Heroin Killed my Brother
As I am sitting here I am not entirely sure of which direction I'd like to take this article. I could give drug dealers a lecture about their disgusting business, I could give drug abusers resources, I could tell you how my brother overdosed on Christmas Day or I could tell you about how easy it is to get drugs.
For the sake of this article, I will be telling my story of the night that it happened, my regrets and resources for those that are struggling with drug addiction.
I have four brothers and even though 2 of them are my half brothers and 2 of them are my step brothers, I see them as my brothers and nothing less. They are all so different in their own unique ways but one thing that they all have in common is how much they love. Randy was 3 years younger than me and was only 24 when he passed away. I met him when I was only 16 years old and instantly felt at home with his family that quickly became my family. He was the kindest most shy, loving, goofy, funny and friendly person that I had met. According to his friends, he was the type of person that would actually give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it.
When he was younger something tragic happened that caused for him to grieve for a very long time. He didn't seek out counseling or tell anyone that he was hurting. He never seemed sad and instead hid his pain through Marijuana and with a smile on his face. But as he grew older and the high from the Marijuana wore off he felt more pain as each day passed. He began taking pills, and when those pills didn't work anymore he took stronger ones. When the stronger pills (a form of heroin) stopped working he began smoking them, and when that didn't work anymore he began injecting the heroin. Heroin is a drug that pulls you in from the moment it enters your body, and when you withdraw from it you experience great pain and sickness which causes you to continue using. It's a horrible cycle that takes over your entire body that in most cases ends in death.
I received a message on Facebook the night that it had happened, from an old friend that read "I am sorry to hear about Randy". My mind began to race and my heart started to pound. My hand was shaking as I began to type his name in the search and hit enter. I scrolled through his feed and saw a dozen posts with the ending of R.I.P. Everything that happened next seemed to happen in slow motion. I looked up towards the patio door, put my hand over my mouth and walked inside. Standing in the kitchen was my boyfriend but instead of going to him I paced back and forth, confused, in shock and completely devastated. I began to hyperventilate when he looked up at me, dropped what he was doing and looked at my phone. I told him that it was my brother and he walked me to the nearest room. It played out like I always thought it would if something devastating were to happen. I lost control of my body, of my tears of all common sense that I had. I fell to the floor and began crying hysterically not believing what I had just read. After several phone calls it was confirmed and I felt like my entire world had just ended.
I spent the next month and a half crying every single day, forcing a smile when it was necessary and pretending like I was okay. The truth is that I am not okay and what happened is not okay. I kept asking why he didn't reach out, and why no one reached out to me but instead I had to find out through social media. I hated myself for not talking to him in 6 months and for not seeing him over the past 6 years. I am still angry at myself for that and probably always will be. Another thing happened though a part of me left. There is something that changed, some piece of me that is gone and will always be gone. I won't ever be able to talk about death without thinking about him, or watch a movie about drugs without feeling sad. I won't ever laugh the same, or smile just because and it's not because of the grief (although I am still grieving) it's because he was in my heart and now he's gone. We keep blaming ourselves because each of us impacted feels as though it could have been prevented. The truth is that I can't keep replaying what happened and asking "what if" because now it's too late. I could have visited him last year like I told him I would. I could have called him more than 1 time in the past 6 years. Instead of unfollowing him on social media because he constantly talked about drugs I could have reached out to him. I could have done all of these things to prevent his death but deep down inside I know that it wouldn't have helped.
I will never be able to change the fact that heroin killed my brother on Christmas. I won't ever be able to put that piece back into my heart that was taken from me. I won't ever stop crying when I think of him and I won't ever stop feeling guilty. Losing anyone can be really hard but I never thought I would lose one of my brothers, they are superheroes. They are my heroes.
I did learn something from all of this, even if it took something tragic to happen for me to do so. My brother reached out to everyone except for me. Everyone knew about his drug abuse and even my best friend talked to him right before he died. His best friend told me that he was ashamed of who he had become. While he was suffering I was stuck in my own world, constantly posting on social media about all of my accomplishments. He never bothered to reach out to me and I believe that it's because of this. I put up this wall and made things seem so perfect even when they weren't which of course would have made him feel uncomfortable or make him feel as though I would judge him. I have since stopped showcasing everything on social media, and have started paying closer attention to the things that are really important.
I have so many feelings and so much guilt. When I have the strength I will create an article filled with resources for those that are suffering from drug addiction. If I can pass on anything that I have learned from this experience it's that success isn't everything but family is. If you close yourself off to your family and only focus on your career you will miss out on the important things that need your attention. You won't see a family member crying out for help, or recognize that they are hurting.
Randy was such a special and caring person and he hid his pain really well. Some days I hate myself for never realizing that he was in so much pain, and other days I am just sad that he is gone and every day I am wondering how the world can keep turning when my world has ended. Everyone keeps asking me if there is anything that they can do and the only response that I have is that I want my brother back, I just want my brother back.