March 16, 2022

The Call That Changed My Life

As a surviving sibling, there are defining moments in your journey. The first defining moment is the call, that call that changes your life forever, the call when we discovered what has happened, the call to provide information that you'd never want...

As a surviving sibling, there are defining moments in your journey. The first defining moment is the call, that call that changes your life forever, the call when we discovered what has happened, the call to provide information that you'd never want to receive.

This week I’m sharing the first part of my journey, how that call changed my life, and the first series of events that happened after that first call. In this episode, I’m covering:

  • The first event [00:01:42]
  • Getting to the hospital [00:09:00]
  • Seeing my brother for the first time after the call [00:27:00] 
  • Meeting my brother’s girlfriend [00:35:00]
  • Maya provides updates to the family [00:45:00]
  • First encounter with a detective[00:57:00]

For full episode show notes and transcript, click here


Connect with Maya 

Instagram | @survivingsiblingspodcast | @mayaroffler 

TikTok | @survivingsiblingspodcast

Twitter | @survivingsibpod

Website | The Surviving Siblings


[00:01:00] As a surviving sibling, there are defining moments in your journey. It doesn't matter if you lost your sibling an hour ago, a day ago. A week ago, a month ago, a year ago, a decade ago. It does not matter. I could go on and on and we remember these defining moments. We remember these specific events that happened as surviving siblings.

And for me, The first significant event that took place was what I like to call the call. And I think we can all relate to that as a surviving sibling. It's truly the moment where [00:02:00] we discover something has to happen. We discover that perhaps our sibling has passed, perhaps they're endangered. Um, there are so many different things that could happen with what I like to call the call it's information that we don't want to receive.

And that was one of my, you know, moments in my journey that just kind of changed the entire trajectory of my life. And of course, my brother, Andreas, passed away in November of 2016. And I'll never forget this call. It's probably going to be the most significant call I get in my entire life. And I'm sure most of you can relate to that.

And I remember sitting there, it was November [00:03:00] 19th, 2016, and it's so odd to think back to these days because I'm sitting here now. Just over five years later, it's taken me that time to come to tell this story, but it feels like yesterday as I'm going there and telling it to you right now, and I was watching football as we do in the south.

I know we watch football all over the place, but American football and college. And I remember so vividly Alabama was playing Chattanooga and it was a late game. It was an evening game. And I was there with a girlfriend of mine and her husband, very close friends of mine at the time. And there was a tradition to drink this drink.

They always drank like Coke or diet Coke with maker's mark market was, [00:04:00] you know, we have all these superstitions here in the south. And I was taking my first sip of this drink and my mother began to call my cell phone and the ringing stopped and I missed the call. And I'm sure this has happened to you many times as well when someone calls you and you miss the call, but you didn't quite miss it because it didn't ring enough.

I remember looking at my friends going, huh? That was odd, but okay. We continued. And she called like right back, almost like a frantic calling right back. And I answered. And, um, there was a frantic voice on the other end and her tone was very different than typical when she would call me and have something going on in our relationship had been strained [00:05:00] for many years and I've always had an interesting and unique relationship with my mother that I'll talk about throughout this podcast because it plays into the relationship I had with my brother and being a surviving sibling, but she said my voice so differently. 

I remember her saying my name. It was like pleading. It was like hopelessness. It also sounded like anger and uncertainty all wrapped into this name, Maya and I knew something was wrong. And she asked me if I was alone. And I said, no. And I explained to her where I was. She knew those friends very well. And She told me to go into the other room and to be by myself.

And so I [00:06:00] did, I went into the guest room and I said, what's going on? And she was absolutely hysterical at that point, she had flipped into hysteria and she kept telling me over and over your brother's been shot. Your brother's been shot. Your brother's been shot. And I remember sitting there. Not sitting anymore pacing the room, this very tiny guest room going into this mode that I always had gone into being the oldest of four kids and just jumping into action and asking these questions.

Even though within the side of myself, I was processing so much. I was worried myself, but I knew I had to keep it together. That was really my life and my part of the story. And I asked her, I said, do we, what do we know? [00:07:00] Where has he been shot? Uh, where is he right now? And, you know, there was a lot of, I don't know, I don't know it was, I don't knows.

And once we kind of got to some of the I don't knows and she was able to breathe a bit, no, it was challenging. And in those types of calls, It's difficult to get that person. I like to call them the informant. As I've had these conversations with people who are surviving siblings, just like myself and the stories are all different.

But with me, my mother being the informant, I went into survivor mode. I went into. Take action. Take charge. While also I had all of these emotions just welling up inside of myself. And I had [00:08:00] a pit in my stomach right away, and she begins to tell me once the, I don't knows and the frantic and hyperventilating and all of that search to clear, which is completely warranted.

She tells me that he's been shot, he's being taken somewhere. And I hang up with her and she tells me she's going to call me back and give me more information. And, she believes that he's going to Grady. So I know I'm like, okay, I'm on my way. I'm going to Grady. And Atlanta, Georgia is where my brother and I, uh, I still reside, but he lived here as well.

When you go to Grady, Not the best sign means that you're typically in, some tough shape. And so I ran out of the room and she didn't, again, my mother did not know she was crying. She was frantic. [00:09:00] She kept saying, I don't know. I don't know. I said, okay. I said, I got to get, um, I just got to go.

I got to go. And I knew I just had to hold it together. I had to hold it together and I had to get there because I didn't know anything. I knew he had been shot. I. I knew that only, and I knew where he was going and I knew I needed to be there. And so I went out and told my friends and they were shocked.

And I, at the time, only had one of the three dogs that I have now, Scarlet. And of course, they said, we'll take care of her. Go go. And I remember gathering my things. I remember, thanking God that we had just poured our drinks that I had, the ability to drive. I was, I had not been drinking. It was interesting how things had happened that way.

And that I [00:10:00] was at her house, which was conveniently, just quite close. You could take 20, right around two right out to Grady. My mother as I was there called again with additional information and started to get angry at me. And she confirmed that he was at Grady. And so she told me some things that were quite hurtful.

I asked her questions and she was not in the frame of mind, I think to answer them, you know, I wanted to know where he had been, how she found this information out. I tend to go very logical in these types of circumstances, even though inside of myself, I was dying myself and she said things to me that still break me and tell the story today.

She said to me, I never should have called you. I never [00:11:00] should have told you. And I remember thinking at that moment, I can choose right now to be really angry with this. Or I can accept that this is a mother who feels completely out of control and she's, she doesn't know what's going to go on with her son and I can navigate through this and I chose to navigate, and I think.

And I'm sure I didn't do everything perfectly. No one does when you're dealing with life or grief or anything like that. And once I got in the car there, wasn't another call that came in and she was in a different car. Then it was like anger. And then when I got in the car and I was driving, she went into a different mental state and she had received additional information.

And at that point, he, he was, [00:12:00] I guess, close to two Grady or was being, you know, taken into Brady at that point and had been analyzed enough. And she said, Maya, he's in really, really bad condition. He is a Grady I'm concerned. I don't think this is, you know, And I was like, okay. I said, mom, I'm like on the way I'm going, I'm driving as fast as I can.

And I was, I was speeding so fast down 20 and it was just so surreal. I sit here and remember a barrel. Uh, interstate 20, if you are from Atlanta, you know, that's so odd. And it was, and it was just like this clear path. And I told her, you know, how my way, like, let me, let me get there. I need to be with him, let me get there.

And so we ended that call in, in a better, better place. And she didn't have all the information [00:13:00] because I had asked if he was going to make it, where he was shot. We didn't at that point know that he had been shot in the head. She had told me that, but there wasn't a lot of information when I was driving on 20.

I'll never forget, just knowing. I knew when everything was quiet and there was this almost apocalyptic type situation going on on the road. And after that, that call in the car with my mother, I remember thinking he wasn't making it or this is it. Like, I just knew it was this feeling. I don't know if it's [00:14:00] because of my connection with him.

I don't know, but I knew, and I'm speaking during that time, because I've learned much more sense, but in that time that's I knew, and it was almost like. A movie that you don't want to star. And because as I was pulling up to Grady, when you turned on this side road, you see this big sign to Grady where you, where you go in and you see, obviously the people that are being brought in for extreme situations, like a gunshot wound, like my brother was, and I was about to turn into the parking deck, but I was still driving.

My mother calls me. And she's hysterical again and upset. And I knew, I knew and she tells me that. Of course, we knew at the [00:15:00] time he had been shot in the head. Um, she tells me that there. No way that he's going to make it, that they can't from what she's being told. And I can tell she's frustrated too. A new emotion is being brought into, she's frustrated now.

And she's telling me that they can't operate because of where the bullet is in his head. And you know, he's getting he's in there now, or he's getting taken back

and I stopped. I had this little white Mercedes at the time and I stopped it. There's kind of like a dead end right in front of Grady there, but I stopped it and I looked up at the big Grady light and I just stopped and I stared up and I didn't cry the way she was crying, but I, the tears were coming from my eyes and they [00:16:00] still do today.

But I remember saying to her. Taking that kind of lead that I always do and always had in the family. But I said to her mom, as she was having this, you know, hysterical moment and freak out, she was gonna lose her son, her only son. And I have empathy for that. And I told her, I said, we have two choices. She started crying and all these highs and lows and all these emotions we had been through.

I hadn't even seen him yet. I hadn't even seen my brother yet. And she says to me, I know, I know, I know. And she's crying and I'm like, sounding like her right now. She's crying. And I said, no, I'm serious. She needs to listen to me right now. And I think this is some of where. [00:17:00] In my opinion. She came up with, you know, I shouldn't have called you.

I shouldn't have called you. But the thing is, I think she just wanted sympathy and empathy, but in those situations, you also need someone who can take charge. And I told her nothing that I do at this moment is going to change anything. But I said to her mom, I said, we have two, two paths here, two directions here.

This can either drive our family completely apart, which were already so fractured as a family. I'm literally driving to go see if my brother can even survive this because it, it doesn't sound like he can't and I need to go see if he can survive long enough for the family to get here, to speak to him, to, to anything to him.

And she was very emotional and I said, so we can either remain fractured like that, or we can choose. To be a wake-up call [00:18:00] and realize that all these things that have happened in this family are so ridiculous. And so I, I just, I remember just saying the speech, it was like, almost like, I don't know, maybe my brother was speaking through me in a sense, or it just, when you get in these moments, And you probably experienced this as well.

When you went through loss and you lost your sibling, you're able to articulate this so beautifully. And I go back to this moment and I think, you know, telling her this is our time to come together. Let's forget all the stupid crap from the past and who fought about this and who was better at that.

And you know why, obviously my parents are divorced and you know, why you and dad don't [00:19:00] like each other for this? Like, this is your child together. Like this was the conversation I was having with her. And she broke down and was crying and saying, I know, I know, I know. And it was really, I don't know if wild is the right word, but it was an emotional rollercoaster to go on prior to ever even walking into the hospital.

And my experience with my brother. And it was such, it was such a bunch of highs and lows. And that's a lot of my relationship with my mother, but I look back on that and it took me a lot of time to begin this story and tell this story. And I realize this now because of that, because of those multiple phone calls and it was a rollercoaster already before I even [00:20:00] was able to assess the situation and I was already put through pain.

By being told, I shouldn't, I shouldn't have been told and this, and, and now I'm in agreement and there's empathy and she's jumping on the first plane and it was a lot to go through. And I don't say that to say, like, I was a victim of this, but I just wanted to get in there and do what I could. And I don't think I realized how much that impacted me.

And I think other surviving siblings like yourself, or if you listening to support someone, who's lost a sibling. There's a lot of stuff that goes on with the family. And this went on before I even saw him. And so, um, I hung up the phone and I felt like this weight was lifted in a weird way for me by saying that to my mom, because [00:21:00] I'm not exactly black and white and everything in life, but it was very clear to me that this was a huge defining black and white moment for us in our family, in all of our lives, because how could it not.

If he were able to survive this, if he were able to move forward, there will be challenges. If he didn't survive it, there will be challenges. And so we had two choices and we'll continue to talk about that here on the podcast. And I parked my car. Still staring up at that light. I look up at that light every time I pass it to this day.

And I remember that moment. I remember that moment. It was a defining moment. [00:22:00] Definitely a defining moment in my relationship with Mom, my brother, and my family. And I recall after staring up at that Grady sign and after parking, I've never parked so fast in my life. It was almost like I say movies because now it's like, I understand where some of these things come from and I like wanted to throw the keys at the valet and just run.

Kind of dinner. I don't even know what I had with me. I just was running. I was running to this sign

because I felt light in a way because I had said to my mother, like, this is how it is. I [00:23:00] know this is how it will be. This is a defining moment. We will go one way or. No, I need to go this way and this is what I'm going to do. And I ran through those revolving tours. I'll never forget them. And I asked where I went, they rushed me to the other side where I could go straight back.

And it was interesting because I was able to run straight back. Behind all these doors, it was, I was going in this hallway and I know I showed my ID and identification and was able to ID him and that, and everything matched. And it was, it was wild though, to me, as I'm looking back on it. And as I've looked back at it over the years, I'm like, wow, they just kind of let me back there.

But, you know, uh, I [00:24:00] made it back there and I w I was going through court or court or asking frantically wait, cause I couldn't, I mean, I didn't know my way around this kind of hospital and these kinds of, um, back areas where they bring someone in. And I make it to the like extreme trauma area. And those of you who are doctors and nurses and physicians and people that know this better than me, please correct me when you listened to the podcast, because I probably have this all wrong about what you call this area, but the extreme case.

Area extreme trauma is what I was told, things like that. And I remember rushing straight by, there was a room on the left room, on the right, and then there were several rooms all around and there was like this middle desk where the nurses and, you know, people that took care of everything. Are there again, my medical professionals listening will know better than me.[00:25:00] 

And I was, I became frantic then, and I felt like I could because no one that relied on me could see me. Or at least I didn't think they could. And I kept asking, I said, where's my brother. Where's Andreas Roth there. Where is he? What's going on? And they kept telling me ma'am, I don't know how you got all the way back here, but he's not here yet.

Like, you're going to have to wait, like wait over there, wait over there. And they're trying to push me back towards these shares. They didn't, they didn't want me to go all the way back down to the waiting or the quarters or anything, but. I wouldn't move. I would not move. And as I'm like asking, asking, and asking and insisting on knowing where he is, I see their faces and there was someone being wheeled in very fast behind me and then talk behind this like curtain.

And I see it happen and I go, that's him. I just, I saw, like I saw it happening. [00:26:00] Like, I don't know how to explain to anyone that hasn't gone through some sort of trauma, but when you go through a trauma things go like, almost like when you're looking through that slide show change, or when you're a child, it's almost like they clip like that either quickly or slowly.

And it felt like that. And I watched him get wheeled. It was just frantic. What was going on? And all I saw was blood and they quickly ripped the curtain. And I knew it was him. I knew it. And they were like, ma'am, you're going to have to wait. You're going to have to wait. And I ripped the curtain open and I went right in there and it was my brother.

And one of the nurses was visibly upset. Um, some of the other ones were upset as well, because what I saw was having. Um, and their attempt to put him [00:27:00] on again, I would rely on my medical professionals here, but their attempt to put him on life, support tubes, things like that. And he was covered in blood.

It was, this is very graphic content. So I will let you know that for this particular episode. He was covered in blood. It was all over the floor. It was all over him. I almost couldn't recognize him. It was all over his clothes, um, that were still remaining the ones that were, um, it was everywhere. And when you're in that state of mind, that part doesn't affect you.

It affects you later. What affected me was watching them, trying to resuscitate and also put these tubes inside of him to keep him alive or try to [00:28:00] give him life. And he was rejecting everything and I was watching his body reject and come off the table and convulse, and I knew I had to be strong. I knew this situation was really horrifying and was not good.

And I knew what my mother had said about him not being able to make it was probably 99% true at that point. And there was a chair, there were two of these like plastic chairs in the corner. And they asked me to sit down and you know what, I'm so stubborn. I didn't want to, uh, and I watched, I just watched and I held his hand[00:29:00] and I kept telling him over and over that, I was there and it still makes me emotional five years later.

So it's normal. It's normal. If you feel that way too, it's normal to feel emotional. I had to learn that, but I held his hand and it was hard to watch. It was really hard to watch. I've never felt so helpless in my life. And I had gone through trauma in my life before, and this was worse in my opinion.

And they got to a point where they were able to stabilize him in a sense that they, they called it. Um, he wasn't [00:30:00] rejecting the tubes, things like that. His body was in fighting back anymore because. He was essentially dead in, in many ways, but he wasn't in other ways, which was confusing to me. I didn't understand all of this.

And so I kept asking for the doctor, kept asking for the surgeon. I said, what's going on? Like, I need to know, like, I've got people waiting. I have two sisters. I've got brothers-in-law, I've got most importantly, my parents, I have a mother who needs to fly in and a father who lives in Africa. It's quite a story and we need to know.

And so I was the one. To make the decisions about do not resuscitate and do resuscitate and all of those things. And do we operate, do we not operate? I was his person for that. And I'll never, again, never forget this. I, I, I see it like [00:31:00] it's happening today. And this surgeon walks in and she was lovely and she comes to me and, and talks to me and she tells me.

Everything about where the bullet is in his head. I saw the wound. I mean, it was really graphic on the left side of his head and I kept asking her why, why can't you, why can't you try? And she told me because of. If she were to try, or if her team, or even if the team of specialists were to try, he, he would die or he would be completely brain dead.

And non-functioning like to the point where it was just like, he would die at some point too. Like this was a deadly gunshot wound and he was being kept alive completely by machines. Like. But he was brain dead at this point. [00:32:00] So when I saw him and he was rejecting the tubes and all of that was happening, I had asked her, you know, was that it was that I watching him, you know, high, basically in his body.

Those are some of the toughest questions I ever had to ask him. And she told me. Yes. She said that is what was happening. There's a lot of medical things. And so again, my medical people that listened to this, you can weigh in and, and give me more information, but this is what I was told, and this is what happened, but it was completely lodged in his brain.

And, you know, he wasn't completely gone and I'm grateful for the moments that I was able to hold his hand.

As graphic and as difficult as it was, you never want to see someone you love in pain, [00:33:00] but I'm just glad he wasn't alone. And I'm glad I'm a fighter. And I drew that curtain back and I wasn't going to take no for an answer. I was a little bit on a war path for sure. Just a little bit. And she asked me a lot of questions.

I had to sign a lot of paperwork and, um, she had a very serious conversation at one point with me, she said, look, if he flat lines, we're going to keep him on all these machines. But if he flat lines, I don't think he's going to make it back. Like you want us to try to resuscitate him? And I said, yes. And the reason I did is because I got on the phone with my father.

My father was devastated. Of course. I mean, my mother was devastated. My father was devastated. Everybody was devastated, but I asked them, even though it was my decision, I asked them and I felt that was the right thing to do, because in a sense, he, [00:34:00] I mean, he was physically dead already. And if it was even a shot that they be able to at least touch his hand or have some kind of an experience that I did.

I wanted that for them. And knowing that he wasn't in pain, I was able to make that decision and it was so hard, so challenging to be the one to make that decision. So it was a lot of short calls to my dad at that time they were short or long, and my dad and I weren't in a, in a terrible place, but we weren't super close.

And so that became very interesting in that. Story as well. And I returned back to, there was an empty room across from the room that my brother was in. If you recall me telling earlier that when I walked into this last hallway corridor area, there was a room in the left room, in the right. And then there were other rooms.

So there [00:35:00] the room across from where my brother had. Well, where they had tried to hide him, I should say it was empty. So that's where I would go make my calls. And I returned back to find his girlfriend and his girlfriend was there with her mother and I had never met his girlfriend actually, which was surprising, um, for some reasons, but my brother had gone through.

A lot in his life and had been really struggling and had clearly not been hanging out with the right people, but his girlfriend was very different than that and is very different than that. And I hated that. That was the first time I physically met her and she was a wreck. She was young. She was 21. My brother is 27 when he died.[00:36:00] 

And they were both there and I couldn't believe it. I was so filled with love instantly to see them there, but also so heartbroken because I knew what it was like to be a 21 year old girl and be so in love with someone. Um, and I couldn't, I knew I was able to put myself in her shoes. In some ways. And I remember thinking God at that point that they had entered the room because at that time, because the blood had been removed from the floors, my brother had been cleaned up quite a bit.

He was, he had wrappings around his head. It was still a much more graphic experience than the rest of my family. Um, experienced. If you had seen him in that room, you had more. Definitely in my [00:37:00] opinion than anybody else. And so my heart has always, and will always go out to her and it bonded me to her and I understand completely why their relationship was so deep.

And her family was really beautiful to be there for her and to support her, but not just her, but him. And they sat there and sat next to him and held his hand. And it was. So, again, just heartwarming for me to see that he was loved that much. I needed that I needed to see that selfishly I needed that. And I think we need that as surviving siblings, we need to see that our sibling was loved well, had positivity in their life when they had struggles, because my brother struggled, he struggled with a lot of things.

He struggled with. Drugs alcohol. He struggled with some [00:38:00] mental health stuff. I mean, he, he struggled with a lot of different things and when he died, a lot of people thought that's potentially how he died. And it's one of the reasons amongst many why it's so important for me to tell his story and my story, because that's not how he died.

He was. He was murdered. It was a homicide and it devastated many people and he needs to be remembered in the right way. And just because he struggled with drugs and alcohol and just because he hung out with the wrong people doesn't mean he deserved what happened to him.

It's interesting to me that, you know, there's a lot of people walking the streets that have done really terrible things. And there's people like my brother who have died and no, they're not [00:39:00] perfect, but they haven't done a lot of those things. Um, he hasn't done any of those things. You never did. Um, So I think a lot of surviving siblings can relate to that.

If you've lost someone to an overdose or someone to anything, you know, drug or addiction or later mental health, things like that, it's it's difficult. And, you know, there was an automatic assumption with my brother. It's not what happened. He was shot in the face. It's taken me five years to sit that, sit here and say that on my own platform on this podcast that is in honor of him, for him and for you as a surviving sibling.

You know, I remember looking back in that room and having love come into that room [00:40:00] helped. And the scene started to clear a little bit. And I remember feeling like I wasn't as a low and yet I had never met this, this young lady before or her family and her brother was there too. And her father and they loved him.

And I knew what that was like, because I had experienced that as well in previous relationships that I had been in. And just being so accepted by the family and loved. And so I remember looking and going, I get this and I felt so happy that my brother had that because there was a lot of things that went on in our family that were challenging and it filled my heart to see that.

So it's difficult in those moments. As you're watching your [00:41:00] brother or your sister, whoever you're losing, but you're also like finding out this beautiful side of their life. That was so rewarding for me. And I know some of us find out some dark sides of their life and I did too. And I'll continue to share that part of the story too.

But in that moment I found that. This whole other thing. And I knew he was with her, but my brother and I hadn't been close for months and months and months because of the life he was living, the people he was hanging around and he was kind of living a double life. He lived kind of a straight edge life with her in a sense and more so I would imagine then what he did with these other individuals.

He struggled. And he didn't want people to know that he was struggling. He was such a positive person, but he [00:42:00] struggled. And I also think that's challenge for people. When I talk about my brother and honor, my brother is they think I, um, ignoring his fault or the things that happened, but I, I don't think that.

Is the case. And I think any of you who are surviving siblings understand that, like we know that our sibling had faults and had things they needed to work on. And we also understand that people in our family may take the loss differently and may feel different ways about it. But I remember at that point feeling all of that, and I was in a very unique situation.

It's a tool to turn the tide a little bit and add some more to this. Some of you listening may know that during that time I had, I'd gone through a major job change and was loving life loving. My job had, [00:43:00] um, always had great corporate positions, but I had this great opportunity and. In addition to that, I was filming a reality show as well.

And I was dating. It was kind of like a bachelor style show. So I had left the show for the second time after all this drama. And thank God I did, but I still had part of my contract to fulfill. And I, I knew that was coming, but I had actually met someone. I think like two or three weeks before three weeks before my brother's passing, like right as I left the show, I've met this guy through a friend and ironically enough, he had the same birthday as me and my brother.

Yes. Ironically enough, my brother and I had the same exact birthday. We had the same exact due date and we weighed the same. So it's. A little bit of a twin [00:44:00] thing going on for sure. But it's, we're three years apart. So I was 30 when he passed. Um, and he was 27, but my mom always used to say, perhaps she still says it.

I, I don't know right now, but you know that we were twins. My brother was just a little bit late and I like to think about that. And I always appreciated her saying that, but it was really true. And even physically, we looked like he was just much, much taller than me, but this particular gentleman was who I was seeing after being on the show, even though it was on contract to go do this reunion and stuff.

Which how could I even be thinking about that at the time? But the scary thing about this was this gentleman that I was seeing. And I, I don't want to use his name. He was really private. He really didn't like, even that I had been on TV before and then that I [00:45:00] did reality television. So I'm sure all of you can understand that and know it's not my husband today.

So it does not matter. It was not a long-term relationship, but he was a very kind person. And I remember going into the other room, we were supposed to go on a date that night after the game. And I had been out with him the night before. We started seeing each other, like, it was one of those, like you see each other right away, kind of things we clicked and looking back on it now, I think it was because it was a lot like.

Not to be weird, but like we just, our personalities clicked so much, like my brother and I did. And it's interesting because it, it was very much like a platonic relationship, but we were just in sync, but I called him to let him know what was going on. And he was like in shock. And he went into the mode that I went into.

I'm like, oh my God, I'm dating myself a little bit. So I'm adding a little humor to this. I guess we'll levity. We all need a little love. And he, when we [00:46:00] go through these kinds of. And he's like, what can I do for you? Kind of bring it. I'm like, no, I mean, right now it's just family. It's intense. This is, and he's like, oh my God.

And he's like, this is hitting you really hard. And I had, I flashed back to the night before and we were sitting at dinner and I got really emotional at our dinner the night before. We had this again, beautiful dinner, long evening. And we talked a lot about my brother, a lot about him. And I spoke to him and I told this had become my boyfriend at the time.

And he, I told him, looked him square in the eye. It must have been between 10 30 and 1130 at night. We were wrapping up dinner and, uh, never forget looking at him, going. I need to call my brother. And he goes, yeah, you do. He's like, you've talked about him so much. And he goes, I think you're, you're ready.

Like, it sounds like you were having a serious discussion about it. And [00:47:00] my, I had planned to call my brother the very next day and check on him and see how he was doing, because I felt so strongly about that. Dead, honest to God truth. And I will never forget this gentleman being so. Freaked out by that.

But also ultra concerned. He was like, oh my God. And then I told him, I said, you know, he's not going to make it. And I said, I, you know, I got to go back to my family, but he's like, anything you need anything you need. So that was one of them. The craziest moments of it all was that I spent almost an entire like dinner talking about my brother and really processing what was going on and how much I missed him and all these things I was feeling and this concern, and I felt like something wasn't right.

And it wasn't, it wasn't right. And [00:48:00] after talking to my two sisters, they lived close together at the time. Uh, the Savannah area and Jacksonville. So they kind of all corralled together and came up with their husbands. And so once knowing that was happening, my mother was working on flights from, you know, where she lives in the Northeast.

And my father was doing everything he can to come from. You know, Africa, everyone was rallied. I came back into the room again, and I was notified that there was a gentleman in the. Inquiring about my brother claiming that he was his roommate claiming that he wanted to know how he was new information. I would probably say this guy's name.

If I could, I did not even entertain this gentleman once I spoke to him. So I at first heard this and I was like, oh my gosh, this is good. This is good. I'm going to go [00:49:00] out with. So I went out there, back through the corridor, back through all those hallways. And I'm trying to, with this trauma that has just happened, trying to like, remember where I need to go.

Sure enough, on the way back, spoiler alert. I did not. And I had to ask a couple turns. Actually, it was not that complicated, but it's interesting what trauma does to you. It's like, you feel like you're lost in a maze like metaphorically and actually realistically, when you're somewhere like that, And I make it out.

And I see this gentleman sitting there and he's quite out of place because he's by himself, you know, in a waiting room like that. And he jumps up when he sees me and I assume that's because of, he recognizes me and my brother and I favor each other and he takes note of that and says something to that effect.

And the way he spoke to me was so insensitive. That was the first moment I was able to let my. [00:50:00] Because there was no one around and he was like, where's, Andrea's what's going on? And I told him, I, I told him, I sent her, I said, back there, I said, he's not going to make it. He was shot. And the reaction from this gentleman was odd.

Someone that you live with that are supposed to be quote, unquote, close friends with their best friends with, I found it odd. His first comment. Were I told him not to hang out with those people. I told him not to. And he started like flipping out a little bit in the waiting room. And I remember just being like, what a selfish.

I'm his sister, I'm his family. He's got his girlfriend back there with their family. My family is on the way our family is on the way. And you're sitting here chastising my brother for who he decided to hang out with. [00:51:00] And I looked at him and I said, you know, you knew these people and you told him this and he's.

Yes. Yeah. Yeah. I knew them and they were just, they weren't good people. I told him not to hang out with them. He just never would ever listened to me. He would never do this. And he just started talking to me this way to me,

the one who was already mourning a loss. And I'm sure you all have had something like that happened to, I like to call them the incentive. They just have no clue. And in that moment too, I also knew how toxic my brother's life had become, and it broke my heart all over again. And I knew I needed to get back to that, to that little piece of love that was in that room.

And I looked at him and I said [00:52:00] his name, and I said, you listened to. I don't give a damn what you said. I said some more choice words, but we'll keep it a little Fiji for this. I don't care. What you said to him what's done is done. I said, my brother is back there fighting for his life when he will not win.

And you have the audacity to come in here and speak to me like that. I am his sister. I love him. And you. And he begged me to come back there. He had the audacity to ask to come see him and be back there after chastising him for the people. He hung out with the things that he did when this particular individual was clearly not sober either.

And like, I, like I often say to others and now I'm sharing very openly on [00:53:00] this podcast. I'm not. Painting an angel of my brother, nor am I painting a demon I've of his roommate, but there's a time and a place for things. And for you to know that my brother is dying, he's not going to make it. And we're back there giving love, and you want to come back there and you're not family.

I don't even know who you are. And your opening statements were to chastise. For his choices and not give me open information and not address me formally or, or kindly, or, or any of those things. This was all within just three hours, if even that. And I couldn't believe it, I couldn't believe it. And I told him, you know, he's like, why did you want to come back there and see you?

I said, you're not coming back. I said, [00:54:00] you need to leave his stuff alone in the house. I'll come get it. At some point, there were quite a few other words exchange again, it's that, it's the trauma that only those of us who go through the trauma and loss that can really understand that you're in that moment.

You're just like, I can't believe this is happening. Like I got to shut this off. This is so toxic. I had to get back to what really mattered and he became aggressive. And as I turned away, I was like, we're done. Well deal with the other stuff. Now I need to go be with my brother and walked away and he screamed at me and called me every name in the book, the, an effing B and all these horrible things.

And I turned around to him and I was just security who were already on it. And I told him that if he didn't get out of that, I was going to take care of it myself, if you know what I'm saying, I had that much rage in [00:55:00] me. I told him I was going to kill him. I mean, I didn't really mean it. Come on. But I was that mad who has the audacity to show up like that.

And you know, critics may say, people may say, oh, it was his friend. He was checking on him, a friend doesn't come in. And hear that your friend is essentially dead and attack your sister, but before even going into that attack your choices, no one deserves what happened to my brother and that made you a bad person.

And so. I remember just watching from behind me security, take him out. Cause he was deranged and I was running and I felt somewhat scared at that point too, because, [00:56:00] and also relieved, but I was like, wow, what was he? What was going on with him? But he had lived with someone like that and. Gentleman had told me about keys to his own room.

And so like there were keys and I didn't care about any of that. None of that matter. I really thought he had a friend out there that genuinely like loved him and wanted to see him. So as I walked through those halls, I felt no remorse about what I said. And I still don't to this day, because what he said was awful.

And if he was really my brother's friend, I'm not saying that he could have prevented what happened to him, but why didn't he tell other people, why didn't he tell other, you know, there's things you can do. No one knew he was in those situations with these people. So I find that very interesting, and that's not a friend and why come to a hospital and make a scene.

So I needed to be back. [00:57:00] I needed to go back. I needed to go back to the love. And so I did, and I went back into that room and. As I was looking to be back in that room with love. I was greeted by my brother's girlfriend, you know? They were only allowing certain people back and I'm the family. So they asked and I said, they, this was pre COVID times guys.

So I said, of course the whole family could come back. So the whole family was back there. Uh, the father came back and forth and I, I didn't really interact much with the father until later until the, the girlfriend's father told me. Which was interesting in a very positive way, but a wonderful family was really his girlfriend and the brother that were there.

But at that point I was greeted with the first detective on the case to give me the details of what was happening. And so I re I really had to go from [00:58:00] one emotional situation. Really charged. I was really upset. I felt like I hadn't protected my brother and had failed him as a sister. And now I was walking into, you know, having to talk to this detective and hear this story.

And I really had to change my hats there. And I had to go back into take charge mode and go into, you know, dealing with this. And I really did. My brother's girlfriend to, to hear this. And, you know, also I had been fielding these calls from my family and, and helping with plants. So I went into my mode of function and I began the conversation with the detective to try to uncover what was really happening and what had really happened.

Thank you so much [00:59:00] for listening to the surviving siblings podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, as much as I did creating it for 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.

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