Today was my brother's 21st birthday

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posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 11:38 PM
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and I want to tell his story. This probably won't be organized. I just need to write this - I need to get it out of me. I don't expect responses, I know you all care (feel free by all means, but don't feel like you need too). Also - it probably won't be a happy read so feel the need not to read this. It's more so I can get some stuff, and the circumstances, off my chest. I need something I can look back on.

We grew up very poor. We lived in a trailer park that was very impoverished, to the point that to take a bath we'd start our water 2-3 hours ahead of time because there was no pressure. We had one vehicle that could barely climb a hill, and some of cloths were made from scratch. Despite this we were a very close family. My dad literally worked 60-70 hours a week to barely make it, and I respected him for it. He started doing this at 18, and has not taken a real break since. Our first family vacation was when I was in high school. His free time was spent with us. I remember as a kid my parents trying to have a third kid, and being really upset when my mom had a miscarriage. I don't know how long it was between that, and her becoming pregnant with my brother. I had a sister that was 3 years younger than me. My brother was born in 1989 (for those that don't want to do the math!). He was just under ten years younger than me. Something about the age difference has instilled this protective instinct in me that I've not had with anyone else. As a teenager/young adult I would sometimes lie awake afraid of what would happen if something where to happen to him - it was almost stiffling the way it would hit.

Michael was a little spoiled being the youngest, and seven years younger than my sister. As we got older we had more - though that was still not much - and he didn't realize the poverty we were at when we were younger. Despite this, he was a really good kid. He was into trouble as a kid, but always in a boyish way - not because he didn't care. He was very soft hearted, and went out of his way to help anyone that needed it. He was clever in every way that I wasn't. I had book smarts to spare, but little practical application - he had all the practical application and didn't care about school. I'd have swapped him. There were times I'd close a door in the house and every door in the house would slam closed - he had rigged them at the age of 7 or 8. I would walk outside and he would have a stake in the ground with a rope going over a very high limb, and weights attached to the other side. He'd be standing there with a machete or knife jokingly waiting to cut the rope - another trap he had made. One time I caught him and his friend trying to make a bomb - they had a mason jar and gasoline - it was very lucky that I caught them. He was always into potentially harmful stuff like that, but never malicious stuff though I guess I make it sound pretty bad. When he was about 12ish I remember he had figured out how to slice into our phone lines and hook up a tape recorder to "bug" our conversations. I could go on for hours about memories of him as a kid, but I don't think people would want to read it. As he grew up we had an amazing chemistry in social settings. People often thought we were twins - which was awesome for me, but not so awesome for him. Everytime I would come home to visit it seemed we had the same hair/facial hair style.

About 3 years ago Michael was in an accident. He hit a tree straight on at about 50-60 MPH. He had just turned 18 and moved out on his own. He had also just had a fight with his long term girlfriend. I was studying with a few people from class for my first mineralogy (our weedout class) exam when I got the call. My mom's voice still haunts me - makes it hard to scream at night. At first we heard the car had exploded with him in it, all we knew was they had air evacc'ed him from the local football field, and it was bad. i was in Arizona, and the helplessness was overwhelming. I spent my rent money (everything I had) flying home first thing in the morning. As the story developed it turns out that someone was walking by, and pulled him out of the car before it went up in flames. He suffered a chip broken in his hip, and a severe head injury. To see him it didn't look like much. He was in a coma for over a week - I guess officially they don't call it a coma at that point, but to me that is what it was. He was unresponsive. We took shifts to be with him 24 hours a day - none of us could sleep though. It was a week of hell. i was there when he woke up finally, but it was only for a few minutes. Eventually they transported him to a better hospital (an entirely different story), and then a rehab facility. Every day he would wake up not knowing where he was, and we'd have to explain the accident all over again. The MRI showed extensive brain damage in every lobe, but the frontal lobe was severely damaged. They told he would never be the same, but they didn't know how he would be different. I stuck around for a few days into his rehab before I finally had to return - he was improving daily. I was very hopeful that he would get better, and thankful that we didn't lose him after how bad we thought things were that first night.

The first hospital was horrible. They would come tell us important things 4-5 days after the fact like "oh yea he could have removed his neck brace no damage there" when we had spent 4 nights in a row fighting him to keep it on while he cussed us from his partial reality (he was slightly responsive at that point to things like that, but not fully aware). They did an MRI one day, and when they brought him out they said they were going to wait on the throat specialist to remove the ventilator, but then came out and said he was waking up and pulling on it so they took it on out. A few weeks later he couldn't breath right, and we had to take him to the emergency room. It turns out they had damaged his windpipe during this, and the new docs said there was about 2 inches like hamburger. They had to install an emergency trach and thought he'd have it forever. He had diffculty talking for almost a year with the trach, but we finally found him a specialist in Pittsburgh, at the #3 throat place in the nation, that thought he could help. He did a surgery that has never been performed before - it was supposed to ake an hour or so, but they encountered more damage than they thought from the MRI and it took about 8. The doc was shaking when he came out, but they had completed it. They had successfully removed over 2 inches of his windpipe and reattached it. After this he was trach free.

During all of this Michael hated the doctors. I don't know what caused this, but he wanted out constantly. He wouldn't stay in rehab more than they made him, and honestly they sent him out pretty fast. He definitely hadn't recovered, but the doc said he was good to go with a smile. After this Michael came home to stay with my parents. They had spent the last 25 years dreaming up their dream home, and had finally finished it. My dad was a contractor. I came up with the idea of adding a 2nd floor to my brothers suite - so he had a huge "apartment" basically within the house. He stayed there for a time, but having just turned 18 he really wanted out.

[Continued]




posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 11:39 PM
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At first Michael had a lot of memory problems, but over time it got worse. His memory slightly improved, but he had dark moments. It was like teenage angst on steroids. It was also obvious he was missing some form of inhibitor. He would say things that most people would never say. He was extremely blunt. He couldn't control his language - my parents are very religious. He was trying to improve though - he was moved by the amount of people supporting him through everything, and it bothered him that he had missed his senior year. He worked really hard to finish with homeschooling, and graduate with everyone else. It was very important too him. He had a lot of issues with my dad - he still had that teenage buck against authority problem, but now he was missing the inhibitors that would stop him from doing and saying things that were just wrong. He would feel regret at them later, but it was like there was a good side and a bad side. Over the years this problem worsened. I can't even explain how patient my dad was with him. We all just loved him so much, and we knew there were so many problems from his accident. There were nights he took a swing at my dad, and my dad just had to block it and hold him tight. He would slam his head into a mirror and beg my dad to kill him. He was obviously tormented, and it just got worse and worse.

He eventually moved into the trailer my parents had used while they were building their house. It worked well because it gave him the freedom and independence he needed, while keeping him on the property when things went wrong. He slowly became more and more depressed, and began to drink very heavily. The division between the good side and the bad side became more pronounced. He would spend a week working his ass off to fix up his trailer, and then punch holes in it when the torment hit him the hardest. I think this lead to more depression as he realized he couldn't pull himself away from it. He also knew he wasn't the same person, and it really hurt him. My parent's were unbelievably patient and caring. They let him know what he did they didn't agree with - they never inhibited these things, but they were always there for him too. He surrounded himself with losers - rednecks that just drank and did drugs - I guess that was his lifestyle at times as well. He worked for my dad's construction company, and from what I hear he was VERY good - when he was able to show up. He was sick all the time, and had sleep issues. He would set 6-7 alarm clocks, and my dad would have to call him 15 times to get him up. He said that Michael would literally throw up on his way back inside to grab something, but he still tried to work as much as he could. The doctor's couldn't figure out what was wrong with him, but it just added to his depression. He tried very hard though. He also loved kids. His last girlfriend had a baby, and Michael took care of it more than her. She would forget to take her medicine and just flip out - she'd scream at him that she wished he'd just kill himself when they fought. He wouldn't let us say anything - though my sister flipped out a bit (and I don't blame her).

The hardest part for us is knowing if we did everything we could. As I said before Michael hated doctors, and refused help. He told us several times if we even mentioned commiting him we'd never see him again. He also said at times he'd kill himself before he went in. We didn't know what to do. We've since talked to local cops/psychiatrists, and they've all told us had we all had him commited they've have only kept him a couple of days - so obviously it was good we didn't or we'd have lost his trust and his happiness as well. Towards the very end he realized he needed help. He told us he was crazy, and heard voices. He said that it was like two voices always telling him what to say and do, and he always had to fight the dark voice. He said that sometimes he would want to say something and the dark voice would say something else anyway, and he'd regret it. He had been fighting it since the accident. He finally went to get help, but still didn't want to talk to anyone much. There was a doctor in the town that would prescribe medicine after one interview. Michael made the appointment himself, and my mom took him. They put him on a ton of medicine - he said he told them everything, all of his dark thoughts, and the fact that he was suicidal. They gave him a bunch of drugs and told him to come back in three weeks. One of those was lexapro - you can google it too see the linkage between it and suicide amongst teens, and those already suicidal. He had been on it less than a week when he shot himself.

[continued]



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 11:40 PM
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His last week was fantastic. I've been mostly pointing out the bad after his accident, but much of the time he was just Michael. He would still laugh and joke around. He had a great since of humor and a fantastic smile. He loved to fish, hunt, and camp. Most of the time this was Michael, but occasionally the dark part would win out - especially after he had been drinking. He was still Michael, but he was very tormented and in so much pain. It's hard to admit it amongst all the guilt and regrent, but we were always there for him. He had so much love and support through times I can't even begin to describe, and he knew it. His last weekend I was there. We had a birthday party for my nephew, and spent some time in the pool and playing games. Later one night I went down and we got beat at some beer pong to a few of his friends. It was a great time, and he was very upbeat. He was very focused on the good in his life. Instead of getting down, he would comment how he had only slipped and cussed in front of people 3 times. He was asking about college, and making plans for the future. He also made up with old friends that he had had falling outs with from after the accident. It wasn't quite the same as people that make up before a suicide - he actually made future plans, and had fully planned to follow through (more later). The point is...it was the happiest I had seen him.

The day he killed himself we have his phone with the texts. He had seen that crazy ex that day, and started telling my mom how much he missed the baby. Like I said - she didn't take care of it very well. When she stayed there it was Michael that changed it, fed it, etc. He always had a soft spot for kids. It set him back some, and you can see from his texts him trying to reconcile things with her. We found out later a bit before he did it he had called her cousin and found out she hadn't been staying there on the nights she said she was - we're pretty sure she had been cheating. She didn't necessarily handle things bad through the texts - you can tell he was getting drunker, and trying to call her, and she was trying to get him to wait. He become more and more upset and finally said "I thought I was doing so much better these last few days, but I guess I wasn't". I think the fact he had been doing so well made the crash that much bigger.

There are several things that are hard for me to cope with. 1) I was in Arizona throughout all of this going to school. This bit of post doesn't come near to describing all of the stuff he went through, and my parents went through during this time - not even close. It doesn't describe the phone calls I would get with more bad news, and the frustration and not knowing how to help him.
2) I didn't know how to help him. If you approached these issues with him he would wall himself off, or even become angry and refuse to talk to you for days. Getting help was not a topic that could be discussed without losing him. My parents got the point where they could talk to him, carefully, over the years about issues - and did an amazing job. I was detached from the situation, and wanted to be someone he could talk too - and just be a friend to him. I took that angle, and now I'm not so sure. I was so busy in school I simply didn't get to see him, or talk too him, all that much. It drives me nuts. 3) I'm really good at school, and a few others things. I'm horrible at some things, but I'm REALLY good at what I do - and I'm a rather smart person. But when it really counted, when I needed to save my baby brother, I couldn't do anything. I was struck actionless with fear, and I felt helpless and lost. I couldn't save him. Nothing else has ever come close to mattering like this, and I failed. 4) I cut the last trip down short. I had just spent several weeks in the desert, and then doing my projects and moving after my worst semester yet. I was spent, and spent some time doing nothing here in Pennsylvania - so my trip was short to visit.

[continued]



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 11:40 PM
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I was the first to graduate in my family. My parents flew out to Arizona for graduation my week of finals, and we did a ton of trips during my finals week. I knew things were getting worse with Michael, and I just had one more trip before I was back on the east coast. Part of my reasoning in being excited for Penn State was to be closer to family after all of this (granted their program was good enough I would have picked it anyway, but it was a perk). The night before graduation my mom called me and told me to get over there fast (they were staying at a timeshare place). I went, and it seems that Michael was having issues. He had gotten in a argument with a friend and the friend had thrown his gun out the back door. Michael thought he had stolen the gun, and flipped (he was already in his dark/drinking state of mind). He kicked in my parents door and stole my dad's .44. My sister was there with her kids and husband - they had to barricade themselves upstairs. My sister wrestled him for the gun multiple times. He shot it off in the yard threatening to kill people, and shot a hole in his ceiling. He was completely out of his mind, and my sister was terrified. We booked my parents a flight back the next morning, and they drove through the night to the airport - they missed my graduation. Michael felt horrible when he was himself, and it depressed him further - this was the worst night for him I think, but this is how things were for him. He would simply lose control, and alcohol made it worse, but he was so deep he was in a cycle.

The last weekend there he had only drank 2 beers and was out. He asked me to run him out to get more, but I was about ready for bed. He said he was trying really hard to slow down and stop - so he told me he would go back and finish the last one and just go to bed without needing more. I didn't think he'd do it, but he never came back to go out. He was so upbeat and trying so hard to make things better for himself.

Because of the graduation thing I was terrified for my last project of field camp. I knew my cell service would be bad, and I almost just didn't go. I was terrified he would kill himself before I got home to help. He kept asking my parents over and over when I would be home to visit,a nd it tore me up because I knew he wanted to see me. I finally made some provisions to drive out if I had too to call home, and setup an emergency contact just in case and finished field camp. He had been doing a lot better, and that was the point he was admitting he needed help. A weekend later I was able to visit for that last weekend. The night before I left he called and told me he thought I was in for the whole summer, and was really disappointed that I was leaving - if only to Pennsylvania now. I had told him my plans before, but his memory was still really bad. We did get to hang out, but I didn't do as much as he or I would have liked because I had to leave early. I didn't stop and tell him by the next morning because it was early, and he never could get up. The next night I got the call.

I think most people assume after a few weeks things just get better, but so far that isn't the case. The first days were a haze - I think I was in shock. Luckily I had Krista to dive me home the next day, and now I have two phone calls from my mom that haunt me - the pain in her voice, the screaming, is indescribable - movies don't capture it. I knew at 3am when I got the call from the house phone it was bad. I didn't say much for a long time. It didn't even hit me until later. I still dont' think it's fully sunk in - the finality of it. I was so excited to finally be back on this coast - I had so much I wanted to share with him now that I could, and just as I'm there to do it I lose him. Two weeks ago my sister completely broke down - she was already having some issues with things, and her husband's dad is dying of cancer. I'm not going to go into details because it would make this even longer, but she lost it. She had herself commited once they could finally find a place that didn't involve going through the doctor that prescribed Michael's medicine. Apparently he has a monopoly on all the ERs for psychiatry there, and his mom has a monopoly as the ER doctor. They're both horrible. After all the details came out my mom's councilor is even recommending we sue - apparently they didn't follow any of the procedures that should be followed, and they've #ed over a ton of people in that area - again no need for details, but other professionals are speaking up besides him. Anyway, I think my sister gets out tomorrow - she has two kids that my parents have been watching, who are also dealing with the grief of losing their uncle Mike. It's just been unbearable on my family.

[continued]



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 11:40 PM
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I opened with the bit about being poor with a purpose, but I've been so unorganized in my rambling I guess I didn't get too it. We were poor, but we were very close. My family has been an amazing beam of support throughout my life, and we're always there for each other despite the ups and downs. To lose my brother like this, to see his circumstances wear down my parents mentally, and financially, and then his suicide - it's hard. We've all hit our limits, and my sister passed hers - which has made it even harder. You see these shows were families put with grief like this, and then there is guilty relief when it's all over. So far for us, that isn't true. This isn't better. All of us would take the issues, the heartbreak, and the pain back if we could just have Michael back. Ultimately though, he was very tormented. He fought voices for years, and he fought this dark side of himself for years. He would talk about it towards the end - how much he hurt, mentally and physically. He was constantly sick, in pain, and in mental anguish, and he finally gave in. I'm impressed he made it as long as he did - and honestly he was still fighitng - he was upbeat in his texts until the last few minutes. It only took a few minutes of lapse.

Today was his 21st birthday. We were both excited for it, and I wanted to take him out and show him a real beer instead of the crap he drank. I went downtown earlier and bought 2, one for me and one for him. I have to be careful that I don't drink too much soon because I'm afraid I might lose it a bit. I wish he could have been here with me. People always say words can't describe how much they love someone, but they really can't - it's almost suffocating. I don't know where we go from here, but I plan to keep doing good things. I'm fine, I'm stable, I'm not going to lose it - it's nearly unbearably hard, but I'll bear it. I don't want anyone worried about me or anything - my life is fantastic other than this, and I'm very happy. It's just not been a good summer, and I don't think this deep sadness will ever completely go away.

Thanks for letting me get this out. I know it can't be an easy read, and is incredibly long. I'm also ok if you just skipped to this part and didn't read it I just needed to say it more than anything. I probably forgot 100 things, or didn't say some things right. I'm not going to edit it. I may add more later.



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 11:53 PM
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reply to post by Vrill
 


I just got through reading your thread and my heart and soul go out to you. The love between you and your brother lives on; that never dies. I like the fact that you celebrated his birthday. I think you are a good brother who did the best he could at all those times.



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 12:05 AM
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Thank you for sharing your story. I lost a brother at a young age and have held it in for a long time. It is unbearable and regardless of what many people told me, time doesn't heal. I still feel like a part of me died with him.


Keep him in your heart...today, tomorrow, and forever.



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 12:07 AM
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Thanks for the warm wishes. I appreciate it. Sorry if that depressed anyone. I didn't mean for it to.



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 12:12 AM
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I don't even know what to say. No words can describe how sorry I am for you and your family's loss. Your brother, Michael, he's in a better place now. I'm really at a loss for words. I had a close friend commit suicide within the past year, and I've been down that road myself. The emotional bearing that it has is something that words really can't describe.

Don't blame yourself for not being able to save him. Some things in life you simply cannot control. My heart and soul go out to you, and your family. I believe that you will all be reunited again, as a whole. Very touching story, Vrill, thank you for sharing.

You seem to be a very caring and affectionate older brother. I'll be honest, this has given me an entirely new outlook on my two older brothers. Thank you for sharing your story.

You will always have my support, friend.

"If only sorrow could build a staircase, our tears would show the way. I'd climb my way to Heaven and bring him back, home again." That is the quote that I left for my friend when he committed suicide. Time, doesn't heal as much as it has said to do. For when someone dies that close to you, they take a part of you with them.

Thank you, again.
edit on 13-7-2012 by RomeByFire because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 12:17 AM
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wow, I am so sorry, my heart goes out to you and your family, and like Caladonea said, you seem like a wonderful brother and you did do everything you could of done, never feel like you didn't do enough. God Bless.

just wanted to add, Lexepro in my opinion is a very scary drug, I was given it after going thru some tough times and I remember the feeling of well no feeling, I had zero emotion, no laughter, no sadness, no happiness, no anger, nothing what so ever, it was horrible, I knew in my head that this feeling or lack there of was wrong and I stopped them, to this day I cringe at the thought of them, I was in my late 20's, I don't know if that is a drug that should be given to children, I heard of a young boy around 10-12 who did very bad horrible things on that drug and he was full of rage.
edit on 13-7-2012 by hapablab because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 12:20 AM
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reply to post by Vrill
 


I feel for you. Death really does hurt.



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 12:28 AM
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Very sorry for your loss, if you believe that his spirit lives on I would recommend checking out ChannelingErik.com

This site was started by Erik's mom (a doctor) sometime after Erik shot himself, he was 20. There are a few people that visit the site that have the ability to channel Erik. You can tell your story and perhaps one of them will have Erik get in touch with your brother and you can find out more about what he went through.



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 01:15 AM
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Thanks for all the good wishes



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 03:58 AM
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So very sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you and your family.

Sincerely hope you find comfort and peace of mind and that time is quick in easing your pain.



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 10:40 AM
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post removed because the user has no concept of manners

Click here for more information.



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 10:57 AM
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Wishing you all the best and may Michael RIP.

Stories like yours make my family problems seem laughable. I cant imagine what you and your family have gone through



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 11:01 AM
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Originally posted by ShadowAngel85
post removed by staff


thats a really antagonistic post and shows you didnt read through the OP.

His father did a great job going from poor to building his own home, sending his elder son to college and giving the other son a job and security, eventhough this other son was mentally unstable due to a car accident.

my own mom was also really poor, cleaning other peoples offices when i was a kid + has 3 children, yet owns several acres of prime property after 20 years of hard work (and luck)

edit on 13-7-2012 by nagabonar because: (no reason given)
edit on Fri Jul 13 2012 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 11:11 AM
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Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.

~Rossiter W. Raymond



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 12:27 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowAngel85
post removed by staff


Where is your compassion?

Where are your comprehension skills?

Where is your class?

Sorry OP....My love to you and your family. I wish I could say it gets easier.
edit on Fri Jul 13 2012 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 12:27 PM
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Oh Honey I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved brother. Just know that he is no longer suffering and knows how much he is loved. You are a wonderful brother and did all that you could. My heart goes out to you and your family. HUGS!





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