Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Aunt Sandy

On May 20th, 1993, my aunt chose to take her own life.

She had been an alcoholic for the majority of her adult life. She married alcoholics, and every one abused her. The last one also took his own life, and on the day she died, the police nearly arrested Aunt Sandy for sleeping on his grave with two bottles of gin nearby. My dad picked her up and brought her to the house where she was living with her boyfriend to clean her up and let her sleep it off.

She was living only a few blocks away from our house, so I walked up there after school. My cousin, Kelly, and her boyfriend, Jeff were there, and my stepmom arrived shortly after. My dad left to go to work. Kelly and my stepmom confronted my aunt for trying to drink more, so Aunt Sandy went to lay back down, too drunk and too tired to fight back.

I went to lay down with her. We watched "Donohue," and when I finally thought she was asleep, I said "I'll be right back" and left the room. 5 minutes later, there was a loud pop. Jeff jumped up and said "Oh my God, there's a gun in there." I ran out the door, sure that everyone would be really angry with me for leaving her in there alone. Kelly walked out the door a couple of minutes later and said "Just pray." I told my stepmom that I was going to my friend's house, which was right around the corner. I saw the ambulances flying by, heard the police sirens, and just cried on my friend's couch. My friend wasn't even there. Her grandmother had to go get her.

My dad came to my friend's house about an hour later and said "She didn't make it."

For many years, I thought that everyone was mad at me. I shouldn't have left her alone, I should've actually gone back, maybe I could've stopped her, I should've checked the room to make sure she couldn't hurt herself... It took me probably 5 years to realize that it was not at all my fault - it was all my aunt and her disease.

Alcoholism destroys people, and it destroys their families. If you're noticing a pattern of alcohol abuse in yourself or anyone you know, please contact me at brast_smboo at yahoo.com and I'll put you in contact with someone that can help you. Don't let yourself get to this point. Don't let your loved one get to this point. It can be stopped.


Watercolor said...

hugs sweetie.

Sandi said...

It's hard not to play the blame game and wonder what if ... There's so much more going on there with people who commit suicide that the rest of the world simply cannot understand.
No, it was not your fault your aunt died. That's a hard realization, but I'm glad you know it!

Melinda Barton said...

My heart goes out to you on this horrible anniversary. Go to bed, hug your Man-Nerd and remember that nothing you could have done could have changed the outcome.

I've lost two people to suicide and it sucks. I blamed myself with one for a while b/c I was one of the last people to see him alive. But I've moved past that and I'm glad you did too.

black betty said...

i feel you...more than you know.


HEATHER said...

I am so sorry that you tortured your very young self with such horrible guilt for all of those years. I have lost many family members to suicide, and the guilt over the "what ifs" nearly killed the survivors. In the end none of us has the power to stop someone once they feel they have reached the end of their rope.

From the Doghouse said...

I just lost a close friend recently to suicide. His own wife didn't even know anything was wrong.

I'm really sorry you had to go through that, and also that you had to deal with that guilt for so long.