I didn’t want to write or share my pain & sorrow. But this is what I do, I write. I have always penned my deepest pain, and greatest joys since I am a child, I write to heal. I often wrote poetry. I write what moves me and inspires me. Through this blog, I have shared my life, my family, my dreams and sorrows on this blog. This is what I do and it has always been my therapy and healing. After all, I have been blogging for months about the upcoming birth of our Granddaughter. We breezed through the holidays and celebrated with my siblings and extended family. Our anticipation and excitement and endless prepping for her arrival, kept all of us busy and focused. We had a few celebrations before New Years Eve. Her due date. All of them at my eldest brother Thomas’s home. He hosts all the big holidays, he has 5 kids now, we need a lot of space! So our Beautiful, soft and fierce babygirl Anna Lisa, came into this world, healthy and safe. It truly was instant love. We were so relieved and grateful that she and her mother were doing so well. All our prayers answered. I watched my son from the moment his daughter came into the world, covet, and cuddle and feed and kiss her from the moment she was born. It was a feeling in my heart, my soul, that finally, perhaps we had done something good in this world. My child was holding his. The bond was strong, his Mama was melting, elated. And for one second the world appeared to be happy, joyful, evolving beauty and we are so very blessed. Our new addition gave us a reason to be thankful and humble. She is truly a joy. Everyone who holds her, engages with her says the same thing. This baby is heaven, so soft and petite and delicate and so very calm and peaceful. Amen, praise Jesus for this blessing. She is discovering this world, thriving and being nurtured by two loving parents and many, many cousins and family. She is sunshine and new light every single day. Please continue praying for this baby and our family.
One week later, I received the worst news of our lives. My brother Thomas had taken his life. He ended his beautiful existence on 1/7 in the early morning at my parents gravesite. My brother shot himself with a shotgun in his SUV. We were told, he could not have an open casket. The horror began on that cold winter morning. His wife called me at my office, I remember her telling me, Tom took his life this morning. I said Tom WHO?…The truth was, he did. I can’t even imagine what pain this man was in that day? He drove and went to my parents at our family plot. He needed to go and be comforted and I believe forgiven by my Father and held by our Mother as he left this earth. I will never ever get any of his last days here, I try not to focus on his pain and suffering. He had snapped under life’s pressures and failures. He decided in an instant that living was too painful, he said; he made too many mistakes in his life? He said, he could no longer function; and he let everyone down. My brother suffered a secret depression, rage, and some sort of a total mental breakdown. He told no one, not one person his plan. He hid his pain inside. He didn’t ever ask for help or reach out to one living soul. For the rest of my life on earth, this will haunt me, he wouldn’t ask for help! My brother, he was a gifted, an exceptional person, masters degree, ran a multi million dollar big commercial electrical company. Thomas, to everyone was the quintessential NY big shot. He was a workaholic, from a young age, driven to be a millionaire by 30. My brother, he lived for everyone else, his family, his business, his friends. He had it all, or so we all thought. When his businesses failed, he collapsed. Yes, I noticed a lot of subtle changes, and most recently a very gaunt, physical change in his color and face and eyes. I was with my brother and my entire family on Sunday. His son Thomas jr. US Army Sargeant, was on leave for holidays and just returned from Poland and was awaiting assignment to Korea. He had a big party for his son’s birthday. All his friends and family were there. I noticed again Tom looked sickly, pale and seemed rather quiet or tired? But with his house full, he smiled and socialized. He was drinking, I realized recently, he was never much into hard liquor, a beer occasionally, over the last year, he drank more and more, with his wife who has wined daily. He was addicted to diet pepsi, that was his choice! again, subtle changes, and yes, slowly he was changing. My heartaches, some signs were there and I knew he wasn’t “himself”. I mentioned it to my brothers and husband that over Thanksgiving into Christmas, Tom looked “shot”, exhausted. He had been a mischievious, comedic, smart witty guy, had the room in stitches with his comedy and impersonations. Honestly, over the last few years, those things diminished, and over time disappeared. He spent 20 hours aday, dealing with his business issues, he told no one he was losing it, slowly shutting down, overwhelmed and distraught, he hid most of this from everyone around him. A lot was subtle…no one else noticed, however, I had begun to notice and be concerned. The most difficult part is, I had spent the last 2 months with Thomas, and we hadn’t had a meaningful, connected conversation. I was upset about that, feeling he was distant. Almost like he wasn’t totally present. His daughter said she felt it also. So, after Christmas My brother took his family and friends to ski for 10 days in Mt. Snow, Vermont. He rented a big ski chalet and partied it up. The pictures he shared with me, hell…honest, he looked GREAT! I thought, man this is what he needs, some “me” time, family time. This will be good for him. He skied for almost a week, top form, he recently lost 125 lbs, & had a bariatric sleeve 2 years ago, in honesty, for that week, to me, he looks like the old Tom. I am sad to say, he ended his life one week later, after his son’s birthday party. The kid had just landed in Texas, back to his Fort Hood home base for future assignment. The anguish, pain, worry for my brother’s children is enormous and encompassing. I am keeping close contact with them. What a valuable lesson he taught us in taking his own life. In ending every single dream, his five children and wife, us, his family. We grieve. Our hearts are broken, clearly in shock and anguish over his choice. Our world stopped. It all ceased to exist. The last 10 days have been a blur, nightmare, anguish and the worst tragic death in our entire lives. We are breathing, moving forward not remembering where we are. Where should we go? What should we do? The children, his wife, his entire life is still here. He isn’t. His decision was planned, but somewhat spontaneous. There is no way possible, that the brother I have known for 52 years, was the same man who woke up and said, the world will be better off without me. He was not the Thomas that loved 1000’s of people and took care of everyone, he was someone I didn’t know, and I couldn’t help. When we held his service, almost 1000 people came to pay respects. I have never seen an outpouring of love & support and community, like I saw for my brother. He touched millions of lives, he was well respected and adored by his children, step children are heartbroken and lost. We are all holding each other, supporting one another as best we can. Some of you know, I have had a shitload of loss, both me and my husbands family have suffered many deaths. This one is the most painful, shocking and devastating of all. I called a hotline for grief counseling. I met a wonderful woman named Donna. She came to my home and counseled and helped us after the funeral. Everyone has shared, she helped them a lot with this grief. She has offered to counsel us all again. I went back to work, keeping busy, I know the routine, yet still, it stuns me, how life simply goes “on”, even though he is now gone. We move forward, because there is simply NO going back. We sit in shock and horror at the reality of what has happened. The aftermath….well no one is prepared for any of this, no one. My brother was not prepared, he was just overwhelmed, with every single thought. I grieve for him. I miss him every single moment. I talk to him, the medium said he wants us to talk to him. So I am, my own dialogue, scattered, fragmented thoughts, memories. I can’t bear to stare at him….not yet, but he is beautiful. I wrote a eulogy for him. I wrote it from my heart, for him, for his children, for Thomas. Please, I ask for prayers for his wife and family and our family. We are holding on, but it is so very hard. Blessings & Love. ~leelee