The weeks leading up to my brother-in-law taking his own life were strange to say the least. In that time my husband had a premonition-like dream about his brother. And then the very next day my brother-in-law called him. They had not spoken in months. Shortly after that Tim and his brother were able to see each other and reconcile differences and hang out. Exactly a week later, he was gone.
I am thankful that my husband and his brother were able to be together in person before we were awaken in the middle of the night by a phone call from my mother-in-law. Another strange part? After I did not get to the phone in time to answer it and she left a message, I could hear it in her voice. I knew my BIL was gone. I cannot tell you exactly how, but in that moment I felt it and I knew it.
I have mentioned before that Brian and I were not very close. I hardly knew him in the knowing-what-was-in-his-heart sense. What I know now is that he was in a much worse place than any of us could fathom.
In the wake of the death of Robin Williams I am angry. No, my brother-in-law was not a famous actor. No one in Hollywood knew his name. No he did not make profound statements in regards to mental illness and no his face was not recognized by millions.
BUT. He was ours and he was a huge part of his community in Dallas and he was brilliant in his own right. He had so much to offer in his own way. With his own talents and wit and the love that he did know how to show.
I was on Facebook and then Twitter in the early evening when word began to spread like wildfire about Williams’ death. I saw so many tweets and even wrote one of my own. SO many posts on Facebook about a brillant man, an amazing soul gone too soon. And then I got a little bitter and thought, “Don’t they know about my BIL??? I wish SO many people could understand how amazing he was too. No, he wasn’t famous but he was worth it. His LIFE was worth it. And is he also gone way too soon.”
I wanted to shout it from the rooftops that this happens to people EVERY day. That this mean, shitty thing called depression takes lives EVERY day. And why are we sitting back silent until it happens to someone famous? Why aren’t we doing more? And I do believe more should be done, I do.
But I also think this: We can never truly know what is going on in the heart and mind of another person. We cannot know their own depth of despair. ALL we can do is be there for them, try to make sure they get the help they need. But no matter how famous, how rich or how “okay” they may appear, we just cannot truly know.
Obviously Robin Williams was in so much pain that he saw no other way out. I believe that is what happened to my BIL too. He just wanted it to STOP. Even though I could never fathom taking my own life, I get wanting the pain to be GONE. I do.
What I DO NOT get is the criticism. Claims that suicide is “selfish” and that people can easily get over severe depression and even addiction. Again, you have not walked in this person’s shoes. And why, when so many are hurting afterward do people feel the need to say things like that? It only adds to the hurt. Perhaps it is a bit selfish to take yourself out of the game of life but I do selfish things every day. Someone who takes their own life is not in their right mind. And no, they probably were NOT thinking about YOU when all they wanted was to put an end to their despair.
Is what happened last week terribly tragic? Of course. And so is was happened the first week in June, to someone I cared about. To someone in MY family. Both losses are painful and made me scared and left wondering why. Both human beings have changed the lives of those around them forever. ALL the losses that happen for this reason are equally devastating and needless.
I just really want everyone to know how the loss of my BIL is just as important. That every single human being who takes their own life is just as meaningful. And oh how I wish we could have made them see how worth it they really were. How sticking around could have been better.
RIP Brian Alguire
RIP Robin Williams
RIP ALL the others we have lost…
If you or someone you love needs help… National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255