Do you ever think that sometimes this earth is just not made for some people? Like, sometimes it is just too fucking much for some people. Some people are just not capable of coping with it all. This person was my brother, Matt. Today is his birthday. I think he would’ve been 41. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, my brother killed himself two years ago. I always knew he would.My brother was without question the cutest baby on earth. I don’t care how cute you think your babies are, my brother was cuter. Big fat roly-poly baby with huge blonde curls, rosy cheeks, sparkly ice blue eyes… Always with a giggly smile on his face. My sister and I were so happy when he was born because it was as if my mother brought home a new baby doll for us. My sister and I ruled that little boy’s life. We dressed him up, we put makeup on him, we bossed him around and hardly ever let him speak because we did all the talking for him.
My little brother and I. He didn't need glasses... I just liked the way he looked in my sister's Mrs. Beasley doll glasses.
From the get-go, my brother was different. He was sweet and kind and loving. He loved the ocean, he loved animals, and he loved to cook. However, he was also a brat. We called him Matt The Brat. He was always getting into trouble, but not purposely. He just never learned the term, “consequences.” My brother did just exactly as he pleased. One would consider him reckless… But in a sweet way.My brother wanted to please everyone. When he was about 10 years old he built a condominium complex out of boxes in our front yard and insisted that all of us basically live in it. He was devastated when the whole family refused to spend the night in it.
My brother tried to rescue every animal that he found, including squirrels. My brother would go to the neighbor’s houses when he was a little boy and pick flowers out of their yard and bring them home to my mother in his little fist with all of the dirt still intact at the roots. My brother went to Catalina Sea Camp for what we thought was a two-week session. He called home and told my parents that he was staying for the entire summer because he was so happy there… In the ocean.
My brother in Aspen with my dogs. My brother loved the dogs so much he just took them.
When my brother got older, his disregard for consequences continued. Bad decision after bad decision after bad decision continually destroyed my brother’s life. My brother always had good intentions and a good heart but just never went through the proper routes. My brother had four beautiful children with a woman that my sister and I, and parents had always hated. She was lazy, manipulative and quite frankly, white trash. Surprisingly, she raised four of the sweetest most angelic children on the face of the earth. My brother loved his children with every inch of his soul. After my brother wised up and finally got a divorce, his lovely wife decided that the best revenge on my brother would be to take his children away. This was the beginning of my brother’s ultimate demise and yes, I partially blame her for his death.
My brother's son, Gabriel.
My brother's son, Aidan.
My brother's son, Noah.
My brother with his daughter, Olivia.
He was a broken man without his children. My brother was not strong enough to battle his ex-wife properly and just took a hit after hit in court. My brother did not see his children for years and years and years. Finally, as my brother’s oldest son turned 18 years old a few years ago, his son reached out and reunited with my brother. I have never seen my brother happier. He was on cloud nine. And then I think I ruined everything. I regret what I said and yet I don’t regret it. My brother was at my house with his son and I took my brother aside and I said something to him that I think did more damage than good. I said to my brother, “Matt, I am so happy that you have your son back but whatever you do, don’t fuck this up.” I saw the light go out in my brother’s eyes. He knew he was under a spotlight and that everyone was watching him. We all wanted my brother to be happy with his children but we knew he was walking on shaky ground. My brother still never learned that his actions had reactions. My sister and I would always lecture my brother on what was acceptable and not acceptable. Letting your seven-year-old son drive a car was not acceptable. Letting your eight-year-old nephew shoot a gun at a rifle range was not acceptable. Selling marijuana as a career was not acceptable.
My brother was always frustrated with a side of depression. My brother had every opportunity to have a wonderful life, which he did and didn’t. He was given the best education yet his ADD got in the way. He was an extremely talented builder but his impatience got in the way. My brother wanted to rescue everyone and everything but he could not rescue himself.
My brother had tried to kill himself numerous times before. I remember dropping him off at my mother’s house in 2005 and saying to him, “Try not to kill yourself today.” He laughed and tried to kill himself a few hours later. I knew my brother needed help but I didn’t know how to help him. Looking back, I wish I would’ve tried harder to help my brother. My brother needed a 24 hour babysitter. No one in my family had the tools to handle my brother. My parents tried to hide all of my brother’s problems from my sister and me. They pretended like nothing was wrong. It would take professional psychiatrists with prescribing privileges to take care of my brother which my parents were not. My sister and I always offered my brother advice but like they say, “You can lead a camel to water, but you cannot make him drink.”
My brother was reunited with his oldest son and I have never seen him happier. However, he did not last very long. You know that phrase, “Too much of a good thing?” I think that’s how my brother felt and he just self-sabotaged the whole thing. My brother was gone within weeks. Somehow my big, strong handsome brother just couldn’t take it anymore and hung himself in his bedroom facing the ocean.
My brother reunited with his son, Noah, exactly one month before he died.
Apparently, I heard through the grapevine that my brother left a letter. I have never read it because my parents have never mentioned it to me. Hell yes, I want to read it. Wouldn’t you?Oh, how did I find out about my brother’s death, you ask? My mother texted the information to me. Yes, she texted it. The text read, “Matt killed himself.” That was it. Instinctually, I burst out crying… For about 15 seconds. And then, suddenly, I stopped crying and I smiled and thought to myself, “Oh my God, my brother is finally safe. God has him and will take care of him. Matt is free from all of his troubles.” I honestly feel like God came to get him and wrapped him in his arms and will allow my brother to do exactly what he wants to do which is fly, save animals and watch over his children.
I knew that this world was not for my brother. This world is too harsh and too mean and too complicated for someone as sweet and pure and innocent as my brother. This may sound strange but I do not miss my brother. I do not miss seeing him in so much pain. This may sound even stranger but I know I will see my brother again… In different circumstances.
I used to sit outside in my little yard in Santa Barbara after my brother passed away and every single day a little hummingbird would fly into the yard and buzz around my wisteria… For a very long time. I knew right away it was my brother and it brought me the greatest peace.What advice do I have? None, really, except that I think it’s important to realize that there are soft souls on this earth ill-equipped to wrestle with the big bad monster called everyday life. My brother liked to eat Cherry Mash candy bars, make his famous fudge, surf, pet animals, hug his children, fly airplanes, laugh, and if your car plunged into an icy lake, my brother would be the first one, without hesitation, to dive in and save you even if he lost his own life doing so.
My brother was always fond of grand gestures. Last night, after midnight, I realized that it was officially February 27th, my brother’s birthday. I looked out my window towards the dark Parisian sky and said out loud, “Matt, just show me a sign. Show me a sign that you are okay.” I waited and waited but nothing happened. This morning I woke up and told my houseguests that my brother did not “come through.” My friends looked at me and said, “Don’t you remember that the power went off in the whole apartment last night?” Oh my God, yes it did. My brother did come through. When the power went off, I was so self-absorbed about my breathing machine and the battery that I didn’t realize what was happening. In a panic last night, I called my husband who is in Los Angeles to tell him that we had no power in the whole building. Today, we looked at the time log on my telephone and it turns out the power went off at exactly 11:59 PM and came back on five minutes later at 12:04 AM… Officially my brother’s birthday. Hold on, it gets weirder, apparently all of Paris had a blackout last night. All over Paris! How about that for a grand gesture!For my brother’s birthday, my mother would make him his special cake. He loved it and we only ate it on his birthday, February 27th. It was an angel food cake filled with jamoca almond fudge ice cream, with chocolate whipping cream icing with toasted almonds. I don’t know the name of it but let’s just call it Matt’s Cake. Make it with love.
My mother emailed me the recipe today… Here it is… I hope it’s not too confusing… My mother has dyslexia. :-)
It is an angel food cake where you take out some out of the middle so you can have more ice cream. I used Jamoca Almond Fudge from Baskin Robbins.Frosting...
1 carton of whipping cream
Nestlé mocha chocolate powder
Put the ice cream in the center of the angel food cake. Pack it down hard. Put in Freezer for a couple of hours or overnight.
Toast the almonds on a cookie sheet in the oven. Try not to burn them!
Whip the cream until stiff. Add a couple of tablespoons of the Nestlé chocolate mocha powder. Add as much as you like. I like for it to be a light chocolate color. Taste it as you add it to get the right taste.
Now take out the cake from the freezer and place on the cake plate that you are going to serve it on. Ice the cake with the mocha whipping cream. I like to really use a lot of it to make it really fluffy. Cover the cake now with the toasted almonds. You need to serve it now or you can put it back in the freezer but it is best to serve as soon as the whipping cream icing is put on the cake and ice cream. You can put the leftover cake back in the freezer...if any left!
Happy birthday "Matthew Robert Daniel Joseph O'Connell"...
Many who attempt suicide never seek professional care.
Over half of all suicides occur in adult men, ages 25-65.
80% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully.
There are an estimated 8 to 25 attempted suicides to 1 completion.
The strongest risk factor for suicide is depression.
Research has shown medications and therapy to be effective suicide prevention.