have conveyed that more tim him in his time on earth. I was an artist and into punk rock when I was his age. I had circled thru different types of social activism and often felt as isolated as I was loved by my family. They are a wonderful family, however, not the most cultivated in regards to art and social politics.
I took my brother for granted because I had assumed he would always be around. I wish I would have spent more time with him, sometimes you forget to always communicate your thoughts to the people you love. I thought of him often, I bragged about him thru all stages of his life and I made small attempts to nurture his creative side. I wish I had the chance to do more. I had attempted to talk with him about the feelings of animosity I always assumed he had towards his mother. He was stoic with his emotions, his outwardly goofy and positive nature made me assume he wasn't as depressed as I was at that point in my life. I will always regret that I contributed to his feelings of isolation, for whatever reasons he didn't feel comfortable sharing his pain with me. I could have helped him if he had been willing to open up.
There were signs in the last few months of his life. Signs that didn't seem apparent at the time. He had dropped out and re-joined the football team within a matter of months. He had acquired his first job. Something that provided him a sense of freedom. His grades had dropped, and he had begun showing signs of ADD. He was going to start trial medication over christmas break. He may have also had a resurgence in migraine headaches. He had them as a child and I believe they were caused by the trauma of his early life. They were true migraines when he was a child, the type that no medication could be prescribed for because no doctor would prescribe the narcotics used to treat migraines to a minor. My grandmother said he had been complaining of headaches for about a month or so. On the day of his death he woke up vomiting, and argued with my grandmother about attending school. He took tylenol and laid down. My grandmother thought this was odd because he would know better then to treat nausea with tylenol. The vomiting could have vary well been caused by a migraine. Around 10:30 he woke up and came into the dining room. My grandmother told him that if he was feeling better he should attend school for the afternoon. Thats when he snapped and begun pounding his fists on the table. he screamed that he "couldn't do it", my grandmother didn't understand. She tried to level with him. He screamed just leave me alone. She gave him space. Around 11am she went in the basement to do laundry. She found him wondering around, she asked "what are you doing down here". His response was to "just leave me alone". He went upstairs, about five minutes later she heard a popping sound. She ran up the steps thinking a scented candle she had lit had exploded. She found him laying in the hallway and in a panic called 911. She couldn't bring herself to check his vitals. The ambulance arrived in minutes. At that point she still believed he would be ok. He had died instantly from and gunshot thru the temple. He has used my grandfathers hand gun. A gun my grandfather had purchased and taught him how to use.
It's no one persons fault, there was no singular cause. He certainly was dealing with the pains of adolescence. The void of not knowing your biological parents. The stress of being raised by people who are a good twenty years older then everyone else's parents. The pressures of school and not wanting to disappoint anyone. The hurt of not being able to find a girl you relate to. The feelings of worthlessness that most teens confront. I've since learned that suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in males ages 15 to 24. It was simply too easy for him to complete a successful attempt. I've never been an advocate for guns in the home, and at this point I have good reason to strongly appose their accessibility. I will have a huge void in my life because it was too easy and too permanent for my brother to take his own life. He will always be loved, and always be missed.
I'm sorry for your loss. :(
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