In an instant 20 years of chaos and drama suddenly stopped. Today is the anniversary of my brother’s death five years ago. He was an alcoholic for most of his life and lost the battle to his addiction on that fateful day when my Dad found him dead, surrounded by his recovery books. He was studying to become a drug and alcohol counselor, and I believe he would have made a good one if only he could have stopped. He was already turning blue by the time my Dad found him. He tried to do CPR but it was too late. I’m sorry if the details are too depressing, I think they are too.

After his death I tried to go to one of those grief support groups, but it made me feel worse. Not the kind of “it gets worse before it’s gets better worse,” just…worse. They wanted us to talk about the funeral. People who die like my brother died don’t have funerals. They wanted us to talk about the pain of going through your loved one’s belongings. People who die like my brother don’t usually have many belongings. And no one really knows what to say either. After all, it’s not like ‘he lived a good long life,’ or died of an uncurbable disease. After all, he did it to himself right? And maybe that is partially true.

So today I will call my Mom and try to comfort her because her son’s death is so close to Mother’s Day. Maybe I will send her flowers. Dad of course won’t want to talk about it, other than that thing about how we still have his ashes in a jar by his photo and every year we talk about going somewhere special to scatter them, but it never happens. Then I will go about my work day, and pretend everything is fine. And it is really. And it will be. And yes, he is happier now. And yes, he is in a better place.

But there will always be a deep sadness. It’s sort of an inner ache that aches when you think about things for too long. It grabs you just above your gut and travels up to your throat and into your eyes, but most of the time it stops before the tears flow.  

Today I’m sad for what could have been. But I’m thankful that by the grace of God I have 14 years of wonderful sobriety and my amazing husband has 17 years of sobriety. We were able to make a different choice. I wish things could have been different for my brother Casey.

If you have lost a loved one to addiction, I understand your pain. It is not your fault. Let me say that again. It is not your fault. If you have any questions about addiction and family dynamics, I will be answering them in my next YouTube video. You may like the this one too! https://youtu.be/5JGqKIWcbHo