A letter to my brother-in-law

Hello.  We’ve never met.  There’s really only one reason for this.  Roughly a month before your sister and I started dating, you decided to shoot yourself in the face with a shotgun.

Now, I knew your sister a little bit before this happened, so I can’t speak much about her emotional health prior to your suicide, but I can testify that it’s been atrocious since.  She’s better now, but she was devastated.  Your mom was devastated.  You shattered your father and he’s still not recovered.

Your sister lost herself in alcohol for a while because that was the only way she could deal with the pain.  She sank into deep depression.  She ended up on antidepressants and sleeping pills.  I was her shoulder to cry on for quite a long time and I felt entirely helpless.  There are no words to console someone whose brother decided that his life wasn’t worth living and, without thought of those who loved him, ended his life.

It first I felt sad for you.  I felt sad that you were in a place in your life that you thought this was the only way out.  As time went by and the hurt of your family never lessened I started to become angry.  Every July when your birthday rolls around your sister becomes depressed and inconsolable.  Every November (the anniversary of your death) is the same only to deeper levels.  I again feel helpless as I watch her struggle with your suicide.  She kills herself trying to figure out why she didn’t see any signs.  Why she didn’t see it coming.  What could she have done to prevent it?

The worst thing is when these times of year roll around now she doesn’t even talk to me about it any more because I wouldn’t understand since I’ve never been through anything similar.

I get pissed at you about other things, as well.  Like having to answer the questions of my children when they finally learned how you had died.  Why would someone kill themself, they asked?  How the fuck should I know?  But what’s gonna kill me has yet to come.  Your nephew (who is named after you, by the way) is eventually going to find out that his uncle killed himself.  I’m going to have to explain this to him one day and answer his inevitable questions.  I get pissed when I see the pain your death still causes.

You’ve totally changed my view of suicide.  I used to think that if people wanted to kill themselves that we should just let them.  In this country you have a right to life and how you live it (or don’t) is totally up to you, in my old opinion.  I still feel that way to an extent, but now I view suicide as the ultimate act of selfishness.  Your life may or may not have been tough.  I don’t know because I never knew you.  But you obviously never considered how your death would affect the lives of those who loved you.  You shattered a small community of people.  Over the years I’ve met people who knew you and to a man (or woman) they’ve all said that you were a wonderful person and it makes me wish I got to know you.  Fuck, I’m getting a lump in the back of my throat right now while I’m writing this.  I guess I never realized how strongly I felt about this until I took the time to write it all down.

Ever since your death we make a trip up to UC (University of Cincinnati) every October for the annual American Foundation for Suicide Prevention walk.  Every year your sister leads a team and raises money for AFSP in the ultimate hope that one day we will understand depression, which is the leading cause of suicide.  Every year right before the walk they hold a moment of silence to remember those who’ve been lost.  And every year during that moment I watch as your sister and mother ball and there’s nothing I can do to help them.  I hug them tightly, but there’s nothing I can say so I sit there and seethe.  Things didn’t have to be this way.

You would have turned 38 last week.  You’ve missed out on knowing my twins, whom my wife assures me you would have loved and they, in turn, would have loved you.  You’ve also missed out on knowing your nephew.  And it fucking sucks.

I hope you’ve found peace wherever you are, but I highly doubt that you have.  Maybe one day, if what the Bible says is true, we’ll meet in the afterlife.

Rest in peace,



About Twindaddy (342 Articles)
Sometimes funny. Sometimes serious. Always genuine.

8 Comments on A letter to my brother-in-law

  1. southerndreamer // July 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm // Reply

    My sympathies for your family.


    • This is a very honest take on a very touchy subject. A dear friend of mine lost her son at 23, she was unfortunately the one who found him. She did see the signs, she did do everything humanly possible to deter him and he still took his life. My friend has transformed physically & mentally into someone I don’t recognize. Sadly, the ones with all the answers are no longer with us. My sympathies to your family…i


  2. I do a lot of research on suicide. Some folks have a history of depression and suicide attempts. Sometimes, though, everyone feels that way. Everyone feels like they want to die. Everyone has times when they feel they can’t go on.

    About 25% of suicides are impulsive, spur of the moment decisions. These usually happen in young adults and adolescents — the same people who think they are invincible.

    Sometimes these impulsive acts have minor consequences — a trip to the hospital so your stomach can be pumped. A tourniquet to stay the bleeding. An antidote to the poison you ingested.

    BUT, and this is where you and I disagree, TwinDaddy, if you put a gun to your head you will succeed 98% of the time. That’s why I will never have a gun. We all have our dark moments. Having the means to do something about them ensures that the darkness can easily become permanent.


  3. Wow. S’all I can say.


  4. ok i will leave a comment.. only because you begged. First thought. That is terrible! I never understood why anyone would choose to kill his or herself. There is always hope. I say this having been in a place in my childhood that caused both my sisters to attempt suicide and end up in therapy.. due to our step mothers mistreatment of us. I was always calmer more able to retreat into books, my bubble.shell what have you is what save me, the knowledge the there is always hope and that is a few short years (or it turned out to be 8 years. 8 years of daily abuse both mental and physical.. 8 years of a person standing 2 inches from my face screaming at me telling me what a waste of life i was.. this isnt about me so thats all the detail I will give, but people have killed themselves under better conditions.)

    second and final thought. Why would someone kill his or her self knowing that Hell is so much worse? Leaving his/her family family behind for eternity? Isn’t knowing that you will never ever see your family again enough to deter? isn’t Eternal unending suffering enough to keep people from committing this grievous sin? Don’t they love their family and friends? How can anyone be so selfish?

    now that you have my comments. Please also my condolences. This is truly tragic. i only hope that you and your family can move past this and bring joy back into your lives. It is better not to dwell on the things we can not change. But there is no harm in remembering a person you loved. Peace be with you. and God bless you and your family.


    • Thanks for you comment and sentiments. I truly don’t understand suicide, either. Of course, looking back afterward my wife and her family see all the obvious signs of depression, but they unfortunately didn’t recognize them at the time. Would it have changed things if they had? Who knows? But he was sick and it went untreated.


3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Let’s talk about suicide. Volunteers anyone? | Your Daily Dose
  2. Out of the Darkness | Stuphblog
  3. No One Commits Suicide Because They Want To Die | TD421

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