“Place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called purpose. You’re alive for a reason so don’t ever give up”
I could start off by introducing myself, seeing as this is my first blog EVER. To me though, it’s kind of cliché to start off anything with a “Hi my name is…”. This blog isn’t just going to be about me, it’s going to be about you, and what you can hopefully learn when you have unanswered questions following the loss of a loved one to suicide. I promise, I’m someone that can help based on my own personal experience. I hope this gets to the right person at the right time.
I have a pretty close family. Growing up in Baltimore City, my grandparents lived next door to me, my brother and my parents, then just two houses down from theirs, I had my Uncle, my Aunt and my two cousins. From the time my brother and I were born, my grandmother babysat us, and my cousins would come over to play. We all grew up more like siblings. We had our meals together, we played together, we even went to school together. My happiest memories were always with my little brother, Cailean and my little cousins A.j. and Michael. As the years went on, and as we all got older my parents decided to move away from the city, in hopes of my brother and I getting a better education. Today, we all unfortunately regret that decision.
When we first moved out of our little row home in Baltimore, and into a big five bedroom single family home in a little town called Joppatowne, we were excited to be the new kids in school. We were excited about having a big back yard and our own bathroom. We couldn’t wait to make new friends and have our cousins over to see our new home. We were excited to finish growing up in such a beautiful place.
I ended up becoming pretty popular until high school. I had a small group of friends, friends that I can say are still friends of mine over ten years later. Unfortunately for my brother, he fell victim to bullying. I remember him getting suspended from school on a few occasions for fighting, although he acted in self defense. I remember the bullying getting so bad that my parents decided to pull him out of the local public middle school, and put him into a private school. He loved that school, he loved his friends and his teachers there. He loved them all so much he even applied to a private Catholic High School where some of his friends would be going. Once again, after beginning high school, Cailean fell victim to bullying. Bullying so bad that he would come home crying, just wanting to get out. So, my parents decided to take him out of that school, and put him back into a local, public high school. Once he was back in public school, Cailean became pretty popular. He was compassionate, athletic, and very handsome. My brother was finally happy with life.
Now, fast forward to a year after his high school graduation. Cailean still had the same group of friends, they were inseparable. We all even worked for our dad! Now, I’d call that an amazing support system. In July of 2014, late at night I received a phone call from my brother. He was crying. All I could make out that he was saying was that he loved me and he was sorry. I immediately went into panic mode because my happy, successful little brother was no longer that person. I could hear the pain in his voice. Something I would never wish on anyone, not even my worst enemy. I called my parents, anticipating on an answer. Finally, my mom answered the phone and heard the panic in my voice. All I could get out was “go check on Cailean NOW.” I remember staying on the phone as they looked for my brother all over the house, until the reached the basement. I suddenly hear both of my parents panicking. My brother had hanged himself. We were fortunate enough that he was found in time, because he was still alive.
At the time of all of this happening, I was engaged to a man who himself was a survivor of suicide. He lost his very best friend. Someone that he knew for almost his whole life. He was firefighter, so he worked 24 hour shifts. I didn’t want to worry him, so I waited until after he came home from his shift to tell him what had happened to Cailean. Instead of going to bed, he wanted to go see my brother in the hospital with me. Now, if you’re thinking about suicide, just please pay attention to what I am going to say here, because it will hopefully help you see how loved YOU are. When I got to the hospital, my parents and Cailean‘s girlfriend were already there. My fiancé at the time and I went back to the visiting area to see Cailean sitting at a table waiting for us. He smiled so big when he saw us, and hugged me and would not let go. We sat down at the table all together finally, and we began to talk. While talking to him, I couldn’t help but notice the dark bruising around his neck. I wanted to break down and cry right there. I couldn’t help but think of the “what if’s” had I not reached my parents in time. I couldn’t imagine losing my baby brother. I didn’t want to have to imagine that. We talked for awhile until visitor hours were over, and we began heading home. I tried to hold back the tears even then, but I finally just gave in and let everything come to the surface.
Two weeks after the incident, it was Cailean’s 19th birthday. He decided to spend it just by being with his friends and going fishing. What more could a young man ask for? He was happy again.
On the morning of August 18, 2014, I woke up in a weird mood. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. I ignored it, and got ready for work per usual. Once I arrived to work, my dad starts approaching me in a panic and telling me that my brother had a bit of a melt down and took his truck. I calmly told my dad to get into my car, and we would look for him. My dad knew that he was heading home, so we headed in the direction of my parents house. Once we were halfway there, my dad receives a phone call, and it’s from Cailean. I hear my dad tell him “everything’s alright bud, come on back to the shop, and we’ll get some stuff done.” Cailean comes back, and immediately comes to the office just to see me. We talked for awhile and all seemed well. All seemed well, except for the marks I noticed in his face like he had grasped his own face so hard that his nails broke the skin on his cheeks. I immediately knew things still weren’t okay. My dad came into the office, and sat down at his desk just across from mine. I began doing some invoice work, and my dad and my brother began to talk. One moment, things were fine and the next, my brother begins to scream at my father saying “FUCK THIS JOB! FUCK THIS MONEY! FUCK YOU!” And storms out. My father calmly tells me to get some files together for him, and he would take my brother home and come back for the files. They leave, and I start gathering everything my father needs. About a half hour after they had left I receive a call from my brother. I immediately answer, and he begins to yell at me. Before he hung up the phone, the last thing he said to me was that he hated me.
That is the last thing my little brother ever said to me. The last words I would ever hear utter from his mouth. Later that day, I received the phone call from my dad that he had found my brothers body in their basement. I barely remember rushing to the hospital. All I remember is the little sense of hope that they were able to save his life; until the doctor told me that I couldn’t hold him because his body was evidence. I remember yelling at my parents as we sat next to my brothers lifeless body, blaming them for what happened. I only remember the images burned into my mind that I’ll never be able to get rid of for the rest of my life.
My brother was my absolute best friend. He was the one who was supposed to be there once our parents were gone. I’ll never know what my nieces and nephews will look like. I’ll never know who he would be today. All I know is that life isn’t the same without him, and it would be even more beautiful than it already is with him here.
Rest Easy, Cailean Lee Gomez
August 5, 1995- August 18, 2014