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My Cousin Tommy


benpm

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Here goes the first letter in probably a series that I am told I need to write. This letter is to my cousin Tommy who killed himself five years ago.

This is hard to get started. Here goes.

Tommy,

You where always the brother I never had when you where here. I was an only child, and even though we where cousins, you where the closest thing I had to a sibling. Put coldly, but the truth. I remember you coming over my house for visits and following me around to annoyance. I felt bad about it even at the time, being annoyed with your constant wanting to be included, but back then, I had to keep my lives separate. I had to keep school mates, my friends, and family in separate bubbles. I couldn't let personal tragedy from one group, cause me shame, embarrassment and rejection like it did when I was six, ever again. I never, even till high school, let the groups commingle. When you came over to my house, and I was with friends, I could not allow you to be part of it. I felt bad at the time, and I know that hurt you to go from included, to pushed away, but it was only when you where there. Whenever we where at family events outside my home, you like a brother to me.

I remember how when I broke grandmom's Jesus picture, and I knew I was gonna get my ass beat big time, how I blamed you. You never told grandmom the truth, and you never held it against me. You just took the beating. That day you taught me how much you loved me, how much stronger you where than me, and that I could never let someone get beat for my mistakes again.

Later, when we where adults, and we grew apart a little, and I invited you over to help me put up the unreasonable amount of Christmas decorations I bought that year, I never meant for it to end that badly. I invited you over in part, because I knew you where getting in trouble and making mistakes. I wanted to get inside you a little bit, see what was going on, and try to help you. One lesson I learned was never do that when both parties are drunk off their ass. I remember in our talks, you telling me not to make you angry, and me telling you, you needed to let it out, and not to worry about me. I remember calling your mother to get her to stop doing something in your life that I can't remember anymore, after you completely destroyed my basement. I also remember you gong a bit to far when you started punching holes in the wall, and then trying to walk home to New Jersey. Then punching your way back through the door when you decided you had changed your mind. I remember the whole family blaming me for that, because I should have known you shouldn't be drinking because of how you get, and thinking, why the hell didn't anybody tell me that before, instead of keeping everything you did on the hush hush. That day I wrote you off till you apologized.

I wish I hadn't. I wish I had the strength to finish what I started with helping you, and not turn my back on you, for doing things, that I invited you to do. I wish your mother didn't coddle you, and give you her antidepressants. I wish I could have invited you back into my life, and see that some of the things you where so upset about, where not that important. I wish you never would have hung yourself the way you did.

I can't undo the past. I can't take full credit for a mental illness that drove you to suicide. I felt so guilty for so long. I could never talk to the family. I thought it was my fault for abandoning you. Maybe it was a little. But I always thought that you would come around, and apologize, and that I would do the same, and things would go back to normal. Why the hell didn't you just apologize for the immense amount of damage you did to my house that night, so we could move past it and not be strangers. I wish I had the foresight I have in hindsight to have acted differently. I wish you where still here, to keep me grounded through everybody else dying. I hope where ever you are, you found peace and happiness. Say hello to grandpopp and grandmom for me. Oh hell, and Aunt Bea, Jenny, Uncle Doug, and if you see him, my real brother who I just met a few years ago.

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aw benpm, I am sorry for the guilt you have, you have so much to deal with. I am glad you were able to get something out. I'm sure Tommy doesn't care about any of that stuff now and I bet he wishes he could just tell you that.

can't remember if you said you were seeing a therapist with your grief but just a little suggestion I have when you find it hard to talk about things and because you have several people to grieve maybe print off some of the letters you've posted here and bring it to the therapist. I know sometimes I write in auto pilot and I could not tell you 15mins later what I wrote.

anyways, I hope you are finding some tiny tiny comfort having found us all here in our special online grieving home,

hugs to ya !

niamh

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Thanks,

That is a good idea. As soon as every night isn't a crisis around here with everything I have got going on, I will write my next letter. Writing a letter like these under serious time constraints diminishes the effectiveness.

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