Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rest In Peace

I've been struggling with whether I should post this or not. Even though I still fell odd about it, I'm going to do it since I feel an overwhelming urge to talk about it.

On Monday evening, my aunt called to ask if I had my cousins phone number. I could tell by her voice that something had happened and my immediate thought was that my uncle had died. I never expected her to tell me that my 38 year old cousin had committed suicide.

My cousin was an alcholic. He had a horrible childhood with a father who was very rarely around and an uneducated mother who tried her best to raise 3 children on a housekeepers salary. I'm not in any way trying to make excuses for his alcholism, just saying that he had a helping hand. He was a grown adult and had been offered help many times. I've learned over the years that you can't help someone who doesn't want help.

When he would drink he would normally start calling the family wanting to visit and get together. When we were younger I would always make time for him. Once I had Dan that changed. I didn't want my children to be exposed to those kinds of situations. I made it very clear that I didn't want him at my home when he had been drinking. Pair that with the fact that he moved all over the place and well, that meant we didn't see him much.

The last time I heard from him he called from the Watertown area. This was after he'd been out of touch for well over a year. He called to say he was doing well. Had a great job. Had met a nice girl. Had his own place. When I spoke to him then he sounded good. He sounded happy. Then a month or two passed with no word. Like so many times before, he started calling again just out of the blue. Said he was still doing great. Had an even better job. Had been sober for almost 3 years. Then he said he wanted to come to visit. I told him I'd love that but only if he wasn't drinking. He swore he wasn't and even though he didn't sound it, I couldn't help but feel a little wary about the idea of him coming to the house. Then he started calling several times a day and when I didn't answer because I was outside away from the phone with the baby, he became angry. I knew he was drinking again. I called him back to talk and heard him slurring his speech. My heart sank. I so badly wanted to give him what he wanted. Family. He said he'd be back in touch to let me know when he'd be able to take time to come visit. I never heard from him again.

I know it's not my fault that he chose to end his life. But I still can't help but feel a little ashamed of myself for pushing him away. I can't imagine the pain that pushed him to do what he did. Sadness. Lonliness. Desperation. I wish I could have done something to take those feelings away. To tell him once more how much I loved him. But sometimes we just never get that second chance.

I hope that my cousin is right where he wanted to be. With family. He lost his mother several years ago and I'd like to think that she was there to take him in her arms and love him again. Which is exactly what I've been doing even more than usual with my babies and hubby. Try it with your loved ones. You'll all be glad you did.


Leslie said...

Hugs to you, my dear.

Kate said...

Don't feel quilt, as you say, he's a grown up. I know what you are going through, my father tried so many times to do the same thing, and he was an alcoholic too. Just want to send you a great hug.

Kate in Norway

Starfish said...

Oh Kerry that's so awful. I know it's your nature to want to have been helpful to him, but even if you had it probably wouldn't have helped. Alcoholism is a terrible disease, and the bottom line is that he didn't get the treatment he needed. So sorry. I too hope he is in heaven getting the love he always needed.

Anonymous said...

Kerry, I am sorry that you are going through this rough time. You should not feel guilty. I don't think there was anything you could have done for him. He was an adult and you being a mother had every right to be protective of your family. Your cousin has some deep issues and lots of inner pain that you would not have been able to solve for him. Only a professional could have. Hug your family tell them that you love them, keeping them near and dear to you. No Guilt, No Worries.

Be blessed.

TheAmpuT said...

Kerry, thanks for sharing the story. Personally, I think that "talking" about stuff like this is not a bad idea for some of us who like to (or need to) process things "out loud".
I sure I'm preachin' to the choir here, but just a reminder that when things like this happen, a wide range of feelings are all normal. Sometimes the feelings conflict with one another, and feelings tend to come in waves and layers anyhow. I'm sending along thoughts of gentility as for you as you move through this.
Big hugs....

Maia said...

Oh Kerry, that is so hard. It is hard to know what to do. It is hard to lose someone so young. It is hard to deal with the loss.

You made the best decision you could at the time. There is nothing more that you can do.

Hugs to you and your family.

Pooch said...

My sincere sympathy to you and your family. Trying to understand "why" can cause people to consider their interactions with the deceased. You sound caring, concerned, yet realistic about your cousin's problems. I pray the Lord will comfort and bless you and your family through this tragic time.


Sharon G. said...

Kerry, I'm so sorry about your family's sad, how traumatic. Big hugs to you and yours.

- Sharon

Anonymous said...

Your message hit home in some respects. I was once a single Mother forced to raise 3 children alone, without child support, on a factory worker's salary. My oldest got involved with alcohol at 18, (it was legal in NY at that time) and by the time he was 21 he was an alcoholic. He is 43 yrs old now, and I have not seen or spoken to him for many years because I didn't want to be around him when he was drinking. So he turned away from me and has never looked back.

Your cousin was a mature adult and he made poor choices, of which you had nothing to do with. Your priority are your own children, and you have nothing to feel guilty about.

I am so very sorry for your loss though. Sending hugs your way.

Sandie :)

Elly said...

Thank you for telling your story. My thoughts go to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Im very sorry for your loss, sometimes there is nothing we can do to help someone, they have to want to help themselves, My thoughts go to you and your family.

Kathy in DC said...

Kerry, I'm so very sorry to hear about your cousin. I know what you mean about how you can't help someone who doesn't want help. It sounds simple when you write it down like that. But that doesn't make it any easier when you want to help. I also am glad you shared this, and I will keep you and your family in my prayers. You really did do as much as you could while still rightly protecting your family. Again, we have too much in common! Big hugs to you. I was just checking in after a while, and didn't know you were having so much to deal with. Please know you are not alone.
Hugs, Kathy

vera said...

My college roomie/ dear friend committed suicide. I am so sorry for your loss. I know what you are going through.

lorinda said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Shelby said...

Wow- I'm SO sorry! I'll be thinking about you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry for your loss. It must be so hard for you and your family.
-your sp

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