One hour. I believe one hour was all it took for my brother to decide to take his own life. They had just had a wonderful Christmas. He and his wife had talked that morning about plans for the future, including their upcoming move to be closer to family in a few months. My brother had so many things that brought him joy. The biggest being his beautiful wife and daughter. He was madly in love with them both. He would gush about them so much on Facebook that his siblings would tease him for it. My brother was a good person, a loving father, and devote husband. He had a strong testimony of the gospel and loved his time serving a full-time mission and sharing that love for the gospel with others. He worked hard to get a degree in fire science and worked as a firefighter and paramedic. My brother helped so many.
They say to watch for the signs of suicide, but what about when there aren’t any? Depression, sleeplessness, giving away prized possessions, saying goodbyes… There was none of that? I mean sure, he was homesick. They were living in West Virginia far away from our family in Utah. He did have some sleepless nights… Who doesn’t? He was a young father who was struggling to provide for his family, but they were making ends meet.
My brother had always been impulsive. Always. It was the one thing as twins that we were complete opposites in. I’ve been cautious and a worrier my entire life. But not BJ. He was a fly by the seat of your pants guy. It was one of the things that I loved most about him. Once he got something in his mind, he was immediately working hard to make it happen. But it was also something that got him in trouble sometimes. On December 26th, 2014 I believe he made the impulsive decision to end his life. He saw an unloaded gun, and something snapped. He tucked his beautiful daughter in for bed, kissed his wife, and walked outside around the house and took his life. Impulsive suicide. I didn’t even know that was a thing? And yet as I’ve looked further into it, I’ve found that many suicides are impulsive. Some being only a few minutes before, and many being only one hour before. Most that are unsuccessful have said they immediately regretted it.
So many times I have asked myself why this had to happen. Why wasn’t anyone prompted to intervene? To go out and check on him? If he was in crisis, why didn’t he call me? Why wasn’t I prompted to call him? We talked about everything. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t tell me. He knew that right? For a long time I asked myself these questions, and I won’t know the answers until I can ask him myself. But this I do know, I did everything I could have. We talked often and about everything. Life’s joys and trials. Several times a week. And he knew I loved him.
It has been 625 days since I’ve heard his voice. Six hundred and twenty-five days of pure grief since my brother left. I went from enjoying my life to feeling like each day is a day to get through. I read my scriptures and pray. I exercise. I also take depression medicine and am in therapy. I try to be a good wife and mother to my 4 kids. Sometimes I am, and sometimes I fail miserably. My life is so much harder than it ever used to be. But in those moments of pure grief I try to remind myself that I did everything I could have and he knew I loved him. At the end of each day, I have to remind myself that Heavenly Father has a plan, and I trust that plan. I have felt the support of angels literally carrying me when I felt I could not go on, and the still small voice whispering all is well.