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.
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