April 6, 2022

Hoping For The Best

Death can be something that can unite or separate families. It’s not natural for parents to lose their children, but what happens to the other siblings that are still on this Earth? Surviving the death of a sibling is not easy, every step of the...

Death can be something that can unite or separate families. It’s not natural for parents to lose their children, but what happens to the other siblings that are still on this Earth?

Surviving the death of a sibling is not easy, every step of the journey is painful. On top of that pain, the siblings have to deal with so many other situations. Reality begins to hit and everything starts to feel real. You feel lonely, even if you’re surrounded by a sea of people. 

In this week's episode, I am sharing about when reality hit me, being abandoned by my family, and my mother’s relationship with her boyfriend.

In this episode I’m covering:

  • Returning from the hospital [00:01:04]
  • Efforts of trying to lift everyone's spirit [00:04:15]
  • My mother and her boyfriend  [00:06:30]
  • Walking to my father’s hotel [00:09:45]
  • Sleeping for the first time in days [00:15:00]
  • The story of how I got my dog, Scarlett [00:15:15]
  • Waking up to a party in my living room [00:19:15]
  • The chaotic Thanksgiving dinner [00:29:15]
  • Feeling abandoned by my family [00:32:00]

For full episode show notes and transcript, click here


Connect with Maya 

Instagram | @survivingsiblingspodcast | @mayaroffler 

TikTok | @survivingsiblingspodcast

Twitter | @survivingsibpod

Website | The Surviving Siblings


[00:00:00] welcome to the surviving siblings podcast. I'm your host Maya Roffler as a surviving sibling myself. I knew that [00:00:15] I wanted to share my story. My brother's story. I lost my brother to a homicide in November, 2016. And after going through this experience, I knew that I wanted to share my story [00:00:30] and his story.

[00:00:31] And it's taken me quite some time to come to the mic to tell it, but I knew it was an important one to tell. So here I am to share his story and mine with you. And it's important that I [00:00:45] tell the story of the surviving sibling, the forgotten Warner, the story that is not told enough. So thank you for coming with me on this journey and thank you for listening to my story.[00:01:00] 

[00:01:04] After returning home from the hospital, I felt so lost after dropping my father off of the hotel and returning home with my mother and [00:01:15] her boyfriend and my youngest sister and her husband. I had this condo in the city and my house was full and my heart was just empty. And. I knew I was sleep deprived.[00:01:30] 

[00:01:31] And I guess, unless you've really gone through this, it's difficult to understand and completely, or definitely can't describe it. But the best way to describe when I was going through at that, at that [00:01:45] moment was. I felt so many different things. I felt sad and confused and lost and devastated. And just so alone, even though I was surrounded physically by people, I [00:02:00] felt alone.

[00:02:01] And at the same time, I felt nothing at all. I felt so numb. And I think there was this thing in my head, I was just kind of stuck in me and in my soul that if I went to [00:02:15] sleep, it made this so much more real. And that was really a theme that carried throughout during my time in the hospital with my brother too, and losing him and having to walk away.

[00:02:26] And I felt like if I went to sleep, it was going to become even [00:02:30] more. And now I would have to sleep away from his physical body for the first time, since I discovered this news and saw him and saw him pass essentially and left the room and it would just make it too real. And, and looking back on [00:02:45] it years later, that does make sense to me.

[00:02:48] I can understand. why, I would think that or why I would feel that way, but in the, in the moment it's like you're fighting these two different sides where you're numb and you're coping, and then you're [00:03:00] also just kind of lost or just so lost in all these emotions. And you don't even know what you should be feeling.

[00:03:06] And I remember everyone needed to rest, but we needed to lift our spirits. And I, I almost feel like [00:03:15] if you believe in this, maybe, maybe you can relate, but I almost feel like my brother was kind of. Through me, or he was with me at this time because he was really a jokester and kind of the comedian of the [00:03:30] family and also kind of the gossiper of the family, which we'll talk about throughout this podcast.

[00:03:35] But I remember putting together kind of like. If you watch the show parks and rec like, no, your boo, but together this, [00:03:45] uh, show, but like game show. So my mother and her boyfriend and my sister and her husband could play this in my living room and we could all have like a little drink and kind of just loosen the tension up a little [00:04:00] bit or sadness or make light of this.

[00:04:02] And I think, and of course not light of the loss. Just how heavy the whole situation was. And also it was really uncomfortable being around my mother and her [00:04:15] boyfriend. Uh, his name is George and it was just odd and I really wanted to. Just ha I think have a little fun. And that was definitely my brother.

[00:04:25] That's definitely how my brother would have dealt with the situation. Again, looking back on that now I [00:04:30] realized like, oh wow. Cause that's not always how I would've dealt with something. I would've probably wanted to stay up and talk or just kind of be alone and deal with it in a different way. I realized now I wanted to talk to my dad, but [00:04:45] I did this game show and it was interesting because that's when a lot of this.

[00:04:50] Stuff came out about my mother and George, because my sister and her husband, my youngest sister, they got married quite [00:05:00] young. She was just barely 19. And he was quite young to. Around the same age, if not the same age. And we were all very concerned about that. I supported her though. I did, and I hope she still feels that way to this day, but I was still [00:05:15] concerned.

[00:05:15] There was no way in my life. If I had married the guy that I was with at 19, that we would have made it or still be together. It was a very toxic relationship that I was in, but I'm also old enough now to realize and was at the time. And she went [00:05:30] through that. Situation that everybody's different and everybody's situation is very different.

[00:05:35] And I actually, as I've spoken about already on the podcast, I actually very much like her husband. I think he's a good, good man. So it was [00:05:45] interesting though, as we got this know your boo or like, you know, newly wed kind of game. Started because they crushed it. My sister and her husband, and they could still be considered newlyweds in my opinion.

[00:05:57] I think, I think that was the same year [00:06:00] they got married. I don't know. It's it's so crazy how time flies. So yeah, they were still newlyweds. I think that's why I thought of doing this game and my mother and her boyfriend, again, there was a lot of uncertainty about what this relationship. Actually was, [00:06:15] but I want it to come from a good place and have fun.

[00:06:17] And this guy had, had been there. George had been there in the hospital and. I had had a moment with him in the hospital where he was kind of talking to me and calming me down. [00:06:30] And I couldn't really read this guy. I couldn't really figure it out. And my mother had told me stories and I had been privy to some phone calls in the past, which had strained our relationship of toxicity in their relationship from what I heard.

[00:06:44] [00:06:45] But. I didn't know him. And so all I knew was that he was there. And when people are there during a difficult time, I think you give them a shot. You give them a chance. And so this is making me emotional talking about this. I don't know. [00:07:00] But I think it is really important when you have people that are there.

[00:07:03] You give them, you give them a shot. And so we were playing this game, but it was enlightening because my mother and George did not. Answer each other's questions. They didn't know, which was interesting to me because I [00:07:15] think they had been living together on an off, and it was pretty much the. Red flag. I mean, some of these, you know, the murmurings in the hospital that they weren't really together or there was confusion about the relationship.

[00:07:28] And I wasn't really [00:07:30] focused on that at the time I was focused on my brother and just being there as long as I could be with him. But when you're getting back into a situation where you're removed from that scene, you can start to look at what's happening in the [00:07:45] ecosystem of the loss and. I was really surprised by this because you know, a young newlywed couple, 19, 20 year old them struggling with some questions.

[00:07:58] I mean, that's going to happen. I mean, I [00:08:00] think my husband and I might even do that and we've been married for a couple of years now and I'm in my thirties and he's going to be 40. And so. I look at that now back. And I go, wow, that was kind of telling because when you're older and you're [00:08:15] in a relationship you're just more open and you just know yourself better.

[00:08:19] And my husband and I know each other very, very well. And so I was very blown away by that. And it was one of the first things that just told me something's not right here, but I [00:08:30] am glad that we did that. And it kind of lifted everyone's spirits. And my mother and George went and slept in the master, which was my room, of course.

[00:08:38] And my sister and her husband slept with their sweet little dog in my [00:08:45] spare bedroom slash my Hafez. And because I lived in the city, I didn't have a huge, huge home at the time. And I sat on the couch all night and I just stared not really sure what I did. I just kind of stared at the [00:09:00] time and it was already quite late when we had returned home and then we played this game.

[00:09:04] So everyone went to bed very, very late. And I think I just waited for an appropriate time to leave the home, to get out of there because I, I needed to [00:09:15] be with someone I needed to be alone. I. I didn't know what I needed it needed. I just didn't. And I think it's important to know as someone that's lost a sibling myself, and if you're listening to this and [00:09:30] you've lost a sibling, I'm assuming you have, or, you know, someone like you don't always know what you need right away.

[00:09:35] And this is for loss in general. You don't know. And I literally was so lost. I went and got lost. I left the home at like five 30, between five 30 and six, [00:09:45] three, from what I recall. And I just started walking. And I started walking and I walked to my father's hotel, which was the Hilton downtown in Atlanta.

[00:09:55] So now you guys can stalk me, you know, where I live, [00:10:00] bring some levity to this. And I was just walking. It wasn't too, too far of a walk, but it was cold. And, uh, George's interesting Atlanta too, because November you can be wearing a t-shirt and it can be super hot or it can be super cold. Can [00:10:15] we actually be winter?

[00:10:16] And it was cold. And I remember. This beautiful fur kind of coat, black coat that I have and walking the streets in the morning and I got to his hotel and I went up and we had breakfast in the room together and we were [00:10:30] just talking, I think I may have even had like a mimosa or something and just talked.

[00:10:35] And that conversation in that room with him, it was really comforting. I remember him telling me some things and then some things I don't remember, because I [00:10:45] remember the exhaustion. Finally hitting me finally hitting me in the sense that like I was getting tired and I think it was because I started to feel some kind of company.

[00:10:57] And maybe you can relate to this, but [00:11:00] I think when you feel like you can rest a little bit is when you feel like there's some comfort or some solace or something there. And I started to feel that, I mean, did I eat much? No, I think I ate like a couple of strawberries or pineapples or something. Cause it was just [00:11:15] not there.

[00:11:15] But I remember my father telling me that you're exhausted. You need to rest. That was a big part of the conversation. Whoever did this to your brother. Which we, we saw pictures of the sky. Like we knew who it was. We didn't [00:11:30] know him, but he said, look, you know, regardless because I was kind of on a warpath already, I wanted this guy to pay already, starting down the path of revenge already.

[00:11:40] And I hadn't even gotten a wink of sleep. That's me adamant. I'm an intense person. And I just [00:11:45] love that. And my father was telling me, look, this guy has to live with this for the rest of his life, what he did, regardless of what happened. And at the time it would get me fired up because I was like, no, dad, you got to understand, he's got to pay for this.

[00:11:59] And we were [00:12:00] able to come to kind of terms at the time of just respecting each other's perspective. And I didn't realize that was my dad's way of coping in the moment. And I didn't realize at the time that that didn't mean that he wasn't. [00:12:15] Going to care about, about it. I, I think I had this big fear and it was legitimate that everyone was just going to not care.

[00:12:24] And this was just going to go, quote unquote, go away and it wasn't going to go away. It wasn't going [00:12:30] anywhere. This was so real. This happened. We lost. Someone, we lost someone that was so important. I lost my only brother. He lost his only son. So it became very emotional. And I remember him telling me, I'm going to walk you back.[00:12:45] 

[00:12:45] You need to rest. And I agreed to it. I agreed to it. I felt like it was a good place. You know, it was very emotional. And so we walked back in. I remember my dad doesn't have the best health choices in the world. He definitely likes to [00:13:00] drink some, some good a Y and he likes to go to gin and tonic, but his, his biggest vice is definitely smoking.

[00:13:07] He's European is smoked. I don't even know how long but instill does. I wish he had. And so we stepped outside of the [00:13:15] hotel and I kind of put my hand out as he was smoking. And he's like, no, I'm not going to give you this prep. He said, obviously, another choice word. And I said, no. I said, I don't care. Come on.

[00:13:27] I lost. Let's have a cigarette together [00:13:30] and he's was not thrilled about it, but we did like, and so we walked back and we smoked together. We had, we had together in New York in the past, and it's a funny memory too, because I remember telling [00:13:45] him that I had quit smoking years and years and years ago, I quit smoking when I was.

[00:13:50] 2021. But I started smoking because I used to take his cigarettes and I was like 13 and stuff. And so I kind of was telling him these stories as we were walking. I think I had told him [00:14:00] some of it before in New York. And it was kind of bringing again some levity to the conversation. And I remember him saying, oh crap.

[00:14:09] And he's using choice words. Not that realizing that he had done this a little bit, but it was. [00:14:15] Solemn walk, but also there were these moments of light and the sun came out and it was cold, but the sun came out and he kind of just kept talking to me. He kept talking to me about how to move forward. And again, with every step I started [00:14:30] to feel like I was sinking in to my exhaust.

[00:14:33] I was sinking into a release a little bit. Like it was okay for me to let go of the control that I was trying to hold on to. And that's something that's challenging for me to do. It's something that I've grown a [00:14:45] lot with in the past five plus years. So by the time we returned to the condo, everybody was starting to get up or wake up and it was getting closer to like a brunch time at that time.

[00:14:57] And my father. [00:15:00] Literally put me to bed. He was like, get in the bed. Cause everyone had woken up so I could get in the master. And all I wanted to do at that time is I wanted to be with my dog and wanted my little Scarlet. And I, I knew why I started to [00:15:15] realize why. I mean, one, I love dogs. I've always loved animals.

[00:15:19] They're comforting. I think they are wonderful, wonderful creatures that sometimes we just don't deserve as humans, but Scarlet. Really significant between my [00:15:30] brother and I, because when I got her in October of 2012, my brother actually came with me to go get her. And she was in this random area. Southern Georgia that I had never [00:15:45] been to kind of like the middle of Southern Georgia.

[00:15:47] I don't mean to east side, west side. I went to school at Valdosta. So then down there a minute, Savannah, but this was kind of like smack dab in the middle, very, very south. And when my brother and I arrived, this was back again in [00:16:00] 2012, it was this place. It almost seemed like a puppy. My brother and I to this day still think it was.

[00:16:06] And I, him and I kind of just looked at each other. I'll never forget looking at him that look of like, holy crap, like, what is this? Where are we? And [00:16:15] we went in and he was actually the first one to hold Scarlet. And she was all of like two pounds at the time. And I was signing the paperwork. And he being the unapologetic person that he is, and totally unfiltered goes, what's wrong with her eye.

[00:16:28] Cause he's like holding her and [00:16:30] they're telling me, oh, it's allergies. And you just give her a little bit of this gel. She'll be fine. My intuition right away was like, somethings were off here. And my brother was like, something's off here. And I'm like, yeah, but I'm in love with her. She's so cute. She's like, I am too, we'll keep an eye on it.

[00:16:43] So we get back in my [00:16:45] car and he takes a few pictures of us together. So those pictures are very near and dear to my heart. Because he took them and she didn't sit with me. She sat with him in the car all the way home and she, you know, [00:17:00] dogs sometimes get sick for the first time in the car or, and it was like a four or five hour drive and she just slept on him the whole time.

[00:17:06] It was the cutest thing. And for those of you who know me or follow me on social media, Or my dogs, you know, that she has had a [00:17:15] struggle with. Right. And actually it doesn't produce tears in that eye, but almost 10 years later, we found her proper medical care shout out to university of Georgia. And, um, my brother actually was the one to, uh, see that and identify that ahead of time [00:17:30] and knew right away.

[00:17:32] So Scarlet. Was just and is still to this day, such a therapeutic aspect of my life and connection in my life. And I wanted her back. She was still staying with my friends. And I remember I kept saying [00:17:45] that as I was delirious and being put to bed and put to sleep and you know, I've been prescribed medications by the doctors to sleep.

[00:17:55] Clonopin the anti-anxiety medications, but [00:18:00] nothing was working, nothing. Helped. It was really just knowing that I could have that kind of release and those moments and those talks and kind of like the [00:18:15] permission, I guess, is the best way to say it, to release and to let go and to, to sleep finally, like it was okay to do that.

[00:18:24] And I kind of felt that overcome me. And my father told me [00:18:30] and my mother, uh, they're both in there. I think George was too. And they said that, I mean, I was so exhausted. They said that they would get Scarlet and they would bring her back when they were going to run errands. And so they left and I remember kind of just taking the covers and growing [00:18:45] up and I cried, but it wasn't long because I finally, I kept.

[00:18:52] Crushed like into, I'm sure this has happened to you in your life. And if, again, if you've lost, you know, [00:19:00] when you're so exhausted, you finally just kind of give out and it's just like, it's, it's intense sleep. Like it's like a blackout, like all of a sudden my eyes were open and it was dark in the home. So, but it wasn't crazy late because it's [00:19:15] winter time and I could hear.

[00:19:17] Jovial speech and conversation coming from the kitchen. And I didn't know if I had slept for her two days, five minutes. I realized it was probably more than five minutes since it was dark, unless they had had [00:19:30] installed blackout curtains or something. But I was like, wow. And then when I looked at my phone, I was like, okay, okay.

[00:19:36] I I've slept a couple hours. Like finally I felt, I want to say I felt refreshed, but I kinda didn't. I [00:19:45] felt so. I would have it, it was like I had, I was on medication or something because I was still so tired. And that was such a deep, like, sleep, like asleep of like complete darkness, like where you don't dream or [00:20:00] anything, just an exhaustive sleep.

[00:20:03] But I wanted to get up. I wanted to be around people. I thought I didn't want to be in the room anymore. I got up and I guess me and myself [00:20:15] presentable enough in my mind, I tried, I looked like Iraq, but, and came out and the lights were kind of dimmed in my dining room. And my mom and George were there and my sister and her husband and Scarlet was [00:20:30] back now.

[00:20:31] And my, my father wasn't there. He was at his house. And they were all kind of laughing and having fun around the table. And there were bottles of wine out. So they had been drinking wine and it made me happy to see that it made me happy to [00:20:45] see that they were in, you know, enjoying time. And, you know, there was, again, I use this word a lot, but some levity to the situation and some happiness in the moment.

[00:20:55] And so I, you know, I kind of joined the room and. [00:21:00] I remember them asking me, I believe it was George, you know, Hey, you want a glass of wine? And I said, oh, sure. You know, I, I felt so out of it, but I said, sure. And so I sat there and I was kind of just observing what was going on. And then. [00:21:15] We're some just kind of conversations happening and talking a little bit about my brother.

[00:21:19] We were talking a little bit about just life and everything was okay. Conversations were fine. And then the conversation took a really weird [00:21:30] turn and I wasn't prepared to walk into this and it was getting weird and. My mother's boyfriend. George was talking about how my mother liked these younger men and like, uh, God, at the time it would have been [00:21:45] like, oh, whatever that artist was.

[00:21:47] But like, um, Justin Bieber or something like that, and it was getting really awkward and it was getting real weird and. Why are we talking about a weird topic? [00:22:00] I am exhausted. We've just lost a family member that we all love and care about. This is weird. Like this is weird and it almost didn't feel real.

[00:22:12] I almost, I like am I still asleep? [00:22:15] Like what's going on? And the discussion between my mother and her boyfriend started to get. And he started to accuse her of hitting on younger men, uh, when they had been out. And it was just like, my [00:22:30] suspicions of the relationship were starting to be confirmed and I didn't really want my sister to.

[00:22:37] You know, she was 20 at the time. I didn't want her to be privy to that. And I didn't want [00:22:45] her husband. And I mean, it was just, uh, it was not good. And so I asked them to take the dogs for a walk, their dog, him in mind, little scars and their dog cache. And so. It was kind of getting heated, but it [00:23:00] hadn't gotten that bad yet.

[00:23:01] And so they left and they walked around the corner around the neighborhood. It was not crazy late too. It's it's safe. It's fine. And I just was sitting there in shock going, why are we talking about such trivial stuff? So the [00:23:15] two of them start having conversation with me about all the problems in their relationship.

[00:23:21] I'm sitting there just taking sifts of my wine, going, what the hell is happening right now? I lost my brother, like literally walked away from [00:23:30] him less than 24 hours ago. Why are, why is this happening? And what, like, why was I chastised for bringing a really great man that I'm seeing to help in the hospital and you two are clearly not even together.[00:23:45] 

[00:23:45] So then it escalates even more. And my mother. Throwing slings at him and, um, verbal slings at him and there they're fighting. And it's clear in evidence that they had not really been together. He had been [00:24:00] doing laundry at my house, which is fine. I didn't mind that, but the laundry room was a back of my kitchen and he proceeds to get up because he's really angry and they're both angry at each other.

[00:24:10] It sounds like there was infidelity. I don't know their relationship, but it was [00:24:15] very toxic and. This had turned into all about them in my home. And I was disgusted and this will happen. This will happen in loss. I've learned this through other people, but at the time I had an idea, this is what [00:24:30] happens.

[00:24:30] I'm like, I just had a whole conversation with my mother days earlier. Like we need to come together. This is about, I was, I was just devastated and still tired and like thought this was a dream. And he went over to the dryer. And my [00:24:45] kitchen was kind of like long and, and, you know, had like this breakfast nook that went into the dining room and he is so angry at her.

[00:24:54] And she's looking at me for. I guess like, you know, [00:25:00] confirmation support and I'm looking at her going like, yeah, this guy's like nuts. Like he's like, what, why did you bring him here? You know? And I'm trying to talk to her and understand why this happened. And she's like mortified looking at me and he's [00:25:15] chucking laundry at.

[00:25:19] From across the kitchen. And at that point I was like, this is enough. I'm like, you've got to get out of here. I'm like, go pack your bags. This is not about you. This is about our [00:25:30] family. I thought you were here together. Like you need to go. And so he storms off into the master and packs his bag. And my mother tells me, like, they hadn't really been together.

[00:25:39] She admits it. And that he, they had had this tumultuous relationship. [00:25:45] And I was in shock. I was in shock that it was absolutely true. Like she just wanted him to be there for her and come. And I don't know that that was necessarily wrong, but I think it was wrong to mislead people. And I think it was [00:26:00] wrong to bring someone that was clearly not mentally well and, and put them in that situation because he made it all about themselves.

[00:26:09] And. As she's expressing all of this upset and hurt and [00:26:15] anger. I told her, I said, you've got to leave this guy like this is it like you, she had moved up to another area of the country and I had helped her, you know, get a job with a previous company I was with. And I said, you know, you went up there to start a beautiful life and you know, you're an empty [00:26:30] nester.

[00:26:30] Why would, why did you do this? I was so confused and I was even more upset that we're even discussing it at this time. But she followed him into the master bedroom and they were arguing and it was physical. And I told him, I said, you've got a couple of minutes and you've got to go. Like, I have an [00:26:45] HOA, like I have neighbors, but first and foremost, like, you're not going to put my family in physical danger and you're not going to make this situation about you.

[00:26:54] And he continued and he wouldn't leave. And so I took his bag and I threw it out of my home [00:27:00] and I said, you need to leave. And he stormed out and he was. And my mom was very distraught afterwards and I had a lot of empathy for her. She had been through and has been through a lot of relationships. I've watched this [00:27:15] my whole pretty much my whole life that were not functional and all I've ever wanted for her was to be in happy, functional, happy, good relationships.

[00:27:26] And I think all she's ever really wanted was that for [00:27:30] herself to really feel like the great love and the happiness in her life. And. You know, I think there are moments of that for her, but I think there's a lot of this and it was so sad to see that the person that she was with or not with, there's still no clarity on [00:27:45] that to this day that they were doing such things to her and the most traumatic moment, I'm sure of her life and of her children's life.

[00:27:57] And that breaks my heart to this [00:28:00] day. Really. Regardless of how I feel about her decisions or her anything. She's my mother. And I love her and I want the best for her. And that, that was heartbreaking to watch. And I sat there and I talked to her. [00:28:15] A long time that night and one her to be strong. And you know, my sister and my brother-in-law returned with the dogs and they had seen George outside and he had actually confronted them and spoken to them and said things to them and I, which I just found so crazy, but [00:28:30] he was going to get a flight back.

[00:28:33] Great. Like that was a good play out and that was going to mitigate the situation. And so I remember sleeping next to my mom that night and he was just blowing her phone up. It was so toxic what was happening [00:28:45] and it was breaking my heart early was because that's not what this was. This was about, that's not the focus and I couldn't even deal with it.

[00:28:51] Like I couldn't. And I just told her, I said, you don't have to deal with this either. Like you don't like, you need to. Be [00:29:00] focused on how you're feeling and you know what you're going through with your son. Like this is so messed up. So the next day was Thanksgiving. So this was an action packed week. It was a tough week and we had actually [00:29:15] booked a reservation because none of us were going to cook, even though we were so blessed because who I had worked for in the past a VP at.

[00:29:25] Uh, company I've worked for. And my mom was working for at the time [00:29:30] he sent us, like, I don't even know how many dinners on dinners of Thanksgiving. I mean, it probably could have fed the entire, like condo complex. I lived in at the time, so generous. It was just so kind how they treated her and my family and you know, [00:29:45] my work as well and everyone at the time.

[00:29:47] But we were in no state of mind to do that. So. You know, my mother and my father and my sister and I, and her husband, uh, we went to dinner and it was a family dinner. And we talked about my brother and talked about [00:30:00] really positive things. And I try to treasure that moment. I really do. It was really happy to know that my father and my mom could sit down at the same table because my father has [00:30:15] remarried and he has another family.

[00:30:18] You know, I, you know, my mom has this situation going on and her boyfriend, George was calling her nonstop, blowing her up and I could see the pressure [00:30:30] cooking. I could see the things going on. And of course there was drinking and, and alcohol involved at the dinner and things escalated. And. To my knowledge, apparently it was the story was [00:30:45] told that I threw George out and I was the person that did these terrible things.

[00:30:52] And my father. When we returned from Thanksgiving was furious. He was upset with me. He did not think my behavior was [00:31:00] appropriate. He, my mother, was the victim. She said, you know that I did all these horrible things. She needed to get out of there. She was crying. She was upset. And so. He came to her [00:31:15] rescue and took her items out of the house.

[00:31:17] And it became really heated, really heated. And my father screamed at me and pushed me. That was really challenging because it reminded me of some things that happened during childhood [00:31:30] and screamed about my childhood at me. And. I was shook. I was totally shook. I could not believe this was happening. And I kept asking him, like, what are you talking about?

[00:31:41] Like this guy, like, what are you talking about? And he's like talking [00:31:45] about how he's a great guy. I don't know what I'm talking about. It was, it was like this big whirlwind that happened. And then they were all out of my home and my sister and my brother-in-law, they had left and returned home. And that was it.

[00:31:58] It was like chaos. [00:32:00] And then. Nice dinner, like chaos, nice dinner, chaos, and then silence. And I remember sitting there with Scarlet alone. I was truly alone now. And I was like, [00:32:15] what the hell just happened? What just happened? And how am I, the bad guy in all of this in all of these narratives. And I felt [00:32:30] so.

[00:32:31] Hurt. I felt betrayed by my mother. When I had sat up all night talking to her about the situation countless times I had dealt with these situations with her boyfriends. I couldn't believe she betrayed me and twisted the story to my father. I could not [00:32:45] believe it. I didn't know the extent of it at the time, but I knew something had happened for him to come in and get her stuff.

[00:32:50] Like how did that escalate that way? I, I was so confused and for all of them just to leave and for him to get her a hotel room. [00:33:00] Mind boggling. And I get a message. All I had was my phone. And I remember just laying on the couch, staring at the TV. I had like the office on reruns because my brother loved the office.

[00:33:14] And I think that's all I [00:33:15] watched for a long time. But, and when I say a long time, I'm talking like weeks on end, but this moment, um, I remember I got a message the next day, which would have been Friday on WhatsApp finally, because my brother lives in. [00:33:30] And he says to me, you know, we'll, we'll, we're going on a trip or we're going somewhere, or we're going to see her sisters we'll be back.

[00:33:39] Cause my sisters, each one, one lived in Jacksonville, one lived in Savannah at the time. [00:33:45] Very little information I'm I might be embellishing on that information. Actually. I don't even know that he told me they were going there. And my understanding was it was him and my. And I remember just feeling like [00:34:00] everything was being taken from me.

[00:34:02] Like I didn't really have my family in my life like that, but I didn't know if I was gonna. My brother's ashes. I didn't know if I would be at [00:34:15] this whatever ceremony my mother was going to put together because she was doing a lot of things that my brother would not have wanted. He really wanted to be celebrated.

[00:34:24] He wanted people to know about him and she didn't want people to know. So it was very [00:34:30] anti what my brother would have wanted with a lot of. There's something she did very well, but some things were just so not, not spot on and not what he would have wanted. He was definitely the most extroverted in the family.

[00:34:43] I I'm a close second, but [00:34:45] he is way more extroverted and he wanted to be out there. You want people to know who he was. He was all over the internet. He had tons of people that knew him. And I just didn't agree with her in the, in the S you know, only letting few people know that he passed and there was [00:35:00] so many things.

[00:35:01] But my biggest fear was that I wouldn't have a little piece of him or wouldn't be part of this. And I wouldn't get to say like anything about him or get to speak his truth or anything about that. I was afraid I [00:35:15] wouldn't get to see his girlfriend again. Um, the family get in and get to thank them for everything that they did so much that it, the anxiety was real.

[00:35:23] I think that couch was like just shaking. For [00:35:30] days straight. And so at that point, I didn't know. I didn't know when I would see them again, all I had was a message and all I had was time to wait and all I had to do, all I could do [00:35:45] was hope. All I could do is hope that I would hear. And I was so confused. I didn't understand.

[00:35:53] I had no understanding or at all about why I had been. [00:36:00] Villainized in this situation, but it would become evident very soon, but in the time then I sat there waiting, staring it, the office, the gentleman I was dating at the time he did [00:36:15] come over and see me. I don't remember. I think I had sparkling water next to me at all times.

[00:36:22] And so I drank that from time to time, I drink a little wine for me from time to time to, to sleep. And I just [00:36:30] remember staring at the back of that couch, that white Korean couch I had and dozing in and out when I could taking the medication that my doctor had given me for my anxiety. It didn't mean.

[00:36:44] When you're at [00:36:45] that kind of level, it just doesn't work from my experience. I hope it does for you if, if you find yourself in that experience, but it didn't for me. And I felt completely powerless. And I think I look back on [00:37:00] that now and realize that was a lesson from whatever you believe in God, the universe.

[00:37:06] In, in letting go and realizing that we don't have power over everything. I mean, that was definitely a lesson in when I lost my brother. But in [00:37:15] this moment, this was such a lesson because I could, I couldn't do anything. I knew, you know, we had donated his organs. I had no idea who was going to get. [00:37:30] I would never be told that information.

[00:37:32] I knew where he was being cremated, but I didn't know if I was going to get that information. I knew that I, you know, if I had any shot at finding out anything, I was going to have to play nice with, [00:37:45] you know, my mom and I guess now my dad, because I didn't understand what had been told or what I was so confused.

[00:37:53] And here I was. It makes me emotional to talk about it to this day. So I was abandoned and [00:38:00] none of them will ever understand my family will never understand what I saw the pain. I went through my story, watching my brother go through what he went through. Even watching his girlfriend [00:38:15] go through what she went through.

[00:38:16] She saw way more than they did. And then to just be abandoned after being there for my mother during such a dysfunctional situation, abandonment is definitely something [00:38:30] that my brother struggled with and it's definitely something that I've struggled with in my life. And I healed a whole lot from that up until that that situation I felt.

[00:38:41] Abandoned because my brother died. That's not something he could control, [00:38:45] but then I felt abandoned by my family and I was, I wasn't mandated by them and I could not understand why people would just leave you like that in such a time. I was [00:39:00] devastated. Especially after the fact that my father had been there for me, it was the most confusing thing to me.

[00:39:08] Like what had been said, what had been told, I hadn't done anything wrong. I was trying to [00:39:15] protect my mother. I was trying to protect my sister. I was trying to protect my brother-in-law, the dogs and myself. This man was clearly not a good man and this, he had a bad track record as well. [00:39:30] People didn't know what I knew.

[00:39:33] I had fielded calls from my mother throughout their relationship where she had told me that he was doing things to her in the past, which contributed to the rockiness of our [00:39:45] relationship, because it was not a good relationship for her. And so it really broke my heart. Like what had happened, where I was laying on a couch, not eating, waiting for [00:40:00] a WhatsApp message where all I could do was just hope that I would be able to participate and be able to understand how something could change so [00:40:15] quickly.

[00:40:15] Again, in less than 24 hours.


[00:40:22] Thank you so much for listening to the surviving siblings podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, as much as I did creating it for [00:40:30] you, then share it on your chosen social media platform. And don't forget to tag us at surviving siblings podcast so that more surviving siblings can find us, remember to rate, review, and subscribe to the podcast.[00:40:45] 

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