Suicide of a Sibling

By Karen Kosman:

One who lost his brother shares how suicide of a sibling impacted him.


Image: sattva /

Image: sattva /

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

This story was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors and used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

A Day I’ll Never Forget, by Geoffrey Palmer:

Surrounded by the cresting waves, I wade out into the ocean with mounting anticipation. Then I dive under the water. The ocean underworld has become to me a place of refuge, a place of mystery, a place of beauty, a place to lay aside painful memories. When I scuba dive, my dreams of becoming a marine biologist allow me to focus on my future.

Usually, time in my underwater world passes too quickly, and I need to return to the surface. A small sand shark passes by gracefully. I pause. You’re not a giant, but you’re a fine specimen. I watch it glide off.

Moments later my head breaks through the surface, and I swim to shore. There I take my scuba gear off and head for my car.

Refreshed and feeling at peace, I plan my week. On the drive home I think, Scuba diving is expensive, but I can’t wait to go again, maybe Saturday. Oh, yeah! This is an important week. I’m going to speak at a local high school about Jason’s suicide.

Suddenly, my mind struggles with a nagging fear that’s been eating away at me. For months Mom’s been speaking with a ministry called the “Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention.” She pushes herself so hard that I worry about her getting sick.

I pull into our driveway and park. When I enter the house Mom announces, “Geoffrey, the administrator at the high school you were scheduled to speak at has cancelled. He didn’t want the students thinking that suicide is an option.”

A wave of discouragement washes over me. Then anger surfaces. “That’s stupid! Those students need to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”

“I know, but that’s the way it is for now. We won’t give up.”

I nod, still feeling the weight of my disappointment, then go into my room to dress for school. I have classes at Fullerton College. I don’t want my life to end like Jason’s. I don’t want to hide away in my room and push people away. Life has its problems, but I don’t want to give up. I want others to know that there are answers, and that help does exist.

Quickly, I slip into a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. On my way out I grab my baseball cap that has the black ribbon pin trimmed in gold—a pin representing my grief. A short time later, I pull into my school parking lot, park, and jump out. I head for my chemistry class to redo a lab demo I’d had trouble with.

When others ask me about the pin I tell them. “It means I’m grieving for my brother. Jason shot and killed himself last January. He was my big brother, 11 years older than me, but we had a great time together. We loved sports—played basketball together and roughhoused. I knew he fought depression, but I still can’t believe he did what he did.”

I share my brother’s story to encourage others to ask for help.

My thoughts flash back to the day I’ll never forget—the day news reached me of my brother’s suicide. It had been a typical day with no thought of disaster looming ahead. At work a friend and I were preparing the soccer field for the kids we coached. My cell phone rang and I answered, “Hi, Mom, what’s up?”

I could hardly believe what she told me.

“What happened to Jason? He did what? Okay, okay, I’m on my way.”

My friend saw the look of horror on my face and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“I have to go home. Something’s happened to Jason!”

If I could send my brother a message it would be, “Jason, you are missed.”

Always in my heart will be this question: Jason, why did you do it?

In this YouTube video another young man sings to the brother he lost to suicide. 

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If depressed and suicidal, get help by dialing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline. IF IN IMMEDIATE DANGER of harming yourself or someone else, please call 911.1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or (in Spanish)
1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432).
Our blog, Thinking About Suicide, offers personal stories and prayers from those who have overcome the urge to commit suicide or lost someone to suicide. We also list resources related to depression, bullying, cutting and other mental health related topics or news.
Use our SEARCH box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics. Our authors hope to encourage you and remind you that others in situations like yours have found hope and help. We hope and pray you do too. However, we also encourage you to get local help if you are suicidal: call a counselor or the suicide prevention hotline to connect personally with someone who can help you.

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