Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Memorial

I haven't been able to blog or write a blog post in quite awhile now. 2017 has been a rough one so far. Lately, I've thought about writing a post and I keep telling myself I have nothing important to say. Instead of talking about crochet or knitting projects I'm going to get a little personal. This post is going to be a memorial to my brother.

On February 5, 2017 my 34 year old brother tragically left this world. He left behind three children, his girlfriend, our parents, our sister, myself and many other family members and friends.

I love this pic...This sweet face 
It's a struggle everyday. The guilt is tough to deal with (for all of us). Wishing I would've called and been there more. That is the hardest part. All I can hope for is peace of mind for myself and all who are struggling right now. 

Our last photo together
I worry about my mom, and his girlfriend, and my sister the most. Death changes us forever. I hope it will become less raw over time. I work around death on a regular basis, but seeing a loved one so young leave... its just devastating.

I think of the past, happy times and his children.

one of my favorites

He was a music lover, and I can't listen to music very much right now. 

He also loved UNC basketball...that is something we shared. We're both die-hard Carolina fans. I do watch the games and think how happy he would be if they were to go all the way this year. Go Heels!

I just wish he would have seen in himself what all of us could and did. He had so much to offer to this world and the people he left behind.

Depression can be a silent killer. Take part in the lives of those who are struggling. Call more, visit more, and be present. Guilt and regret are heavy burdens to carry for those left behind. 


  1. Oh, Liz, I am so very, very sorry for your loss.
    I just can't think of anything else to say, except that I am sorry.
    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
    I know I have never met you but I wish I could see you and give you a big hug. I know that does not help one bit, but I do wish I could. x

  2. Liz, such a senseless death. I am so sorry for you and all of those who loved your brother. I have no words to help you thought this tough time. Depression is horrible and when those are suffering we have no idea how much pain they are in. There is nothing you could do, remember that.

  3. My heart breaks for all of you. Much love to you all.

    xoxo Amy

  4. So sorry for you loss... Much love to you and all the loving people your brother left behind.
    A big, virtual hug,

  5. I am so sorry to hear of your loss.I can feel your pain in your words. I lost my brother 7 months ago and I still strugle with the loss.I will be saying a prayer for you and your family.

  6. So sorry for your great loss. Hugs and prayers.

  7. My deepest sympathies to you and your loved ones. The loss of someone so young for such a reason leaves a gaping hole of ache and remorse in those left behind. May you find peace and may time soften the ache of your loss and may loving memories predominant.

  8. A dear memorial and sharing of the deepest of your sorrow . . . may you feel the uplifting of those who care. Losing a loved one, someone who shared life with you from the time of birth, creates a void, a dimension that cannot be filled and yet that very space is a very real reminder of his presence, his connection, his dearest place in your life. It is both heartbreaking and a treasure of memories that keep him ever present. The loss you have suffered has created so many fractures, emotions that can erupt and flood at any time because death allows no rewrite, no change, like hitting a brick wall it leaves your heart bruised and battered. Yet here so many have posted, here by letting us glimpse your pain, we share in lifting you up, encourage you, offer a shoulder to lean on, hold your hand as you cry and cry some more, listen to what you need to say or support you through needed silence. As you move forward, one minute, one hour, one day at a time may you feel the burden lifted as you are surrounded by those who truly care, sending their tender words, warm hugs, sincere prayers, shared tears, and concern. My heartbreaks for you and your family and this devastating loss.

  9. Dear Elizabeth,
    I am so sorry for your loss.I witness death on a daily basis as part of my job and I find young losses the most devastating.I pray for the ones left behind to find the strength to survive this tragic loss.

  10. I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family at this extremely difficult time.

  11. Very,very.sorry,big.loss,greetings.and.strong.huggs,anna

  12. Elizabeth, Like many I am so sorry to hear of this tragic loss for you all. I want though to try to give you a different perspective on what has happened. I suffer from extreme depression (Melancholia) and I can honestly 100% assure you that there is absolutely nothing that you or anyone else could have done to prevent this situation. I'm sorry if that seems harsh, I know it as truth and want you not to live with needless guilt. When a depressed person reaches the place that your Brother was in there is nothing left. It's not that we don't care or love those around us it is that we are completely overwhelmed by the feelings that we have. So overwhelmed that we become numb. Think about a time when you have had a physical pain so intense that momentarily it stops all feeling. Then feeling floods back and you are beside yourself in pain unable to think of anything but that pain. That is what happens on an intensely magnified level for someone living with depression. There are good times, there are great memories before the tsunami of depression hits again. I'm sure as anything that your brother did not want to leave you all, he just could not stay. There is a desperate soul weariness that we live with, no matter how much we love the trying to live life wearing an all in one body suit of concrete and being hit by the waves I've described above become too much. It's not about wanting to die, to leave you all it's about being desperate for a moment's respite and in that moment not knowing that a moment will be forever. I know that right now you are all grief stricken but please try to see that this man you love so much is finally free from an incurable pain. Before people tell me there is medication, I agree there is. It does not cure it relieves some of the symptoms (maybe). Depression is like a cancer, a leprosy it slowly takes away more and more of you a living death. I truly hope that this helps just a little. Lucy, England

  13. PS I hope that someone is assuring his children that he loved them and they did nothing wrong.

  14. Thank you for so bravely sharing of your heartbreaking loss and opening yourself up to us all like this. I am sorry and so sad 😢 How incredibly hard for all of you.
    Please don't let that guilt you are carrying drag you down, there are sadly always could haves/should haves for us all. You've done such a positive thing sharing and highlighting awareness of mental illness and as someone who battles depression I thank you for that. Much love to you all xx

  15. I am so sorry for your loss. Depression robs us of wonderful people every day. Thank you for your courage to write about this and remind us to be there for those we love and care for in our lives. Try not to dwell on those things that "I should have, would have or could have done".

  16. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you and your family find a way to peace, and that you are all able to hold each other tight in love and care.

  17. I'm so sorry for your loss Elizabeth. I will keep you and your family in my prayers xoxo

  18. Dear Elisabeth, I have been following your blog for a long time, although I have never wrote a comment here, but now I am going to do it. I've been missing your lovely posts and your wonderful creations. However, I could never think that a new post of yours could bring us such terrible news. Thank you for so bravely sharing your heartbreaking loss and opening yourself up for us all like this. I am sorry and so sad. How incredibly hard for all of you.

    Your "lovely face" (I agree) brother leaves a void behind him difficult to understand, but I believe that guilt does not take place here, since there was nothing you could do to avoid it. Now he rests and has stopped suffering, and I deeply hope that you and your family can be comforted by this thought and that the course of the day will gradually soften your pain, and transform it into a tender memory of the good times shared. Lots of hugs for you and your family. xxx

  19. Bless you & your family. Big hugs & prayers. Thank you for sharing about depression. It can be so very hard. Lynn xxx

  20. Very tragic indeed. So very sorry for your loss. My cousin's wife took her life many, many years ago and left behind two small boys at the time. So very devastating. Sometimes no matter what we do, we can't change the path someone is on. May each new day bring you peace and comfort.

  21. Oh Liz, I'm so sorry for your loss. Sorrow will never leave your existence, but time will relieve it, just a little...I know, because we suddenly lost a 29 years old niece, 9 years ago, and never, never passes....A lovely hug for you all. Lucia Anna, from ItalY

  22. Liz, in many ways a death caused by depression is harder to bear than any other. To all of us who are healthy, it DOES seem senseless. And you DO feel like you should ahve done more, been there more...but if you substitute the name of any other often fatal disease for cancer - such as cancer, or heart failure, whatever - you find you have a different reaction. I will not pretend to know your exact situation - I don't. But I do know from long conversations with college friends who suffer from it that when they have been suicidal, it washes over them like a wave. They are UTTERLY convinced that this is the BEST thing they could do for everyone. Thankfully they have had some weird blip that occurred that changed that impetus caused by their imbalance. I wish that had been the case for your brother. It may have been that in that moment nothing would have stayed his action - he may well have just let the phone ring instead of pick it up, not answered the door....I guess my point is that with mental illness we have an illusion of control, when in reality there often isn't any. The loss of him you will carry forever, as you loved him and appreciated him deeply. And it does cahnge you forever, and leave gaping holes and dmaged places. I am still struggling (thankfully with less frequency) over my husbands death Sept. of 15. Grieving is the mark of someone who mattered; every tear shed is proof of the wonderful person your brother was. But please don't cloud that with guilt and add that layer of pain onto yourself. That what if's will drive you insane if you let them, and that I think I can safely say, he would NEVER have wanted. He lost his battle with a disease, and I am so, so sorry for you and the rest of your family. THere are no rules in grief - you will come back to old things when and if you do in the time that you know is right. I have begun a series a memorial quilts for Matt (my husband) that I am finding very therapeutic. I also stumbled upon a quilt exhibition that are all quilts that are marked by grief in some way. I found them both uplifting and powerful; it might be something you want to look into at some point, to either check out or to make a quilt for - Joan

  23. My son left this world even though i didn't let him out of my site when I knew he was going so far down into the depression ... I begged and begged him to go for help, but he was too ashamed of other issues and didn't think he was worthy. I literally turned my back when he said I could go call an ambulance... and then heard the gunshot. It will never get easier....those goodbyes that can't be said, there are no do overs,,no i'm sorry, I'll do better. Nothing. The only thing I can say for myself is I did all I could humanly do,,,yet I still wonder what else I should of could of done to save my babies life. My only son was 34, my baby that I felt his first heart beat and was there for the last one. Suicide is selfish, desperate act and only hurts those that are left behind. Grieve and help your mom.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this. Here it is a year and a half later as I reread this post and these comments again. It’s no easier today than it was then. I am so sorry for your tragic loss and really appreciate your comment and kind words. As a mother I can not imagine your sense of loss...a mother’s love is like no other.

  24. Liz, I am so sorry to hear about your brother, I have never had to deal with this tragedy in my immediate family but I have 3 boys and 2 of them have threatened and tried to take their own lives. They were taken from me back in 2000 through a really bad custody & divorce. I moved home to North Carolina. Swansboro/Jacksonville area. and he got custody of my 3 precious little boys who at the time were 6,9,& 12 yrs old. The day they left I wanted to die myself. I had a lot of support from my family & friends at home. I chose to stay in N.C. and not go back to Wisconsin where we were living before I fled from while my ex-husband went on a trip to Europe with our Income tax money and took his best friend. What a guy huh. Anyway He was very abusive to me and when he got the children he started abusing them. It affected my youngest the worst who by the way came to live with me the day he graduated from High
    School. His Father and Grandmother told my husband & I to take him with us back to TX. and never bring him back that they didn't want him. Earlier this year he decided that he was going to go home & stay with his 2 little boys, well needless to say he was back home in 2 months and he came to me and said "Mom I should have listened to you but I forgot how bad it really was up there." His father called him horrible names dail and belittled him so bad that I don't know if he will ever have a self esteem he deserves. So my short story turned long sometimes we can only do what we can do and just pray for the rest. I have you in my prayers! I wanted to share with you that I startd a blog recently and trying to get it going but I want to dedicate it to crocheting & how it heals. I have gone through a lot and one day I picked up my hooks and it has literally saved my life! In time I hope your heart will mend some and in the meantime just remember that you could have done nothing to prevent your brother's passing. God Speed
    Susanne is my blog on wordpress

    Thank you for listening to my long winded short story, I hope it gives you some comfort

  25. Dear Liz,
    I am deeply sorry for the loss of your beautiful brother.

    I vowed when Robin Williams committed suicide that I would never be silent about my own struggle with mental illness again. I suffer from chronic depression. No one or no thing can fill the void a suicidal person feels. In That Moment, there is no one and no thing left to live for.

    Fortunately, after much travail, we found a correct combination of medications for me. But I still go into depressive episodes. I tell my husband when it is happening. He always asks me what he can do to help, and I always tell him Nothing. He can't fix it any more than he could fix a diabetic coma. I Skype with my best friend a few times a week and she lets me know if my symptoms are getting out of hand.

    I know there is a Huge temptation to feel you shoulda, coulda, woulda done something different. But unless you were with him 24/7, it would not have mattered. And Even Then, it would not have mattered. As Brenda says above, she literally just turned her back to call the ambulance and her son killed himself. Your dear brother had an illness that was, unfortunately, fatal.

    This is all so hard but grieving your brother does him honor now. Your going through this process -All In- then coming out the other side changed, but ok, is a gift that you can give him. And I believe he will receive it Special Delivery.

    Many hugs,
    Maryland USA

  26. Dear Elizabeth, I share your sorrow. My father committed suicide in 2000. I will say that it took some time for me to learn to deal with the guilt, anger and sorrow that follows such an act. But I can assure you, some day, when you've grieved enough for YOU, you will start remembering the good times more than the bad and the sun will shine again. In the meantime, I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  27. Dear Elizabeth, I just found your blog yesterday and I'm so, so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you and especially for your parents. When you wrote how you hadn't felt like doing your handwork for over a year I knew something terrible had happened to make you lose interest in something you clearly enjoy doing so much. That disinterest is itself a sign of depression. I'm so glad you feel like writing and crocheting again. Your brother would want you to keep doing what you love.

    Even though time has passed, there is no endpoint for grief when someone leaves this world in that way, just a lessening...a softening of grief over time. Please keep talking with your family about your feelings and grieve together for your brother--it will help you, I promise. Don't ever be afraid to say his name or share a memory. Painful as it will be, later on you and your loved ones will find all those memories you've shared with each other about your brother so very, very precious. And you will be able to smile and laugh at some of the things he said and did. It will get better, even if it still feels as raw today as when it happened.

    Be kind to yourself, and forgive yourself for what you did not, and could not know about his pain. Although I did not know him, he seems like the kind of man who would want that for his family.

    You and all your family are in my prayers.