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It Is My Brother Colin’s Birthday Today

WARING: This is not the Farming Wife talking about food today. It is purging. I say a bad word and am not politically correct in any way. If you would like to skip today and revisit tomorrow when I am all better, it might be best.

It’s my brother Colin’s birthday today. I am not sure if I should say ‘is’, or ‘was’, since Colin is dead. He hung himself just before Thanksgiving last year.

Colin was the youngest of five children. I remember the moment that my parents announced  he was going to be born. My oldest sister was pissed. She didn’t want another brother or sister to have to watch. My  mother worked at the hospital and went to college when she wasn’t working. My father did a lot of things: Fishing guide, truck driver, bus driver. Neither was home much, and we kids were alone a lot. My oldest sister was in charge of us and we hated her for it(as much as a child hates their sibling of course).
By the time all of us older siblings moved away, Colin was left with not much to do. His next oldest brother was deep in his partying years, and I suppose Colin thought that was the way to go. May be there really wasn’t anything else to do. We didn’t participate in any extracurricular activities outside of home and school.
The older brother finally got it together and Colin kept on partying. There wasn’t anyone to put up the stops for him and life grew faster, drugs grew stronger and my parent’s excuses for him grew larger and more unbelievable.
I had long ago cut ties with my parents. Our family sure put the fun in dysfunctional(as many families from that time did), and now that I had children, I felt that there was no place for that sort of drama. Many years of therapy passed before I could let go of the sadness and anger over not having any sort of family unit for backup.
My parents were invited to my wedding and dragged my drug addicted and clearly unstable brother along. He now had contact with me-ugh, and sporadically sent nonsensical letters, made late night(or early morning) phone calls asking for bail money or talking about how he was using his ADHD  meds to make meth..I would listen to that  and then hang up and knit a diaper cover, or birth a baby at home. Our lives were that Juxtapositioned.

One time he called to say that he was getting married. Then they had a baby.
Then he hung himself.

Sparing you any more details, his life was wasted(yea, go with that pun if you want to). He never did a damn thing and that is ridiculous. Do I sound mad? Well, I am. I do not understand any of this. Oh yes, I understand addiction, partying, living the fast life and being slightly crazy. I also understand how it feels to know that there is an innocent being that is expecting/hoping that I make the right choice each and every day-to keep him safe/fed/loved. Nothing comes before that.

I didn’t really tell anyone when he died. It was right before the holidays and my husband was disinterested. I live in my own personal hell out in Nebraska, where I don’t have someone TO tell. My uncles are my closest family and they are thousands of miles away. There is only so much you can do on the phone, 9 months pregnant with 4 other kids running under foot.

I think I just wanted to rage against Colin! I want to scream and holler and hit him. I want to call the cops and have him put in jail/rehab, where he belonged so many times. I would cover my mother’s mouth with my hand so she couldn’t pull any strings at the hospital and get him safely committed until the courts let him off yet again.I would force my father to actually SEE what was happening and make these things happen, instead of acting as if it was the result of us older kids not doing the chores when we were young.

My mind doesn’t revisit the memories that I have, of Colin as a little boy. It is too hard and too sad. There was a time when I loved him fiercely. In a way, it is almost as fiercely as I love my children now.

That’s all I have. I am jittery, short tempered and full of so much to say with no one to share it with.

 It is my brother’s birthday today and he is dead.

5 thoughts on “It Is My Brother Colin’s Birthday Today”

  • Amy i am soo sorry to hear about Colin!! I am also sorry that you didn't have any support for yourself during this terrible time!!Karen Bedell Parillo

  • Amy, I'm so sorry. I, too, have a brother who has been spiraling out of control for years (for a lifetime), for whom my parents make excuse after excuse and from whom I receive random phone calls asking for crazy things or hurling hurtful words. However, my brother is still alive and I have somewhere to direct that anger, someone to avoid and stay away from. I fully expect at some point to get a call about his death and don't know what I would do with all that anger. All that to say–I'm sorry. I can't imagine how dreadful this must be for you. Just know there are others out there like me who get it. ~Amanda Roth Morin

  • Amy,You do not know me, but my heart goes out to you…if ever you need to say something, share something…whatever…feel free to contact me…we follow each other on twitter and facebook…I will send you best wished there also…There is someone out here to talk to, anytime!Blessings and may your loss ease.Karol Thunder

  • I am sorry for your loss. It is still raw and deep and you live with it everyday. I know as I also lost a brother the exact same way. I was eight years old and he was fifteen. That was thirty years ago-and it still seems like yesterday. Suicide is a very rough road for those left behind. Talking about it and admitting your feelings is a good way to try to understand and make sense of it. That is what I have always ultimately wanted: to make sense of what happened-I am still working on that after all of these years. I am angry that he gave up and sad at the same time that life was just to hard for him. Most importantly, be good to yourself during this difficult time. Take care.Heather in PA

  • Amy,I'm sorry to hear about your brother. I have an aunt who has been missing for 9 years now this week. She left behind 4 children (2 under the age of 12 at the time). She had a severe drinking problem and some mental issues as well. From my position, its hard to remember her lovingly when all I can remember is her anger and mistreatment of her children and others. My grandparents were in the same position always defending her actions or covering them up for her.I can understand your anger at your brother. Suicide can seem like such a selfish act. It leaves the remaining loved ones wondering what they could have done to change that person's decision. I have a family member who has threatened suicide before and it makes me angry because this person also has a family to take care of.I am thinking of you this week and will be thinking of you during the upcoming holiday season. Cherish the fact that although your brother may not have acclomplished much, you have contributed so much to this world, especially raising 5 beautiful and thoughtful children. You have been able to move beyond your dysfunctional childhood to make a wonderful life for your own children. It is a pleasure to know you and your family.Karrie

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