On Grief and Dying

Updated on January 29, 2020
ShyeAnne profile image

ShyeAnne lives on beautiful Vancouver Island off the west coast of British Columbia, Canada.

My Brother Sam
My Brother Sam | Source

My Brother Sam

My brother Sam was a chronic alcoholic and he would often retreat behind his closed door for days and weeks to drink away the sorrows of his life. He died this month on January 04, 2020. We didn't find out he passed away until January 11th. A kind neighbor went to check on him and although he looked like he was sleeping peacefully, according to the coroner's report, he had died a week before on January 04th. The only small silver lining to his death falling on that day was it was the same day in 2012 that the mother of his only child passed away. She was also an addict and took her own despairing life. Like the plot of a tragic, cosmic love affair, she came to guide him into the Faraway.


'Fixing' the Addict

Fixing an addict is absolutely impossible if they are not on board to fix themselves. We found our brother on the streets of Calgary at the end of 2012. We had a happy family event happen and we wanted him to share in the joy. He made his way to BC and we had a few good months with him. Sam went into a detox facility followed by a stay in a recovery center then into a safe living complex. For about six months he enjoyed an alcohol free life. Pressures of an unresolved past fraught with painful memories, Sam returned to drinking. He managed to buy himself a little travel trailer before his finances went down the toilet. It was in that little trailer that my brother Sam would spend the rest of his life. He spent 7 years in that little trailer systematically drinking himself to death trying to quell the pain of his life.



I visited with my brother Sam every month or two. If he knew I was coming he always made an effort to clean himself and his little travel trailer that he lived in, up. The last year or so he was alive he often wasn't able to pull himself out of his dark hole. I would knock on his door to find him on his couch, often crying and apologetic that that's the best he could do it that moment.

How I wish I could have found the courage to just scoop him up and bring him home and fix him.

Hearing of His Death

Hearing my brother Sam died is one of the very hardest things I have heard in my life time. My Brother Sam was driving a vehicle with my cousin Mark in 1987. They were in a crash and my cousin Mark died.

After the shock and pain of Mark's passing was processed, accepted and settled in, the family forgave Sam.

Although Mark's family forgave him he never forgave himself. My brother Sam recovered from his physical injury and spent a short time incarcerated due to the circumstances of the crash, but he was never able to forgive himself.

My brother Sam spent the rest of his life struggling to accept that he was responsible for his cousin's death, a huge cross to bear.

When I heard of Sam's passing, I was immediately just a tiny bit grateful that he would not have to carry that load anymore.

Sam | Source

Aside From the Gratefulness..

Aside from that small feeling of gratefulness I mostly feel just so profoundly sad that my little brother chose such a hard road with such a sad ending. Dying alone in a rickety old travel trailer is likely not a hot item on most people's bucket lists. When a person chooses that to be their lot in life there is nothing anyone can do to change it. The desire for change needs to come from within and Sam did not have that. Sam had no desire to stop quenching his thirst for self hate.

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"The only thing my brother Sam did not care about was himself."

For My Brother Sam

Remembering Sam

My brother Sam was kind and sweet. His sense of humor was lightening quick and spot on. He could make anything seem funny. He is likely out in the Faraway right now, cracking jokes about this planet, how messed up it is/we all are.

My brother Sam cared deeply for family, for friends, for all people places and things.

The only thing my brother Sam did not care about was himself.

He literally died from self loathing.

I am truly grateful my brother Sam is Resting in Peace.

If anyone deserves to be in the arms of angels, it is my brother Sam.

"I Miss My Brother Sam"

© 2020 ShyeAnne


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    • ShyeAnne profile imageAUTHOR


      7 months ago from Deep Bay, British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you Eric Dierker, it is indeed complicated stuff. Heart-breakingly complicated.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      7 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Complicated stuff. The odds are just stacked against such a good man making it through. A prayer out to all who still suffer.


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