When Tragedy Strikes

I felt like it was finally time I wrote a new post on here. The last couple weeks have been hard and not because it’s nearing the end of the summer and I have to get ready to go back for my last year of college. A tragedy struck my family and my world shattered on Saturday, August 9.

Tragedy Strikes

I had to work that Saturday until 3 p.m. I had been home for a little over an hour when the call came. My brother was in a drowning incident.

10534136_10152165724972130_4287114852395520293_nMy 19-year-old brother had gone swimming with friends. They had to call one of their parents because they didn’t have our phone number. We were told that there had been a light pulse when they pulled my brother out of the water and they were rushing him to a rural hospital a 20 to 30 minute drive away from where we lived.

At this point, it was just my parents and I who were home because my 24-year-old brother was at my 26-year-old brother’s house and my 17-year-old brother was in town at a youth event. We tried getting a hold of them but we couldn’t because of the poor cell phone service in the town. We eventually got hold of some family friends using their landline and they could round up my brothers for us.

When we got word that they were taking my 19-year-old brother to the hospital, my parents and I hopped into our vehicle and took off. When we got to the rural hospital, we were told they were actually taking him to a city hospital that was another 20 minute drive away.

While we were on the road, the only thing I could think of was this couldn’t be happening and for God to save him.

Once we finally reached the hospital where they took him, the receptionist asked us a whole bunch of questions that made me think that they were admitting them and they told us that the doctor would update us on his status. I figured this was a good sign because he must still be alive if there was a status to update us on.

When the receptionist was done asking us questions, we were told to wait in a side room for the doctor. I had hope until the doctor came in.

The Horrible, Terrible, Earth-Shattering News

The doctor sat in front of us and didn’t say a word for several moments. My heart sank because I knew that meant there was bad news. Before the doctor said a word, I knew my brother was gone.1998 (4)

“I’m sorry but we lost him. We never had him’

I’m not sure if those were the exact words the doctor used but that’s the gist of what the doctor told us. At least it was the only part that really registered with my brain.

Tears rolled down my tears as reality sunk in. My brother had drowned and was never going to come home again.

After two and a half weeks since receiving the news, I still get very emotional when I think about that day. I now refer to that day as that Saturday. To me it is no longer known as August 9, 2014 but that Saturday when my world was shattered.

Regrets

The week that followed that Saturday various thoughts ran through my head. The most common one was that I had no good stories of my brother.

It seemed that everyone else had stories of him. My other brothers were writing tributes for the funeral and everyone who came by our house seemed to have stories but I had none.

The only stories I had were second-hand stories, told to me by others or stories of him bugging me which I didn’t consider good.

People often talked about his baseball because it was a big part of his life and I felt left out because I had rarely watched his baseball games in the past several years.

Now I regret not going to his hockey and baseball games.

Feeling Alone

I felt left out because I didn’t have any stories but I also felt like I wasn’t getting the support that the rest of my family was.

There was no one really who came to our house after my brother’s passing that came for me. There was people who came for my brothers as well as my parents but not for me.

2013 (2)At first this didn’t bother me because I knew I was a bit of a loner and most of my closest friends were at least a 30 minute to 45 minutes drive away.

I was surprised, however, that my work didn’t give me flowers because I know they are big flower people. (They gave my co-worker flowers when her mother-in-law passed away the next week.) So I was kind of expecting to get flowers from them but they never came.

On the viewing and funeral days, I became depressed and didn’t really want to talk to anyone. After the viewing was when it reached its lowest point.

Lots of people came by the pew we had been sitting on and were hugging and offering their condolences to my family. Over half the people I hugged that evening, I did not know and I may never see again.

Eventually it dwindled down and even though I was still on the same pew with the rest of my family, no one bothered to stop by and talk to me. People were still talking with my brothers and my parents.

I spiraled downward after someone I know asked me if anyone had come to our house for me. They didn’t really mean anything by the question but for me it reinforced that I was alone.

That week was the loneliest days of my life which is saying a lot since I struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for 10 years.

The only thing that started lifting me out of that depression was after the funeral when I looked at the flowers that had been brought to the church and I saw a bouquet from some of my friends who live in a different province.

Writing a Memoir

Before all this happened, I was working on an idea for my next book but has now been put on hold. I will be writing a memoir/biography about my brother instead. It may be a difficult book to write but I’m excited about it. It feels like one way I can write a tribute to my brother, even if I mostly use other people’s stories.

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2 comments on “When Tragedy Strikes

  1. Hi Angela,
    This is the sort of thing where to say anything feels awkward. There just are no words that seem adequate.
    A post you put on Facebook comes to mind. You asked for prayer because you wanted your brother’s death to be an opportunity to reach his friends for Jesus. As sad as I was for you, I was so inspired and impressed by that. Best wishes for your memoir. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  2. Nothing I can say here will seem adequate, but I am very sorry for your loss. The memoir sounds like a lovely way to honor your brother.

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