This will be one of my hardest blogs ever I am sure so please bare with me
3 years ago in January my whole world was turned upside down and I’m still struggling to come to terms with the death of my brother.
I was asleep when my mobile rang and I was too late to answer it, it was a cold and windy day and I had already smashed my back door to bits being an idiot and opening my front door. I had an awful cold, as did my husband and the kids so I went off to bed early that night.
My phone rarely rings, my family all text to communicate these days so other then for work it doesn’t really go off. It was my Mum – now my first thought was that she and my dad had had an argument and I couldn’t be bothered to call her back but my gut was telling me I had too.
When she answered she was in an absolute state, it’s amazing how quickly your brain works and straight away I thought it was a drunken call but then her words hit me – ‘dads jumped off the flats, there trying to revive him I’m in a taxi on my way, I have to go’
Now this is one of the hardest parts of the story – my mind was racing, my body was wrenching and my voice was screaming as I woke my husband. He’s done it, he’s actually done it I thought. In the 2 minutes it took for me to bung some clothes on I could already explain to myself why he would have done such a thing. My Dad lost his sight a few years before and life was hard on him, especially in the winter. Although I was in a lot of pain and being psychically sick I thought I got it!
Then it twigged- Dad is blind and relies on Mum and they live no where near flats so how would this of happened? I called Mum back to see what flats as I realised I was already dressed but didn’t know where I was rushing off too!
Still thinking it was Dad I just asked what flats and that’s when she said it – Dans flat, my brother
The penny dropped, then the questions came! Why? Why? Why?
My husband didn’t want me to drive there but I didn’t listen, I’m closer then Mum and I need to be there for him
I don’t remember much of the drive there, shaking and crying and asking myself why constantly
As I approached the car park I saw the ambulance, pulling away with no lights on. My heart sunk, again it’s amazing how quickly the brain processes something because I knew what no lights meant!
I tried to beep at the ambulance as I turnt into the car park but it went, I don’t know what I was trying to stop it for! As it left I could see the police and my parents standing there.
I must have looked like a crazy woman flying out of my car leaving my car in the middle of the road with the door open, screaming ‘where’s my brother, where’s my brother’ of course I knew, I don’t even know why I was asking!
My parents were standing there crying into each other’s arms, the police officer looked at my dad as if to say who is this crazy woman! The words that then came were cold, hard and heartbreaking ‘he’s died’
No he couldn’t be dead, he’s my brother, my big brother, he can’t be dead. Slumped on the floor the police officer made her way to me and picked me up, it was cold and raining but I didn’t care that I was in the middle of a puddle, I didn’t even register it! I hit out at the officer as if hurting her would make her take back her words
At some point another police officer came over with my car keys and purse, not only had I abandoned my car, I had left the keys in the ignition and my purse on the front seat – why did I even bring my purse?!
That night my world changed for ever!
My brothers funeral was the hardest day of my life to date, I can’t remember much of it. I created his flower arrangement in the morning and somehow managed to get it to the funeral directors – I hate this part, walking in to put the flowers on the bench with the cars right there with the coffin inside. I clung to my husband and my Nan throughout most of the actual funeral. Not only had my parents lost their son but my elderly Nan had lost a grandchild – how is that fair?
That was the last time I have been able to make flower arrangements, something I used to do.
Now this might sound very selfish but it is honest and it is how I felt.
For the first year after that horrible night everyone I bumped into asked ‘how’s your Mum’
Now I know losing a child must be the hardest thing one would ever have to go through but what about me? Not one person asked how I was, how I’ve been. Nor my Dad or my other 4 siblings. I would be polite and answer even though inside I was screaming – I’m hurting too you know!
Everyone says about how the world goes on, life goes on and that is true but I felt like I was standing still whilst everyone else’s life went on – I still feel like that sometimes
People’s true colours shine when someone dies, so many people saying how cut up they were, how much they missed him when actually they didn’t like him when he was alive and didn’t give him the time of day! That made me very angry and upset.
What made me really angry though, at first, was those who said about depression- my brother was not depressed, never had been to my knowledge
Now the sad truth is, he more than likely was.
That is hard, how could we not have known? What could we have done differently? How could we have helped?
His inquest was extremely difficult, hearing what happened and how people tried to save him. The injury’s he had, it sounds awful but I remember thinking that I was glad he didn’t survive because he wouldn’t have ever been able to talk again, walk or have any quality of life. The hardest part was though that his death was deemed an accident! He told people what he was going to do, cut open the netting on the balcony and jumped – how was that an accident?! If he had hung himself or shot himself it would have been suicide without question! How many other deaths are deemed accidental? The statistics are so far out and we’re not seeing how deep the issues are with mental health.
It was hard for me to say I missed my brother, we saw each other but not as often as we should. With a 12 year gap we wasn’t as close as I am with my younger sisters but we never fell out. He was the person I called when I needed a new car or my car fixing and I missed his advice but it’s hard to say you miss someone you didn’t see weekly or even monthly, as time has gone on I do miss him.
On a daily basis we are reminded of suicide, people make flippant comments about throwing themselves of bridges, shooting themselves when they have a hard customer on the phone or something is not going right for them, hearing them comments brings it all to the front of my mind. Tv programmes show people jumping off buildings, anything that shows anyone jumping or falling from a height kills me, even Spider-Man jumping from building to building! The weetabix advert where the guy jumps out the window even gets me for crying out loud!
My brother is on my mind daily, when I’m commuting to and from work its my chance to think of him, have a little cry or sing a song really loud. Most people in the family don’t talk about him very often now, that’s one of the hardest things to deal with- I want to talk about him, I want to be able to look back with a smile rather than sadness. I want the memory of him to be the cheeky bloke down the pub who always made people laugh even when you weren’t in the mood, not the way he died
Most of all I don’t want anyone else to go through this pain, no one to go through the pain he must have been going through.
I want the suicide statistics to give a true picture of how many people take their own lives, for mental health to be recognised more and not a taboo subject and for people to be able to get the help they need.
Mimi missies her uncle, just before he died he came to her birthday party and she still remembers that day and the joke he played on her, when we drive near his old flat she says quite bluntly that that is where he died, she asks why he died which is so hard to answer especially given her autism. I can’t discuss suicide with her because when she is next mad or angry or having a meltdown I don’t want her to think it’s ok to go and get a knife if your sad!
My back door remains boarded up, 3 years on! If I get replaced it’s like my admitting this isn’t a bad dream – I know that sounds stupid!
I still struggle with myself for accepting it to be my dad, how could I have accepted such a thing?
We will never have a family photo again, one of my siblings will always be missing – how am I supposed to accept that?
People say time is a healer – no it’s really not!
People also say he’s with the angels now, or up in heaven – this really ruffles my feathers! He wasn’t religious and even if he was he killed himself which is the ultimate sin so he would be in hell, don’t try and sugar coat it with all that heaven and angels with me!
My kids say he is in the clouds, that’s fine for me. I often see a robin or a feather and feel him close, I’m not religious but I like to think he is still with us somehow
For my big bro who I love and miss with every breath xxx