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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2008
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    Greeley, Colorado
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    Default Suicide. Survivor's guilt??

    My uncle recently committed suicide. Well, the COD is still "undetermined" as per the medical examiner but we all know it was suicide. He was just shy of his 60th birthday and OD'd.

    Now I didn't really know my uncle. He struggled with addiction for all of his life. My parents shielded me from that when I was a kid until we moved 7 states away. The only time he ever called was to ask for money. My mom had to get harsh with him several times. Both my mom and my aunt tried to get him help repeatedly but it never worked. My mom passed away almost 3 years ago. My family lied to him that we had cancelled the memorial service because the thought of him coming and trying to leech off my dad during his time of grief drove him to panic attacks. My cousin just got married 2 weeks before his death. He was intentionally not invited.

    Even though I didn't know him, I feel horribly guilty for what my family did to exclude him during his last few years. I know they did it in the best interest of the family as a whole, but I can't shake the feeling that he died completely alone. He actually called my Dad to apologize for everything he'd done over the years just 2 days before he died. How do I shake this feeling? I know that he was a troubled man but it just eats me inside.

    RIP Uncle Kevin. I'm sure my Mom has found him and is showing him around heaven
    **Friend of bar.ka**

    Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
    My equine soulmate



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2012
    Location
    gulf coast
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    1,336

    Default

    So Sorry For Your Loss. Most people stuggling with addiction have underlying mental health issues that they should seek treatment for. Instead many choose to self medicate. Your family did the best they could by not enabling his disease.
    Keep in mind that a little reflection is healthy, but focus also on some positive aspect of his life, or think of him happy, and at peace in heaven at last. Free of what ever demons plagued him.
    To wallow in guilt keeps the unpleasent memories of your Uncle fresh in every one's minds. Make the effort to let go of the past, and if it helps contribute, in his memmory, to those in your comunity dealing with simmilar issues. Peace.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2010
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    7,420

    Default

    I have some issues with my family that have similarities. Unless your family is really off, he must have been pretty horrible for a long period of time. The choice to cut someone out is not a light one, so imagine what he did to them.

    You have nothing onto feel guilty about, and I'm betting if you really knew what your family had to go through because of him, they are probably saints to have put up with m as long as they did, and have no reason to feel guilty.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    6,506

    Default

    My best friends brother overdosed as well and it was believed to be intentional. He was a recovering addict who was clean for 14 years, started using again and could not get it back under control. I brought him to the hospital and had him checked in, he checked himself out and was found dead that night in my friends basement where he had been sleeping before going into the hospital

    I loved him to death. like a brother. Closer than my own brothers. That being said, when he was using, the behaviors were extremely difficult to deal with. When I went to see him the day he called me because he was feeling suicidal, when I pulled in the driveway, he was meeting a dealer to swap his sisters stereo (she was not home) for heroin. He had called me to ask me if he could come over and I told him no because I knew he would steal from me and sure enough when I got there he was stealing from his sister.

    He raised his son to 13 after fighting for custody (sadly he was by far the better parent so this kid did not win the parental lottery) but then proceeded to expose him to a codependent lifestyle of covering for dad so that the world would not know. It is very sad because this guy loved this kid more than anything and he really did the best he could but it really was not enough. His son is now living the trauma in his early 20's - drifting, lost drinking and experimenting with drugs.

    So, in the end I think you need to look at it this way. Addiction is such a painful business - you can love an addict but need to make healthy choices for your family and your parents made those choices for you to not have him in your lives. You can rest assured that this is as painful for your dad as it is for you as evidenced by the anxiety caused likely by years of anguish and stress this uncle carried into the family.

    Your uncle had a long road I'm sure, whichever way he chose to fight his addiction and he finally ran out of the will to continue. He had choices all along the way to get help and up until some point he had a choice to try and make amends and repair relationships - even if that time was long ago. He eventually taught your family members that he was not going to change and they distanced themselves. That was the healthy if painful thing for them to do. So, he made his bed so to speak.

    I felt so guilty after my friend died because I (and my best friend and her family) all went through all the 'what if's but in the end I came to the realization that he had a stinkin' illness and he just could not fight it. It just got the best of him and none of us could save him because he simply did not want to be saved.

    I'm sorry about you uncle.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2008
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    Greeley, Colorado
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    Default

    Thank you for your stories and support. It really means a lot.

    His problems started way back when he was in high school. My mom's family was a little dysfunctional with a bi-polar, hoarder mother and a borderline abusive and distant father. My aunt and mom turned out ok but I guess uncle Kevin didn't handle it as well. My parents told me stories of the cops coming to the house at least once a week when they were in HS looking for him. My aunt said when the police came to her house to tell her, she immediately knew he was gone. She said that it had been a long time coming unfortunately

    Please send positive thoughts and jingles to my Aunt Janet. She had a very hard time coping with my Mom's death and now she's lost her only surviving direct family member. On top of that, she had some pretty serious neck surgery today. She's doing ok, but she definitely needs a lot of support right now.
    **Friend of bar.ka**

    Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
    My equine soulmate



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 28, 2003
    Location
    Hollywood, but not the one where they have the Oscars!
    Posts
    8,334

    Default

    often men get the worst of it because of the XY...so the crazy from mom has no buffer so to speak. It is why I chose to not have children. My uncle was paranoid schizophrenic and bi polar.
    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
    carolprudm



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2010
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    2,023

    Default

    You might find a suicide survivors' support group or even Al-Anon to be really helpful. I think your feelings are completely understandable - and you may find the burden easier to bear if you talk to others who have been there. Some short term counseling might help too, or take a look at your local library or Amazon for books about being a suicide survivor or a family member of an addict.

    It's a sad sad thing when a family has to cut someone off because the person doesn't want to help him or her self, or is so deeply in the grip of addiction that they can't function at all normally.

    Hugs, hugs, hugs, and I hope you take some time to take care of yourself.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2007
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    785

    Default

    I'm sorry for your loss...but guilt has no place in your life. He made his own choices thru out his life . I am sure there was a lot of pain in your family before the exclusions. Sometimes we have to eliminate the bad in our lives.

    I have a friend who stayed with her suicidal husband for many years because she "wouldn't be able to forgive herself if he actually did kill himself". Finally after more than a year of counseling she told the therapist ( she' protected' him that long in her counseling). The therapist told her she'd be sorry too but that it was out of her and my friend's control. Wow, if the therapist couldn't control the situation, how could my friend? That and another psychologist telling her about the same, gave her the freedom to leave. Guess what? he didn't kill himself. Eventually he found a woman ( whose husband HAD committed suicide) and married her. They have been married for 20+ yrs.

    My friend regrets the 15+ yrs she sacrificed her own wishes and goals 'to keep him alive'. She had kept his secret...no one else knew...but in the end was it good for either of them? I believe the stress contributed to her getting cancer. Fortunately there were no children .



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 25, 2004
    Location
    Carolinas
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    5,344

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Beentheredonethat View Post
    I have some issues with my family that have similarities. Unless your family is really off, he must have been pretty horrible for a long period of time. The choice to cut someone out is not a light one, so imagine what he did to them.

    You have nothing onto feel guilty about, and I'm betting if you really knew what your family had to go through because of him, they are probably saints to have put up with m as long as they did, and have no reason to feel guilty.
    BTDT is correct. Living with an addict is draining at best, destructive at worse. The hardest lesson for all of us to learn is that the majority of addicts chose to continue to abuse drugs and/or alcohol. They have to chose to stop, their choice, not ours.
    I am sorry to hear of your family's history and pain. It appears they shielded you well. Love and respect them for their love and concern for you.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2005
    Posts
    1,076

    Default

    Just three weeks ago after serving TWO tours in iraqu my 27 yr old Marine cousin took his life. He had PTSD was a housekeeper at a vetrans hospital and get this was on a waiting list through the military to see someone to get help and he worked at a vetrans hospital.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 25, 2004
    Location
    Carolinas
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gdolapp View Post
    Just three weeks ago after serving TWO tours in iraqu my 27 yr old Marine cousin took his life. He had PTSD was a housekeeper at a vetrans hospital and get this was on a waiting list through the military to see someone to get help and he worked at a vetrans hospital.
    Condolences to you and your family. Unfortunately this is SOP with the VA.

    My eldest brother, also PTSD from Vietnam, has made his life mission to help other vets, young and old, navigate the VA programs. So far he has helped some 100+ vets.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2002
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    5,770

    Default

    http://www.afsp.org/ is filled with survivors of suicide ... survivors being those left behind as well as those who "failed" to finalize.

    Chapters everywhere and warm, wonderful people who are open about sharing their loss, the affects on their lives, and helping each other as they help educate and promote awareness about the many aspects of suicide.
    *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=



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