Oh brother, where ya at?

I’ve been focusing on my husbands suicide for these entries. It has undeniably changed my life for ever. I have a new normal and it is still something that I strive to adjust in my mind, in my heart. This loss is for keeps and is a forever part of me.

I also lost my brother to suicide. It was 14 years ago. His birthday was April 12th.

I didn’t have the same reaction, not the same feelings of complete gutted loss when he passed. I was sad, heartbroken and very confused, but he had distanced himself with us and I hadn’t seen him in 2 years prior to his death.
He was adopted as a young boy, but as I was born after his arrival, he had always been my brother. He was my only brother.
I’m not sure why I didn’t get the punch in the gut as I did when my husband left. Was it because my brother, Dave, had the classic profile? Ex military, his early orphanage Foster care childhood was full of terrible things a young boy shouldn’t be subject to, the abandonment issues some adoptees feel, and a mental issue that did not allow him to wholly bond with people. He suffered abuse.
When people found out he took his own life, the bowed their heads and said things like “oh, what a shame”. “That’s terrible”. “Such a nice man”… but no one was really surprised.

Dave had found his blood 1/2 sister, and was a blood uncle to 2 children. I’m glad he found them, but sad he left them behind. I’ve met her, and she is lovely, but has her troubles as well.

I often speak with weather specialists with my jobs, and one day, perhaps 3 years after Dave’s death, I found myself on the phone with someone who recognized my unique last name (maiden) and enquired if I was Dave’s sister. I said I was, and sadly had to tell him that Dave had taken his own life. He sighed and said, “I’m sad, but I’m not shocked. He had a darkness about him, and it wasn’t something that would go away.”

This person, also ex military, fought his own demons as well, but I’m happy to say, he’s still with us and smiling. I’ve since become friends with my brothers’ friends.

I’m on a mission, as my friends know, to keep John’s memory alive. I’ve raised funds for suicide support and prevention groups. I’ve promoted his sportsmanship during Highland games by having an award in John’s memory. I’m trying to bring awareness to men’s mental health. I’m hoping I can help other suicide loss survivors and help them pick up the pieces. (Statistics report men aged 40-65 are the most at risk group for suicide).

I feel now, like I have let my brother down.
I feel like he was left behind by too many people, by society.

All I know about my brothers death is that it the method and who found him. He lived in the province of his birth, Newfoundland, at the time of his death. We still have his ashes, and I think they should go back there. He loved fishing, the ocean, the woods, boats and beer. He hated his photo being taken, so we don’t have many of him.
Newfoundland is a perfect place for him to be, and I truly believe some people’s souls are part of a place. Dave and NFL are one of those duos.
I go up Signal Hill almost every time I’m in St. John’s and this is where I want to bring him, and out on the ocean. I want to raise funds in his memory for a children’s charity.

I think that would be a good start to honouring a life that had a rough go right from the start. We are all born whole, but cracks form very quickly; when we are hurt, when we are yelled at, when we are abused, when we are abandoned, when we think we are alone.
Some of us have cracks that we cannot heal.
Light may shine outward, and blind others with beauty, but darkness lurks inside.
I just want people to know that we all have a unique light. Never turn off your switch. You matter.
You are loved.

Gotta run.

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