Original Link : https://psiloveyou.xyz/no-one-should-die-alone-f963c9679ab7

Death should allow the last goodbye

Ilost my brother to drugs, ten years ago. He was an heroin-addicted all his adult life. He went to detoxification programs a few times, he “got clean” by himself, locked in my parent’s house, sweating, crying in pain, despairing us; we had no idea how to help him. But heroin was always stronger than his will and our love for him. He always went back to her.

I loved my brother deeply. He was six years older than me and he was my protector, a true big brother. He started using drugs very early in life, but he was always clean when he was with me, at least until I was a teenager. Maybe for me or maybe the addiction wasn’t severe back then. Either way, I’m glad I have memories of my “real” brother.

Until heroin stole him for good, my brother was my hero. I was more attached to him than to anybody else, even my parents. I have another brother, three years senior, but we were never close.

My big brother knew first hand the dangers of drugs. Being himself a user, he wanted to protect me from that world. I was about 14 years old when he made read Christiane F. and Flash (both autobiographic books about drugs). He didn’t offer me the books, for me to read whenever. No: he made me read them. At night, we’d talk about the parts I had read; he’d ask me questions and answer mines.

Everybody on our neighboorhood knew I was Luis’s sister. And when I say “everybody” I’m referring to drug-users and sellers. We lived in a nice and safe town, but they marked their presence there, like in any other town, I guess.

My brother had spread the word that no one would ever offer me any kind of drugs, if someone dared, they would regret. His threats worked, I was never approached, unlike my friends that were offered “a very nice thing”, outside school.

My brother’s rule was if I got curious about weed — the only thing I was allowed to be curious about — to go to him. Which I did, when I was 16. I smoke my first joint with my brother and others after that. But don’t get me wrong: I was prohibited to even think about trying anything else. If I smoked joints without him, he had to know with whom I smoked and from who we bought it. In his way, he protected me the best he could.

I grew older, I left my parents house, I got together with (a terrible choice of) a man and I had a son. While my life was moving forward, my brother’s was stagnated. Years went by and the only constant in his life was heroin. He never got divorced from her.

Throughout the years, my brother disappeared from time to time. We spent months with no news from him. Then he would call, sometimes asking to stay at my parent’s house for a couple of weeks, which always ended bad. Living with an addict is an experience I hope I never have to repeat.

On the 20th of June of 2009, I received a phone call from my heartbroken mother saying my brother had died. My big brother was gone.

We haven’t spoken for more than one year, but he was still my beloved brother. The only blood relative I ever felt so so close. I loved him, in spite of every shitty thing he did to me and my parents. The drugs made him do it, but the acts came from him. I forgave him all, long time ago.

My mother informed me where my brother was, it was close to where I worked. I called my partner, he came to pick me up and we went to the address someone had given to my mother.

My brother was living in an abandoned building.

I didn’t have the courage to go inside, I didn’t know what I was going to find, I was afraid I wasn’t strong enough to face it. My partner went inside the building with the paramedics, that arrived shortly after us.

My brother died alone. He was laying in his mattress, with an open book in his hand. He had his glasses on and, accordingly to my partner, he had a peaceful expression. Apparently, death was merciful.

But my brother died alone.

His death wasn’t a surprise for us. He was 42 years old, drug-addict for more than 25, HIV positive for more than 15 and living in the streets for more than 5. We were expecting this phonecall for a long time.

The hardest part of grieving my brother is the fact he died alone.

Even if it was a peaceful death, he had no one to give him a hand, I don’t know when he last heard “I love you.” Was he hugged recently, was all his life about drugs?

I have a bit of comfort knowing he was reading, it’s a vivid memory I have of him, always reading a newspaper or a book. He died doing something he loved.

My brother died alone and for that, I am very sad. No one should die without a last goodbye, without having a meaningful person nearby.

I’m not referring to the act of dying itself. As unpredictable as it is, it’s hard to guarantee we won’t die alone. I’m talking about dying alone in life, having no one by your side on your the last phase.

My brother died apart from me, from my father and from my mother. My brother didn’t see his daughter growing up nor had a loving wife by his side.

My brother lived for heroin, and he died for her. He died alone, and that breaks my heart.