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My brother just died by overdose


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September 13, 2017. 14 days since my little brother died. Just typing that out I can feel my heart tighten even more which I didn't think was possible at this point. Most people seem to think that because he was my step brother it wouldn't be as painful for me as it is for his two brothers that are biological. What they fail to realize was we grew up together. My parents (mom and step dad who I consider very much a father) had full custody of us all. Our rooms were right by each other. We would yell at each other through the wall. Typical sister brother stuff. We were two years apart to the day. His bday being feb 24 mine feb 25. He was 31 and I'm 33. We stuck up for each other in school. We confided in each other. He considered me his sister as he was much of a brother to me as my biological brother. Through his addiction we lost touch until he hit his rock bottom and he got clean. We started to talk again. He met his nephews and niece and he came to visit. We got together with another's one of our brothers and our nephews a couple times. He started body building and building a life for himself. He was healthy and sober for what would of be 6years October 1 2017. I was so proud of him. He had come such a long way. Then I got the call 13 days ago that has flipped my world upside down and changed my life in every way possible. He was found that morning dead in his bed. He had overdosed. He was using again and it killed him this time. He was gone forever. He is gone forever. My little brother is gone. I didn't get to say I love you. I didn't get to tell him how much he meant to all of us. I didn't get to listen as he spoke about his pain and struggles. Instead he felt the darkness come over him and he made the choice to use again and it took his life. I can't face anyone that knew us because it's too painful to explain what's going on I just start balling. I'm not sleeping, I've been having anxiety panic attacks. Some days I'm ok other days like today I just cry until I fall asleep. I've gone a few places and have seen things that remind me of him and it's like a slap in the face that he's gone and I start crying. I had complete breakdowns all three of my flights during all of this initially. I flew to wa first where he lived met my parents there. Once everything was settled we flew to Alaska where we are from and I stayed there, then my husband and three of our children met me there then we all flew home.  I broke down and couldn't catch my breath on all three flights. I love flying and traveling. I feel lost. I feel a pain so deep that I don't know what to do. I'm angry. I'm confused, I feel stuck. I don't know what to do... I always know what to do and if I don't I figure it out very quickly. I can't with this. It's like waves of pain just come over me. I'm looking at pictures one min laughing at memories and telling stories about him to balling hugging one of his shirts.  What do I do? how do I move forward and how do I function again? I'm a mother myself I have 5 kids to care for and love. Someone please any advice? Wisdom something? 

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My heart reaches out to you in your pain, my dear, and I am so sorry for your loss. Don't let anyone tell you that this person you love is not your little brother, whether related biologically or not. You love him. He IS your brother. Your love is legitimate and real, and so is the grief you are feeling now.

I must tell you that losing someone to suicide is one of the most challenging of losses, because it is so hard to understand and it leaves you with so many unanswered questions and so much unfinished business. This is a significant loss that is worthy of support, and I'm so glad that you found your way to this warm and caring place, where you will find yourself embraced open arms and caring, understanding hearts.

Please know that there are many resources "out there" to help you better understand what you may be experiencing in reaction to this most difficult of losses, and you don't have to go through this alone. This is too big a burden to think that you can bear it all by yourself.

I'm going to point you to an article that contains links to dozens of other useful resources, and I hope it speaks to you in a helpful way: Grief Support for Survivors of Suicide Loss.  

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I am so sorry for your loss.  I didn't get the impression it was suicide, but maybe accidental from drug use.  
At any rate, it's such a senseless loss, it didn't need to happen, and that can make it all the harder.  My husband died of a heart attack, no chance to say goodbye, I love you, reassure him, nothing.  Such sudden deaths as his and your brother is really hard on those of us left behind.  We are left reeling to grapple with it.  You are right, it's senseless, it is so hard to know how to continue, yet continue we must, we have other family members to consider, it's just hard when you can't even think.  

It will be really important to take care of yourself, yes, even when you least feel like it, ESPECIALLY when you least feel like it.  It's easy to forget to eat something and drink some water.  I got edema when my husband died, my daughter had to follow me around the house with water and make me drink sips, I couldn't even remember to do that.  I, too, am one of those people who could handle anything, do anything, yet when you're in grief, it takes even that away.  It's hard to make decisions, hard to know what to do.

I wrote this article based on what I've learned over the last 12 years since.  It was written with loss of spouse in mind but most of it still applies in your situation.  I hope you will consider some of it, what you think may be helpful to you.


There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.]
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.


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23 hours ago, Missyoud said:

 I'm a mother myself I have 5 kids to care for and love. Someone please any advice? Wisdom something? 

Reading this article just now made me think of you: Don't Send the Wrong Message to Surviving Children. It's written by a mom whose child died, but I think her suggestions are relevant for any grieving mother who still must tend to her children's needs, including one whose little brother just died. 

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