October 27th, 2018. The day that changed everything.

Grief. For a 5 letter word is can wreck havoc and destroy lives in a way one can’t really explain. And that’s the thing, you can’t explain it. You could be experiencing the same pain and loss as the person closest to you and yet you could still be— and most likely are—- in complete opposite places.  But then again, what do I know. I am right smack dab in the “eye” of grief at this very second. 

 “Forever 22” 

On October 27th, 2018 my life was completely changed forever.  The person I was before that day is no longer there. I was changed in so many ways that I still don’t know all the ways I was changed or even know who this new person I am being forced into becoming is. 

The thing was it seemed like a semi normal day. Nothing to out of the ordinary, I had one of my  younger brother’s (Jordan) visiting from Florida. My family, and I took him to a local orchard, We got apples, donuts, and frozen cider slushees. Normal. We went out to lunch and ate a mundane, typical lunch. Life was simple. I went to work that night.( I work in the medical field)  We had a low census, so after I finished with the one Baby assessment I had to do I was going to be going back home “on call”. At exactly 11:16pm I got a text. A text that would be the “ beginning of the end” you could say. I was in the middle of bathing, weighing, and assessing the baby so I didn’t read the text right away.  It wasn’t a long text. Didn’t really give away too much. But you could tell, there was something there, some hidden message. Something so much bigger than the 8 words that were sent. It took me till about 11:31 to see the text, and 11:32 to respond. 16 minutes. That was all. Such a short time. So meaningless in the grand scheme of things. I responded as soon as I saw the message. But there wasn’t going to ever be a response. ( not that I knew this at the time)

 I went about my charting and it wasn’t until I got a message from my Mom, that before I even opened it I knew what it was going to say- She had gotten a similar text. In that very Moment. Before even reading the message my mom sent my stomach instantly sank. This knowing feeling just came about me. I tried to hide my worries and told my Mom “ Everything is probably fine”. But since I was headed home on call anyways, I would drive by my brothers house to check on him. First stopping at my house to pick up my husband; however nothing can wake up my husband once he is asleep. So my younger brother tagged along and by 12:05am, less than an hour since I received the text, we were headed to his house.

There are a lot of gory and just down right awful details I could tell you about. I could tell you about the two hours we spent talking to cops, and driving around searching for my brother. I could tell you about pulling back into my brothers driveway just before 2 am and breaking into his house.I can tell you all the details in between. But I wont. Maybe one day 

I can remember this feeling come over me when I found my brother. After nearly 5 years in the medical field you gain some instincts. Those instincts go into over drive when there is a life on the line, but when its your family member, your loved one laying there- That instinct isn’t something I can really put into words.  Half of my brain was telling me to jump into action. The other half was telling me that it was too late. That there was nothing I could do. That feeling. That is complete hopelessness. Here you are 5 years into the medical field and you have had the privilege to save countless lives. You've been able to give strangers back their loved ones. But in that moment you don’t get the privilege to save your own family. You don’t get to give your own family back the same thing you’ve given countless strangers. It’s the realization that Saving him just wasn’t meant to be. That is one of the many, soul crushing things I just wont understand this side of heaven. To me, it just doesn’t seem fair and this is still something I struggle with to this day.

You know In the movies where people say traumatic things are “ just a blur” just all bunched together in a fast forward type of way. Yeah that’s not reality. I wish that night could “ just be a blur”. Sure there are parts that seem like maybe they weren’t  as significant as others. But lets be honest, after you find your brother who has taken his own life. Every moment seems significant. 

I still remember rushing my younger brother out of the room so he didn’t see the unspeakable things. I still remember his screams, and his cries of “what ifs”. I remember having to physically yell at him to not follow me back into the room. Because, remember I’m in the medical field. I knew I had to go back in. I remember being a lot calmer than I thought I should be. I can remember having to go outside to call 911 and telling that poor operator that “ you’d think after 4 years in the ER I would have been pre pared for this” but nothing can truly prepare you for THAT moment. I remember telling the 911 operator that I wasn’t going to hang up, but that I needed to get on another phone and call my husband so he could come be with me. I remember the calming effect of even just hearing the sirens had on me. Weird, because I knew he was gone. I knew there was only one outcome of this situation. But I remember standing outside in the rain, in 30 degree weather ( in scrubs) and just side hugging my brother and saying” its ok they are here now’. I don’t really know why that was such a good thing. Maybe because it meant I wasn’t having to be in charge anymore. Maybe because I was able to give up the responsibility of leader to someone else. I didn’t have to be the one making all the calls. 

At one point, about 2:30 am, I called my best friend. She was about 1,000 miles away in Florida. Sound asleep. This girl misses her alarm clock on the regular because she’d sleep through a train going through her room. So I really didn’t expect her to answer. But you know those times when you just need your best friend? This was by far one of those times. So I called, not  really thinking she’d pick up. But she did. In that moment. When I heard her voice that was my less than a minute of hysteria I allowed myself to have. I knew I didn’t have time to break down. Things needed to happen. Things needed to be done. The first responders were there and there were questions and they needed answers. But I just needed those 45 seconds of not controlling what I was feeling, of actually letting what had happened, what I was going through to hit me. It was short lived, I’m not kidding when I say 45 seconds, because almost as soon and my friend picked up and I blurted out what had happened, the police were back needing me again. 

Side note: Get yourself a friend who you can call at 2:30am and word vomit over the phone that your brother had taken his own life and you had just found him and in the next breath tell her you have to go because they police needed you.  Seriously, get you a friend who goes and wakes up her Mom and then they both just sit there and pray for you and wait for you to call back and give more details, because in that moment that’s all they can do.

So that’s the day that changed me and my family forever. Maybe later on I’ll go into more detail about everything, I’ll tell you about the worst phone call I’ve ever had to make: Calling my parents and telling them. I’ll tell you about how the rest of my family found out and the week that lead up to his funeral. But for now I’ll leave you with that. The brief description and look into what a “day that changes everything” looks like. Started off so simply and mundane, and ended in a life changing event that is still rocking our family. So when people say “ always tell the people you love, that you love them”. They're serious and you should listen, because they’re probably saying it because they too have gone through a day that seemed so simple and turned into a nightmare.


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