Everything is so clear but yet blurry at the same. When it's time to say our last goodbyes, we often find ourselves in disbelief. Disbelief that this is actually happening, disbelief that this is the last time that we will ever see our sibling again....
Everything is so clear but yet blurry at the same. When it's time to say our last goodbyes, we often find ourselves in disbelief. Disbelief that this is actually happening, disbelief that this is the last time that we will ever see our sibling again.
This week I’m sharing how things were after my father arrived from Africa, more pieces of information we got from the detectives as well as my last goodbye to my brother.
In this episode I’m covering:
For full episode show notes and transcript, click here
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[00:01:03] The first 24 hours after my brother had been shot and I was in the hospital with him and family was coming in and this drama was happening. And so much information was flying at me. And I had seen so much, I, it was a blur. And it's also so clear and I think only people who have gone through something very [00:01:30] traumatic or.
[00:01:32] Loss or situation like this, which is all traumatic. I would really understand what I mean. And I had mentioned before that I had this great job I was in and I had been filming this reality show where I was dating and I left it for the second time. And now I was dating this other gentleman who knew what was going on.
[00:01:55] And he ended up coming to sit with me [00:02:00] at the hospital through the second night, as I was waiting for my father. He came to bring items for my family. So they were comfortable. We had everybody there. My father was going to be there soon. He came for maybe an hour or two, and things were already pretty heated between the family tensions were high.
[00:02:20] We weren't all doing. With the loss the same way. And he came and sat with me because he knew I was gonna wait for my, for my dad. I [00:02:30] was going to wait for him. And we sat there and he took my hand and he said, I don't want to remember your brother, just meet your brother like this. I want you to tell me about him.
[00:02:46] And I did. And when. Talked about that for an hour or two. And then he left all the bedding and everything and for my family and. Brought food and any left. [00:03:00] And then I was with my angel nurse and she commented how kind he was. And, you know, I told her my situation was quite different than my two other sisters who were married and I wasn't.
[00:03:14] And so not everybody was thrilled with this situation and flash forward, my sister, that was another reason she was furious with me and didn't think it was right that I had. My quote-unquote new boyfriend at the hospital with me. But [00:03:30] one thing that I thought was really beautiful and sweet, and I, I always remember this is that I think you can relate to this too, as a surviving sibling, or if you've again, been through trauma, sometimes the chain of events during this time can get a little mixed up, but this is essentially what was going on.
[00:03:49] And my brother in law. Of my, so he's married to my youngest sister and I don't want to use their names just to be respectful of them [00:04:00] because they, they don't like to talk about this story, but this is my story, and this is Andreas a story. And it's important to me that my brother lives on and people know this story.
[00:04:11] And that's why I'm telling it, even though it's really difficult, even for me to talk about this five years afterwards, I think it always will be, but I remember my sister, she was 20 at the time, my youngest sister and her husband around the same age, they got married quite young. And I remember [00:04:30] him telling me that he told my other sister.
[00:04:33] And my other brother-in-law, which I don't know that he necessarily had a strong opinion. So he kind of just was there with my sister and I actually have absolutely zero hard feelings towards him whatsoever. He was supporting his wife. I understand that completely, but I remember my, my younger brother-in-law, uh, we'll just keep it at that telling me that he he's like, I stood up for.
[00:04:58] He's like, why is it fair that [00:05:00] everybody else can bring people and have people support them? And you have been up with your brother two nights in a row, been here, not sleeping. And why can't you have someone to support you if this is who you're seeing now? He's already here and showing up for you. Why, why can't, why can't you have that?
[00:05:23] That's not right. And I just remember looking at him and going, wow, like you've got a really beautiful heart and I was really happy for [00:05:30] my, my youngest sister. I knew that she was, I always knew she had married someone really, really kind. Um, and she's a very kind person. And so that's a moment that makes me emotional still to this.
[00:05:42] 'cause he, he was right. I did deserve that. And it was sad because this, this guy, even though it wasn't who I ended up with, he was definitely meant to be my friend at that moment and be there for me. And we had a beautiful moment as really just friends looking back on it, but I [00:06:00] had support and I, and I think my brother-in-law too for being supportive as well, because with.
[00:06:06] The fighting continued the following day because they were not happy about this in certain people. It became ironic the situation for a couple of reasons. But the first thing I had an issue with was that the focus was being pulled away from my brother. Everyone should have been there because they wanted to have a moment with my brother and be there for him, say goodbye to him in whatever way they [00:06:30] believed they needed.
[00:06:32] And I just felt like that was getting so convoluted. And so now we were focused on the fact that this really kind guy that was in my life, brought a couple of things to the hospital and was there for me to listen and be my friend when I felt like I had no one, what was wrong with that? A 20 year old could see that.
[00:06:51] There was nothing wrong with that. And I'm grateful for that. And I think as a surviving sibling, you will have those people in your life too. You've probably already had them in [00:07:00] your life, whether it's a new loss or you've been dealing with this for years, but you have those moments where you're like, oh, thank you for that.
[00:07:06] Thank you for being that person. And that was an intense night too, because I was getting him, my brother. Ready to see my father and our, I don't even know if it was even quite night, two completely, because it was just getting later the time when you're not sleeping, going through that. Again, very convoluted, but my angel nurse came in and she would wash my brother [00:07:30] up and I explained to her, you know, my father's coming and she's like, yeah, he needs to be cleaned up.
[00:07:34] And so I'll never forget this. And this is another graphic I like to warn people when there's a graphic moment coming up. But these, again, these nurses are just incredible. I don't know how. Do what they do. So if you're listening and you're a nurse doctor, I mean, you guys are incredible. I, I just, I could ever do this, but she asked me, she said, do you want to help me wash your brother's face and his hair and stuffing and get him ready?
[00:07:59] And [00:08:00] she wasn't just talking about for my dad. She was talking about, for him to complete. Pass and without hesitation, I just, it's almost like you're just going with everything and I sit up. Absolutely. Yes. And so her and I together, like in this moment of. Beautiful silence and sadness and sorrow. And this was after my friend had had left.
[00:08:25] So this, this was completely private. There was nothing going on that would [00:08:30] have been triggering it. And that's why I was always so confused about why everyone was so angry at me and the confusion ensued even more later on, but we watched and my brother and re bandaged him. And I think I was able to do that because I had seen him.
[00:08:45] In the state he was in, when he came in and watched him essentially pass in that way and then go onto the life support. But I'll never forget washing his hair again, very graphic washing his hair. And it, it went from this like red color back to his [00:09:00] brown, black hair. And I remember combing his hair and that was really the first time that I cried.
[00:09:09] And I felt like I was allowed to cry and it's making me cry. Now. It is, I felt safe with her and just a little less alone too. Those people were very special to me and I stayed awake again through the night and then my father eventually arrived and he, he got to spend time with my brother and I. [00:09:30] Really different when my dad got there, which was interesting.
[00:09:33] I remember I wasn't really supposed to be sleeping in my brother's room, but my angel nurse, she let me, she let me just stay there. And I didn't sleep. I had this lab checker pillow that my friend had had left me and I was just laying on that and just stare. And I just watched him and I'd watch them come in for the check-ins and waited and had my phone on me for my father.
[00:09:56] And these were the longest minutes moments [00:10:00] hours of my life, because it was just so tough to feel. Alone, but it was also like, I was trying to hold on to every single moment, every single second at the same time. So it's a weird feeling. It's a weird thing to describe to you because it goes on for so long, but yet it feels like there was no time at all.
[00:10:24] It feels like I was in there for weeks and it feels like I was with him for only a [00:10:30] minute and only had a minute to say goodbye. It's this simultaneous weird thing that. Go through when you're going through this loss and I've heard other surviving siblings talk about it a little bit, because each story is unique.
[00:10:46] But I remember feeling that and I just, I didn't want to let him go. I felt like if I physically let him go, that was going to be it. And morning came. And my sister came back from the hotel and family members came back in to see him [00:11:00] and, you know, things were happening and I was really overly exhausted at that point, even even worse again, was given some medicine to try to keep me, honestly get me tired and it didn't work.
[00:11:13] And I remember being just really overly exhausted. And I remembered something as I was sitting there over my brother and my mother was actually in the family type area. We were moved from one area to another. [00:11:30] And this is when we were in the upper area. And this was a really crazy moment because I remember flashing forward.
[00:11:38] It was like this flash forward in front of my eyes type of thing. And I thought for a second, it was like my exhaustion, or, but I remembered this very vivid dream I had had more than once in. About my brother and it all came flashing forward. The type of car that he had had, the places he would live, the things that would happen.
[00:11:58] My father [00:12:00] coming in to find him dead. And I saw cause none of us knew actually where he was residing at the time of his death. I saw where he was living. I knew exactly where he was living and. It was, it had been in these dreams and I was like, I am either totally losing it. I'm exhausted. I'm not sure.
[00:12:24] But I remember running down the other corridor now, like this other corridor [00:12:30] to this top area where the family can be. It's, it's a little bit lighter and brighter up there as I was saying. And I remember pulling my mind. And we weren't, again, weren't on the best of terms, but I was hoping this would bring us together, not pull us apart, but obviously all this drama was going on and more would ensue.
[00:12:48] And I told her, I said, mom, mom, mom, I really need to talk to, I need you. I need you to, like, I was freaking out a little bit. And so I pulled her out. I said, do you remember. I was like hyperventilating. I said, do you remember [00:13:00] when I had those dreams? And she's like, yes, yes, yes. She kind of was brushing me off with it.
[00:13:04] Cause there was a lot going on. And, and I, you know, I got that, but I, I told her, I said, I know where he lives. I know where his house is. He lives off this side road, near where we're from actually in our hometown. I said, it's a trailer. I said, I saw him. He had passed away. This was years ago. I said, I know where I know where it is.
[00:13:22] I know where he lives. And I think she thought I had totally lost my. I described it to a T I know exactly where it was. I knew [00:13:30] it. And I guess, you know, to her, it wasn't relevant, but for me, all this was flashing forward. And I had known, I had known somehow that I was going to lose my brother and those dreams, you know, sometimes we think dreams are, they don't matter.
[00:13:46] I think some people think that I have always thought my dreams mattered in some ways, but. Pretty prolific. And it was a prophecy in some ways. And I do believe that looking back on it now, cause I had it [00:14:00] more than once and there were a lot of accuracies in it. And even in those dreams, my brother actually had driven me up to the front of a courthouse and I ended up getting married in a courthouse and my husband and I went and got married in a courthouse.
[00:14:13] And I did not remember that until I started to recall this story to tell you on this podcast. So there were so many elements, just like it was kind of showing. Again, very poignant moments. And that dream all came back to him. And we had been asked, when do you know where he lives? Do you [00:14:30] know where he and boom, it just all came to me and it was brushed off.
[00:14:33] I didn't feel like it was received. And I know there were bigger things happening, you know, my father had. My mom had her boyfriend there again, they didn't like the fact that I had someone, this is more on my sister who is just below me in age. It caused a lot of tension. She was upset. She didn't feel like it was appropriate.
[00:14:51] That a stranger was in the room. And thank goodness for my younger brother-in-law. And I remember him once my father had gotten there and [00:15:00] stuff, he said, that's good. Let's go out. Let's leave. I didn't want to leave. I didn't want to leave this hospital. I was chained to the hospital in a sense. I just could not leave.
[00:15:09] And he's like, Maya, you need to, I had a really good relationship with him and at the time, and he said, you've got to leave. Like you got to go home, you got a shower, got to take a breath. And he was right. He, so he took me back to my condo, which was. Far from Grady and I took a shower and he's like, I'm going to pour you like a little glass of [00:15:30] wine.
[00:15:30] Get in the shower, reset a little bit. And I got in the shower and I just lost it. It was the first time I really, truly cried. Like I had teared up and I choked up and I had, but no, like I lost it, lost it broke down. In a movie scene, showers dripping all over me and I'm on the floor crying. And I had never understood what people were talking about when they have post-traumatic [00:16:00] stress and they smelled things and things would come back to them.
[00:16:04] But I could not get the smell again, graphic moment, but I could not get the smell of my brother's blood. Out of my nose. I couldn't get it off of my hands. I couldn't get it off. I was in that shower for so long. And I remember just washing and Washington washing it. I had heard about this from people before, but I did not know this was like this, this intense to this day.
[00:16:27] I will still have that [00:16:30] smell come into my life. It's. Is really the only way to describe it. And I just couldn't get it, get it away. Like I couldn't, it was with me. And I started to realize that was probably. It was trauma. I was going through and I quickly changed as fast as I could. And I'm like, okay, let's go back.
[00:16:49] I'm telling my brother, let's go back. Let's go back. I w I was obsessed. I had to be there. I just felt like I could not leave. And he actually ran a light and, uh, almost got a ticket. We had to [00:17:00] explain that my brother was, oh my gosh, at Grady. And you know, wasn't gonna make it. And. Oh, this I go by that light sometimes still in downtown Atlanta.
[00:17:08] And I always think about that moment and just the care that he gave to me and I, it was, it was kind, I think, as a surviving sibling and going through this, you always remember the people that are kind to you and the kinds of things that they do. And when we got back there, my father was there and spending time with my brother and we were kind of.
[00:17:28] Trading time as a family and [00:17:30] I didn't want to leave. And my dad was really lecturing me a lot about, you know, needing to sleep. Cause I looked like hell, it was rough. It was really rough. It was not easy. And after being judged for so many different things about my personal life and how I was dealing with this with my brother and the obsession of me wanting to be with him the whole time, I didn't want to leave his side.
[00:17:50] And just so many different things, so many different angles. I come back to find out that. My mother and her boyfriend, he's [00:18:00] being allowed to be in the room with my brother. And they're not even really together at this time. So she has falsified their relationship because she didn't want to go by herself to see her son who was now on life support and was going through.
[00:18:17] And I will never forget being in so much shock. It was bad enough that he was there and a part of this, but I couldn't believe that I was the one being judged and ridiculed [00:18:30] for having just someone there for an hour or two and bringing things and being supportive of the family and left and let us, let us be a family, but I was there strong on my own and she couldn't even.
[00:18:42] She couldn't do that. She had to get on a plane and falsify the fact that they were in a relationship when they were not anymore. But I believe that they did in the future get back together. I don't know, to this day what their status is. It doesn't matter, but he was allowed to be in that room, [00:19:00] but someone who was kind and a good person and in my life was not, it was heartbreaking.
[00:19:07] It was like one heartbreak after another one betrayal after. And the detective comes back in to our life's again, not the kind one from the very beginning. And this is when things got interesting because I was pretty again, exhausted, but the hanger had started to really set in with me and he brought us all [00:19:30] into a room.
[00:19:31] Anyone who is a drug, you know, family member. So it was me, my father, my mother, my sisters were in there and he starts telling a more detailed story than what he had told before. And he's explaining that, no, it's not this rifle anymore. That was shot and ricocheted and hit my brother in the face and hit this guy on the leg.
[00:19:55] No, there's a different story now, now. The [00:20:00] gentleman, as he calls him is not known to be such a great guy. He was producing a video with my brother and my brother had been with him for a couple of days. And he was going to pay my brother allegedly like $600, which is nothing to do something like this. He was known for paying his actors like $25 a day, which is that.
[00:20:21] He was not a good guy. And that started to come to light. There was private pictures shown of him and they're in the videos it's it was [00:20:30] hard to hear, but the fact that the story had now shifted and he had a shotgun and he had a rifle and like, that was the story. But now he had a pistol in his holster and it went off accidentally.
[00:20:46] In his holster and hit my brother in the face and ricocheted the story was all changing. And so I went again into my mode of get to the no take charge. I [00:21:00] thank God, had showered reset and was able to, I guess, get to the note and do this a little bit. And I started asking some questions to this detective and I said to him, hang on a second.
[00:21:11] I mean, I was like shaking. I still shake to this day because of. And I told him, I said, okay, so you're telling me, this guy has done all these things wrong. You've now figured this out. You told me 24 or so hours ago, you thought they were upstanding guys. Now I'm hearing a very different story. Now I'm hearing [00:21:30] all these things.
[00:21:31] Now I'm also hearing that there was a different gun that was shot off. I also would like to know why on a movie set, would you have real guns and prop guns? Tell me isn't necessary to have. Real guns on the scene of this. I mean, it's not like this major movie. I mean, it was literally not necessary for this.
[00:21:53] And he confirmed that. I was right. And I said, so you don't think that this is odd that at [00:22:00] the end of this film, my brother is just all of a sudden shot after spending days with these. And reported actors have not been paid for their work. So I was just firing off question after question and he sat there, they finally looked at me and he was like, yeah, because they actually could, uh, confiscated or this is what he said, a van full of prop guns.
[00:22:25] Well, if there were all these prop guns, what were they doing with real guns? Why [00:22:30] was there a gun going off at the end of filming? The story is that my brother was showing the footage and the film had. And then the shot happened. I fired off so many questions directly telling him this doesn't add up. I put the whole story together and I will never forget my mother looking at me going, oh my God, because I hadn't, I didn't know the whole story.
[00:22:56] I hadn't figured everything out, but I knew [00:23:00] my brother had been murdered. I knew this. Not just a homicide. This was not accidental. This was a murder. I knew it in my heart and my soul. And this detective kept coming back with different versions of the story. And now he's showing us pictures and showing us things about this gentlemen and his crew that were things you didn't want to hear in a situation like this.
[00:23:25] And when I was able to sit there and stump. And [00:23:30] tell him that I don't know everything in the world about guns, but your story from earlier, you've now changed the type of weapon or gun I should say. And how in the world would a gun shoot through the holster and then actually ricochet and hit this guy.
[00:23:47] Then also directly hit my brother in the cheek and kill him on contact. And he sat there and looked at me. He had no answers. He knew what these guys have. And I'll never forget my mom saying, [00:24:00] damn, I should've been an attorney. And I don't know if it really was about that. I just always wanted to know the truth and get to the truth and know the answers.
[00:24:09] And I don't think everybody else was in the same place at that time as me. They still aren't to this day, but I wasn't wrong. But talking to that detective was very tough and it was, I think, very uncomfortable for my father to at that time, but it would definitely. Definitely change as time went [00:24:30] on, he was squeamish the detective.
[00:24:32] I was given his information and we kind of had that last reconvening meeting where he couldn't give all the answers. And he was called out on a lot of holes in the story and they were going to take care of it. And I knew in my, in my stomach and my gut, that feeling, which, you know, if you've lost a sibling that you love and you have that feeling that.
[00:24:52] Oh, you just feel like something's not going to be taken care of or someone just isn't isn't caring the way you're carrying like that feeling. It's indescribable. [00:25:00] I knew it and I'll never forget staring at him and walking out of there so angry. But again, I had to refocus. I had to remember, this was about my brother.
[00:25:09] This was about me spending every moment possible I could with him. And so I returned again to be with him. And my father did get to see. Of course, my brother was unable to. Speak to any of us. He was completely on life support. I never had to make the call about resuscitating him. He was [00:25:30] able to stay on the life support and we made decisions in that same room where we had to talk to that detective about donating his organs and what we were going to do.
[00:25:39] And we did, and we donated the ones that were eligible to be donated, obviously with the gunshot wound. Everything couldn't be, but majority of his organs could be, which was a wonderful thing to find out and definitely something he would have wanted. And I'm sure he's happy today, knowing that that has.
[00:25:59] And as time went [00:26:00] on, they, they told us late, late, late on the 21st, my father, oh. He had been begging me to go to sleep. My whole family. They had set me up in the corner of the room and the family were like downstairs several times trying to get me to sleep, like when they would change over my brother's room and stuff.
[00:26:17] And I just, I couldn't do it. I couldn't. I just had to be with him. I really cherish those two nights where I just got to be with him. I, myself, his girlfriend was there a majority of the [00:26:30] time too. Um, not in those moments when I was alone with him and stuff, but she was there a good bit. And. It was really wonderful to sit there and get to know her.
[00:26:41] That was a relationship that I, you can't go back and change things in life. You can't, but I am so grateful that I was able to meet her and build a relationship with her. She was quite young at the time she was 21, I believe. And I did stay in touch for, for [00:27:00] while she. To move on with her life at some point, but it was really wonderful hearing the things she had to say.
[00:27:07] And I remember a couple of things. I remember her sitting next to me telling stories and just about little things, but I remember her looking at me in a moment. I think realizing that I, I mean, I was just so sad and so heartbroken. I didn't want to leave that room. And she looked at me and she said, you know, address talked about you all.
[00:27:26] And Andre has told me how much he loved you. And he [00:27:30] told me all the stories about you guys growing up and how close you were. And he, he still loved you Maya. And he still felt that way about you. And I hope you know that. And that was another moment when you have those moments as a surviving sibling, she was another angel in my, in my life, really at that time.
[00:27:49] And even more so as things progressed. By that evening. But lately the 21st really went into the 22nd, but he was [00:28:00] officially declared dead on the 21st of November. So we had to leave the room. It was like midnight. So going into the 22nd and would have been another night there and they were ready, they were going to take him away.
[00:28:12] And so we had to say goodbye, and we all stood there and it wasn't everybody. This was one of the most shocking. Parts of this story of this part of the loss story, because my sister who had strongly [00:28:30] chastised me for some of my decisions, which I will never understand to this day. And I just try to come from a different place now in my life with empathy, and you can feel how you want to feel, and I'm going to feel how I want to feel.
[00:28:41] And that's kind of just life and accept each other. She decided to leave and never really said goodbye in the way that. I would think you would want to, I can understand. I I've heard a lot of stories and I've not read quite a few stories to where people don't want to state up until the end. I get that, but I [00:29:00] never got why she just left.
[00:29:02] And she never spent even a single moment, like alone with him. Maybe it was fear. Maybe it was a lot of things, but her story is not my story and that's not my story to figure out, but it was confusing to me. Very confusing. My mother's story. Very confusing. To this day and it, it continues to be throughout the story as I tell it, but we were there together, my mother, her non boyfriend, whatever he [00:29:30] was.
[00:29:30] Um, my father was right next to me and my sister and her husband, my youngest sister, and her husband and my uncle and aunt. And there's always like a chaplain or a pastor or whatever it is in the, in there in the hospital. You guys probably know that kind of stuff better than me. And we said a prayer and quote unquote said, goodbye.
[00:29:49] And my sister, my youngest sister left the room and she was bawling. And with her husband, of course, to support her and my mother left as well and [00:30:00] on my uncle and aunt and my father and I just stood there. I could not leave. I couldn't move. My legs could not move. I couldn't let go. I could not let go of him.
[00:30:12] I don't know how to describe this. Feeling of like magnet to the floor, to his arm. I couldn't. And my father was like, you ha we have to go. We have to leave. And my dad basically [00:30:30] pulled me out of the room and pulled me like around the corner. And I just collapsed because I knew I would never physically see my brother ever again, after weighing on him for three days.
[00:30:42] And that was really a moment. It was really a moment. And for anyone who knows me and I'll, I'll talk more about this through my story. My relationship with my father throughout the years was not good. He wasn't really around when I was young and we had a lot of highs and a lot of lows, and we [00:31:00] really didn't come back together until my mid twenties when he had actually really engaged with me.
[00:31:06] And I visited him in New York. He lives in Africa and. He really took responsibility for a lot of things that he fell short on his father. For sure. And we weren't, again, we weren't particularly close, but I had forgiven him for everything and I loved him and I still do. I love my father and I, I think forgiveness is, is a really important thing in life.
[00:31:29] And I [00:31:30] remember in that moment, It just meant so much to me that he stepped up like that and I really didn't feel alone. And I felt like my brother was there with us, but I F I just collapsed into him. And that was the longest walk I've ever had back to my car. And my dad was with me and we took him to the hotel and everyone was staying at my place except for my sister.
[00:31:55] Who's just a year younger than me and her husband. They had already returned home. [00:32:00] So I had a full. And I wasn't sleeping still. I just sat there. I sat there all night and I ended up walking to my father's hotel the next morning to have breakfast with him and all of my exhausted glory and morning, my brother, the only way I knew how just continuing to keep living and keep being awake, because I think I felt if I went to sleep, it would all become way too real.[00:32:30]
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