My older brother, Clyde, was 24 when he shot himself in the head. His death was hard for me because I had already lost my older middle brother, Johnny, three and a half years earlier in a Navy Jeep accident. When Clyde died, I became an only child.
As a young girl, I had witnessed prom season with awe. As the years passed, the excitement over prom dates and dresses dwindled. By the time of my junior prom, my parents had moved from my hometown to another state. But Clyde drove to see me dressed in my fancy dress and my boyfriend in his suit. Clyde wiped tears from his eyes, saying I was “all growed up now.” He made me feel special and loved.
He died two weeks later.
With his death I became old for my age. I quit my religion. My parents were inaccessible. Without an older brother to look up to, I lost my compass. I was no longer a sister.
Perhaps the most painful legacy of Clyde’s suicide is the death of his son, Andy, age 32. He shot himself in the heart.