...for all of the thoughts and prayers expressed to me and to my family over the past week. For anyone interested, my brother's obituary can be found directly below.
During the viewing and the funeral Mass, some folks said to me that I was "strong" and "taking this so well". Let me dispel both ideas: I wasn't. What helped my spirits though (and as I explained during the eulogy on Thursday) was the fact that I knew, very personally, just how much pain my brother Chris was in, particularly over this past year. Knowing that he had now found the peace that escaped him in this world, well that made the difference.
I want to also say thanks to a few others who were of tremendous help during this ordeal.
Reverend Patrick Albert, who is my/Chris' cousin, for coming right over to the house after Chris was found and for all of his support for the family and our spiritual needs during these difficult past few days. Pat is a credit to his collar.
Lackawanna County Deputy Coroner Louis C. Stefanelli, who went above and beyond during the initial hours after I found my brother. The county is lucky to have such a dedicated professional in its employ.
The Scranton Police Department - For their professionalism and concern on January 5th. You would be hard-pressed to find a better police force anywhere in the country.
Neil Regan Funeral Home, for the wonderful arrangements and the magic that they performed for my brother's viewing.
My Wife, for her unfailing support over the past year as I struggled to help my brother.
My Daughter Rebecca, for her professional advice and assistance over this past year. How wonderful is it when you can rely on your son/daughter for advice?
* * * * * *
It's always difficult when you lose a family member. I suspect that it's especially difficult though when you believe that the loss could have been avoided, which is how I feel about my brother Chris. Many of us will probably always wonder if we could or should have done more. Regardless, if you or a family member struggle with an addiction, just know that where there is help, there is hope...and there is a lot of help available. Don't give up.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Help Resources for Veterans
Addiction.Org: Help for the Family