I live in AZ, and my family lives in NJ. I just happened to be in NJ when my brother died because we were visiting for the holidays. This last few weeks I went back to visit.
It was so much harder than I thought it was going to be.
I hadn't mentally prepared myself for how hard it would be to walk into that house and not get a hug and kiss from my brother.
And now everything is so... different. No one talks about you anymore, Jess. Our dad has put you into that part of his brain where he keeps everything that's too hard to talk about. Buried deep in that painful part that everyone's afraid to touch because who knows how he'll react.
It's been too hard for anyone to go through your stuff, so I got to do that while I was there. Opening the door to your old bedroom and seeing those bags... those bags had to go. They're the last physical thing from that day. I emptied them all onto the bed and began sorting all the stuff you had in your car. I tried to fight the twinge of guilt. You had all this crap in your car because you took it out of your room so I'd have space to stay with the kids. All your clothes, books, hockey stuff, and a shop vac?? So much stuff that the detectives thought you lived in your car. The detectives said when they found your body you had no cell phone or wallet on you. They thought you were probably robbed after you died. I couldn't believe that. I went through every single pocket, emptied out every bag sure I would find your wallet and phone. But I didn't.
Someone robbed you while you were dead or dying.
This is probably commonplace in Newark.
It makes me sick to my stomach.
So many people OD and are brought back by Narcan. I hate to think that someone saw you, and instead of trying to help, calling 911, and possibly being able to save you, they just took your stuff.
All $500 worth of your dog grooming stuff is missing as well.
They left the disc golf stuff, which I took and plan on putting to good use. I'll feel like you're with me when I play.
I miss how stupidly excited you got about stuff. Like disc golf. You were just so enthusiastic about it, it was infectious. I miss that so much. You were like that about everything. Passionate, funny, and infectiously enthusiastic about the most trivial things. I'm so sad for my kids, not having you around. There was never a more fun uncle.
I keep trying to think of how you're still here, but it's hard to have that much faith when it hurts so much. I used to dream about you every night, but I haven't now in months.
Our family is falling apart. Mary seems okay, but I know she's a mess just under the surface. Our mother still cries every single day. And we're just trying to go through the motions of this life, but it will never be the same. I want to do something to keep your memory alive, to share your story, but the grief paralyzes me.
Did you see Billy died the same way? Hope you guys are hanging out together again, while your moms are crying together. His girlfriend had a baby a week after he died. He looks just like Billy. Such a roller coaster for his family, but I can't tell you how jealous I am. They get to have a little part of him, they get to experience the joy of watching a baby grow to help soften their grief. I hate that we'll never get to see a Jesse Jr. There was so much happiness left in the world for your to experience. I know you felt like you couldn't be happy without drugs. That breaks my heart. And I wish I knew how to help other people who feel that same way.
Well, it's been almost 6 months and I don't know what else to say. It still sucks. I have no desire to go back to that very sad house any time soon. You are so missed, Jess. So missed.