“You need to call home…”

National Suicide Prevention LifelineTrigger Warning: This is a sensitive post concerning suicide.

I just read another blogger’s post where she had mentioned losing someone she knew to suicide. I didn’t share the blog and I’m not going to name the person who discussed it, because this is a sensitive matter, but it has a particularly personal connotation to me. Although it occurred over 18 years ago, I still remember it like it was yesterday…

My wife and I had taken a part time job delivering newspapers in the small town we lived. We stopped at a gas station before getting started to grab a cup of coffee as a police cruiser shot right up next to our car and a police officer got out and said, “Hey [My real name], you need to call home right away. There’s been an accident. Do you know a [my aunt’s name]?”

Of course, I knew who it was and my wife and I shot back to our house and I called my aunt.  She said to me, “[My name], there’s been an accident involving [my little brother’s name]. I think you need to come home as soon as possible.”

I tried to reply, “What happened? Where’s my mom and dad?”

“They’re here,” she replied, “Just come home,” She gave me the name of the hospital we needed to go to. I knew the hospital, it was where I was born. My wife and I didn’t know what to do with our kids, so we called one of her sisters to come stay with our kids and we rushed to pack clothes for a couple of days. Then we began the three and a half hour drive to where I was from.

The entire time we drove, we didn’t have a word to say. Both my wife and I were speechless. She had a particular affection for my brother because he was so warm to her and our oldest son, when a lot of my family were not very accepting of her.  I could tell she was scared, but I believe she was trying to maintain composure to support me. We made it to the hospital, almost without saying one word the entire way.

When we arrived, we were greeted by various family members. We were led to a room where a lot of my family was sitting around a table – it looked like a conference room of some sort with a big meeting table and chairs all the way around. I saw my mom and dad sitting together, and it seemed odd since they had been divorced for eight years at this time.  Everyone’s eyes were red as if they were all crying.

A chill went through my body as my Mom came up to me and through her arms around me and said something about being glad I arrived. A lot of this part is vague to me, because I know I had asked what occurred and something about a gun, head, accident, didn’t mean to do it, arguing with [His girlfriend’s name], he wouldn’t have done it if he weren’t drunk, etc., etc. I asked here we was, and someone – I think my mom – said, “Understand he doesn’t look like [My brother’s name] right now…”

I was led to the room where my brother was…or maybe not, I’m not sure at what point he had actually died – at the scene, in the ambulance or here at the hospital. But he was on life support systems. I could hear the automatic breather. I could here the beeping of the heart monitor that was registering a heartbeat being kept artificially alive. He was being kept alive by all of the needed medical equipment to sustain him in his otherwise lifeless body. This was being done to allow his girlfriend (they were practically married) to make a decision she couldn’t make at the moment.

I looked at my brother. He looked so incredibly different. His face was swollen, and the wound that would have shown where he shot himself in the head was covered. But his face was so swollen, his head didn’t look right. I touched his hand and couldn’t accept what I was seeing. I had a Rosary in my hand, that I placed in his and I closed his fingers around it.

I didn’t understand why.

Nor would I ever understand…

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There is so much to follow-up about this story and suicide, in general. I have also had my own suicide attempt that I had discussed in my last blog, but I have not been sure, if I would share it here. Maybe I will. 

If you know anyone or if you are considering this course of action, please take a moment to call:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number
  • 1-800-273-8255

15 thoughts on ““You need to call home…”

  1. It is very courageous and noble of you to share a narrative so close to your heart… I’m sorry for your loss. Maybe none of us will ever understand…and the memories might never go away. But I’m trusting and hoping that healing is possible. Sending you hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. At least you know yourself and your feelings enough to be aware that you’re not okay with it. That’s more important than just shoving your feelings under the rug and forcing yourself to be okay with it even when you’re not.

        Liked by 1 person

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