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Today is the saddest day of the year for me. #6546473
05/30/19 09:57 AM
05/30/19 09:57 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,486
Ames, IA
MikeTraps2 Offline OP
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MikeTraps2  Offline OP
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,486
Ames, IA
Today is the saddest day of the year for me. IN 2013 I lost my younger brother Matthew on this day.

Here is that story:
I've written about my brothers death and have just about finished it.

“That call you never wanted happened call me ASAP Mom” I stared at my phone disbelievingly, my eyes welled up, my ears started ringing like the bells of St Mary’s and it felt as if an elephant has suddenly taken a seat on my chest. I blinked several times trying to clear my eyes, hoping against hope I had misread the message my mother had just sent me. But, no those ten small seemingly insignificant words were still there staring at me on the screen. I felt lightheaded and sick to my stomach as I read and reread the message wondering what had happened? When? Where? Why wasn’t I there to help? The only questions I didn’t have to ask were who and how.

I got out of my chair woodenly and shuffled zombie like to my supervisor’s office and told him what was going on. Finally, I went out on the patio; it was a warm sunny beautiful afternoon on May 30, 2013. The sun speckled my face warmly through the leaves and the gentle breeze dried the tears running down my cheeks. I wondered as I dialed my Mother’s number how could such a seemingly gorgeous day could suddenly look so dark and bleak to me.

As I heard the phone ringing, I thought to myself what the (This word is unacceptable on Trapperman) am I going to say to Mom? “Hello?” I heard her answer shaking, the tears barely held back. “Mom what happened?” I asked. “He’s gone Michael; he’s gone” she said to me breaking into ragged heart rending sobs. It was then that my worst fears were proven true, my little brother Matthew was no longer with us. She didn’t tell me how he died, because she knew that I was already well aware. Mom filled me in that Matthew’s friend Eddie had burst in the front door about an hour before screaming her name and telling her that he and other friends had found Matthew unresponsive and cold as ice in his bedroom at the rental house down the street where he lived. At that point there were no further details to be gotten and Mom was having trouble even talking at that point. I told her I loved her and would call her later.

After I hung up the phone with her I realized I had to make two very important phone calls. I shifted into “The Rock” mode where I felt I should and would bear the weight for everyone and try to comfort them all and be there for them. I had to call my good friend and Matthews best friend Charlie Bowers and Matthew’s and I Father who I knew was at work. I sat at the table on the patio at work thinking about how to break this terrible news to these two people I loved dearly.

I chose to call Charlie Bowers 1st as I knew I should be able to reach him more easily. I called him up and he answered with a happy and excited “Hey brother what’s up!” ”Charles, I need you to sit down, I got some bad news man” I told him. “What’s wrong man? Tell me what’s wrong” he pleaded. “Charles please sit down and I’ll tell you” I told him without emotions. “OK, OK I’m sitting” he said quietly. I could hear in his voice that he knew this was bad news and likely knew what I was going to say. “Charles, Matthews gone” I said blankly. “What? What? What do you mean he’s gone?” he said to me with his voice cracking. “He’s dead Charles; I don’t have any more details than that. It happened about an hour and a half ago” I told him. I could hear sobs and crying on the other end of the phone. “Charles? Charles? Are you ok?” I asked. “Michael, what can I do?” he asked me croaking through his tears. “I don’t know man, maybe go down to Mom & Charlie’s and see if you can help them, support them, or anything” I said to him hopefully. “OK, OK I’ll do that, I’ll go see if I can help out your Mom” Charles said to me. “That sounds good man, hang in there brother, love ya, call me if you need to” I said then I hung up.

Now for the most difficult thing I had to do, I had to call our Father. I tried the line for his company but got the voicemail as it was after hours. I tried the cellphone number I had for him but got no answer. I tried his house and got his wife Linda. “I really have to talk to Dad it’s an emergency!” I told her “Do you have any other number I can use to try and reach him. “Did you try his company cell phone? She asked. I assured her that I had tried that with no answer. She said there was an emergency number I could try but that his cell phone was a better choice. I hung with her and tried calling Dad’s cell again. “Hello?” I heard Dad answer; thank God I reached him I thought. “Dad I need you to sit down’ I said to him. “Why? What’s going on? He asked. “Please Dad just sit down” I begged “OK I’m sitting now” he said calmly. I didn’t know how to tell him the horrible news I had. “Dad, Mathew’s dead” I said calmly as I could. “Pop? Michael? What do you mean he’s dead, no, no what?’ He said in confusion and sorrow. I could hear the strain in his voice as he tried to keep it together as I explained to him all I knew at the time. “OK Dad I love you and I’ll keep you updated with more news as time goes on, I love you and will talk to you later’ I told him. He said he loved me too and we hung up.

I found myself driving home that evening; I don’t even remember getting in my truck however. All the way home I kept asking myself, how could this have happened to my loving, sweet, big hearted, long haired, hippy dippy styling little brother? What more could I have done to have prevented this? Was there something I had done to him in our past that lead to this event? I arrived home sooner than I had thought and staggered into the house.

As I wandered in the living room Teagan and Jeni both asked me what was wrong as the pain and sadness was clearly etched on my face. “Matthew’s gone” I choked out “He’s dead.” They both looked at me not seeming to hear or believe me. Teagan had tears welling up in her eyes, as I sat down on a chair and started sobbing like a small child. I am not sure if they tried talking to me at first or not if they did I didn’t hear them over the hum and ringing in my ears. After I regained a sense of place I tried to answer the questions, when, where and how? Though they like I really didn’t need to answer the last one as we all knew how. He died of an opiate overdose!

My brother always struggled with addiction from a young age 13 or 14. At first it was like most teens drinking a bit here and there smoking some dope, but gradually slowly almost imperceptivity it increased in regularity and severity. He dabbled with cocaine, LSD, pills, and one of his favorites mushrooms. After he graduated high school he used the hard drugs more and more trying to kill some internal pain that he either couldn’t verbalize or even recognize, but he tried to kill the pain or at least drown it out every day. His frequent drugs use made it hard for him to hold a job and when he finally had a good one, even though they put him through rehab he still continued to use drugs and lost a very well-paying job with lots of seniority. He also lost his license several times and even had one of those breathalyzers on his steering wheel.

After my Grandmother (MomMom DiSalvo0 passed away in 2008 I knew this was going to be a bad time for Matthew. He had told me long ago “when she dies I am not sure I’ll be able to handle it.” Shortly after her death was his first overdose in the spring of 2008. From then until his death at the end of May 2013 he overdosed 5 more times. Several times he was just barely brought back from the brink of death. You would think that would be enough to get a person on the straight and narrow. But, Matthew always had to push his luck, thinking he knew better than anyone else what he could do and get away with both legally and with drugs, He was wrong as although he did OD on fentanyl the batch he got was 80 time stronger than normal, so his “normal dosage” was 80 times stronger then he anticipated. Judging by the way he was found and the unsmoked but burned out cigarette that burnt his neck badly he died almost instantly after taking the fentanyl (thank you Lord for small miracles).

A few days after his death I was flying home to attend his viewing and funeral. As I sat in the cramped seat of the plane at 30,000 feet my mind wandered. I asked myself time and again what had I done to make him act like this? What hadn’t I done that might have helped? Why had I chewed him a new (This word is unacceptable on Trapperman) the summer before over his drug use and abuse, and the fact my kids had hardly ever seen him totally sober? How could I have been a better brother, confidant, friend, or support that he needed when he needed it? Why didn’t he ASK for help!? I think all survivors of a loved one lost to an overdose ask themselves the same questions and never find the answers because we don’t have the answers, because there are never any real answers. The person we lost is the only one who knows what drove them to abuse drugs to the point it killed them, all we can do is guess but that is playing with fire. I say that because for us to guess at the reason is to put our feelings, thoughts, and emotions into the person we lost, and not let that person’s thoughts and feeling and emotions speak for themselves.

Those include our prejudices and attitudes toward people we feel did this, or that, or didn’t do what they should and that is how we feel, not the person we lost. Stop blaming others, this is hard because few of us want to blame our loved one for their death. The sad fact is our loved one is responsible for their death and the pain it is causing us, no one else. I miss my lil brother terribly but I am still super (This word is unacceptable on Trapperman) at him! He’s lucky I can’t grab him because I’d slap the ever-loving (This word is unacceptable on Trapperman) out of him for the pain he caused us, his loved ones, I’d hug him after, but he would get slapped silly first!

At his funeral I stood next to my Father and his wife while my Mom and Charlie (my stepfather but more of a Father than my biological one) and my sister Mary were closer to the casket. As the night wore on and more and more people came through the line, from low down dirty scoundrels, to very high class business men and other well to do’s. My Father leaned over to me toward the end of the viewing “(This word is unacceptable on Trapperman), did he know everyone in the county?” he asked me. “(This word is unacceptable on Trapperman) near Dad, he really did know (This word is unacceptable on Trapperman) near everyone and they all LOVED him dearly” I told my Father. The guestbook had over 500 signatures and I saw many people that attended the viewing but didn't sign the book.
One of the greatest gifts my brother had was to see the good in anyone, no matter how unsavory or undesirable the person was. People that the rest of the world wouldn’t trust as far as they could throw them, Matthew would befriend them, help them, and trust them, despite the numerous times he got burned in the process. One of the best examples I can give is Matthews friend Brett. Every time I or anyone I know saw or talked to Brett he was three sheets to the winds or higher than a kite. Brett was also unkempt in hygiene and appearance the vast majority of the time as well. Matthew being Matthew of course took Brett under his wing and looked after him when he could.

A few days after Matthews death, Brett called the house asking my Mom if he could talk to Matthew. My Mom had to break the bad news to Brett who broke down over the phone into inconsolable sobbing and crying. (He had no idea Matthew had passed away, and it was a total shock to him.) A few days after, Brett’s mother called my Mom and told her that Matthew had been a God send to Brett and had helped her son through many hard times and was one of his true friend. She expressed her thanks that Matthew had been in Brett’s life. A few months after the funeral Brett’s parents dedicated a peace garden in Matthew’s memory at the local rehabilitation center (Mirmont).

Driving back to Mom’s house after the viewing, I kept turning things over in my mind. I kept asking myself how many people’s lives had he touched? How many people had he influenced in a positive way? How many people’s lives had he brightened by being their friend, by being there when they needed someone to talk to, or helping them when no one else would?
After arriving back at Mom we all talked about Matthew and his life and some of our favorite stories about him and the things he’d do to be funny. We talked long into the night and drank far too many beers to his memory.

The next day at his funeral, I was seated in the front row with Charlie, Mom, Mary and her boyfriend Chris. I looked around and saw Aunt and Uncles, cousins, neighbors and old friends, as well as many I had no idea who the (This word is unacceptable on Trapperman) they were.
The preacher got up and spoke about Matthew and told us things we already knew but one thing he said stood out. “Matt was the kind of person who would give you the shirt off his back” the preacher said. The audience nodded in approval that yes that is exactly the kind of person he was. “In fact he would give the pants as well and rundown the street naked!” the preacher remarked after we had acknowledged the shirt comment. This garnered lots of laughs but we all again nodded that yes he’d have given you his pants and run down the street naked, likely laughing all the way.

Then the preacher asked if anyone wanted to step forward and say a few words. I so badly wanted to step forward and say all the things I was thinking but I could not even say “I’d like to say a few things.” The mere thought choked me up and made my eyes well with tears. Now however I can put on paper what I’d have liked to said.

One thing I’d have liked to of said is a quote from a favorite move is mine “A River Runs Through It”. That movie strikes a chord with me because it is about two brothers who are taught fly-fishing by their Father. The older brother is a more down to earth, do what’s right, don’t act out to up type, while the younger brother is wilder and freer, wanting to push the rules and boundaries where ever and whenever he could. And sadly the younger brothers’ wild lifestyle also contributes to his early death as well. But the quote I would have liked to have said is –
“Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true, we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don't know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them - we can love completely without complete understanding.”

Would we have helped him if he had but asked? Of course we would have without a doubt. However, he would have never thought to ask despite knowing that we would have helped! We all looked at him as kind, sweet, loving and caring, but few saw that he was hurting inside badly and for a very long time.
After reading that piece, I would have liked to read Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”. Since Bob Dylan took his name from Dylan Thomas and was one of Matthews favorite artist would have been fairly symbolic.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my BROTHER, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I would have said “Matthew was such a light to so many people in dark places over the years. He brightened many of our lives as well as many of our days and nights. I will try to look for the good and or redeemable in people and to see the good or funny in any situation just at Matthew did and would. I will try to make sure that the light he spread will never go out. I am not sure about the rest of you but I will always RAGE AGAINST THE DYING OF HIS LIGHT!


Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure

Theodore Roosevelt
Re: Today is the saddest day of the year for me. [Re: MikeTraps2] #6546507
05/30/19 11:25 AM
05/30/19 11:25 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,819
Williamsport, Pa.
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jk Offline
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jk  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,819
Williamsport, Pa.
Beautiful post and I am sorry for your loss. I hope others in trouble will read this and learn from your loss. There is always hope for others in trouble if given the chance. Myself personally I can not understand drugs and the associated problems that it brings, I was raised in a different generation I guess. My sincerest condolences, I just hope it helps someone else......jk


Free people are not equal. Equal people are not free. Whats supposed to be ain't always is.
Re: Today is the saddest day of the year for me. [Re: MikeTraps2] #6546509
05/30/19 11:27 AM
05/30/19 11:27 AM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,378
East Pensyltucky
Beaglador Offline
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Beaglador  Offline
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East Pensyltucky
Too much for me to read without crying.

I answered the phone December 11, 1995 and was the first to learn of my brother's heroin od/ death.

When ya make it back to the homeland look me up- we will talk trapping!

Your writing is always well done.

Re: Today is the saddest day of the year for me. [Re: MikeTraps2] #6546510
05/30/19 11:33 AM
05/30/19 11:33 AM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 6,817
MT
snowy Offline
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snowy  Offline
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Stories like that I have a hard time to read. They are so sad but real and it just kills me inside to hear these kind of things. I'm with you all and my heart goes out to you.

Re: Today is the saddest day of the year for me. [Re: MikeTraps2] #6546514
05/30/19 11:58 AM
05/30/19 11:58 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 14,054
williamsburg ks
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danny clifton Online content
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danny clifton  Online Content
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Joined: Dec 2006
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williamsburg ks
I wish i were smarter and knew what to do about addiction. Has caused a lot of grief. The only thing i am sure of is that what we are doing is not working . I wish you and your family hadnt had such a horrible tragedy.


ban gun free zones
Re: Today is the saddest day of the year for me. [Re: MikeTraps2] #6546520
05/30/19 12:17 PM
05/30/19 12:17 PM
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 2,221
Michigan
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Ditchdiver Offline
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Ditchdiver  Offline
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Michigan
So sorry for your loss.
My little brother is going through the same thing. He has overdosed on (what we believe to be) fentanyl or heroin, 5 times in the last year. The last 3 times, my mother (who lives with him) had to give him C.P.R. to keep him breathing until the paramedics showed up. They had to give him 5 doses of Narcan to get him concious again. I live in Michigan and they live in North Carolina, so there is not much I can do.
I hate to say it, and it kills me inside, but........I almost expect that terrible phone call.
Your post really hits home.


When life gets me down..... you know hunting/trapping season is closed.
Re: Today is the saddest day of the year for me. [Re: Ditchdiver] #6546590
05/30/19 02:46 PM
05/30/19 02:46 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,486
Ames, IA
MikeTraps2 Offline OP
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MikeTraps2  Offline OP
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,486
Ames, IA
Ditchdiver I feel such great pity for you and your Mother. It is such a hard thing to see and watch and realize that YOU can't do anything to help. Only the addict can stop and make themselves stop, no matter how much we want and need them too.

If you ever need to talk drop me a line!

Mike


Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure

Theodore Roosevelt
Re: Today is the saddest day of the year for me. [Re: MikeTraps2] #6546593
05/30/19 03:03 PM
05/30/19 03:03 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
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Pa.
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Bigbrownie Offline
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Everyone who ODs was someone’s son, daughter, sister, brother, mother, father, friend, coworker etc. Their death leaves a huge hole in the lives of those they left behind. In time, the hole won’t seem as deep, but it will always be there. I wish you and your family peace as you continue to recover from this loss.


Last edited by Bigbrownie; 05/30/19 07:09 PM.
Re: Today is the saddest day of the year for me. [Re: MikeTraps2] #6546619
05/30/19 04:24 PM
05/30/19 04:24 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 607
PA
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w side rd 151 Offline
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PA
I have been through similar loss three times over in my own family .It is impossible to know what it is like unless you lived it .Mike Traps 2 you put into words so well all that comes with the loss of a family member to something so seemingly pointless .Those left to try to figure it out do so with a different state of mind than the person living it . We can not understand anymore than they can just stop .As Bigbrownie points out all those lost to addiction where someones family member . I do not ask for pity but try for a second to put yourself in the position of having lost someone to addiction . The reasons and causes of addiction and the resulting problems that go hand in hand are very complex. And the pain and grief that follows are more difficult to deal with than most other causes of death

Re: Today is the saddest day of the year for me. [Re: MikeTraps2] #6546639
05/30/19 05:12 PM
05/30/19 05:12 PM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 17,971
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adam m Offline
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Mike I'm sorry for your loss.

Re: Today is the saddest day of the year for me. [Re: MikeTraps2] #6546660
05/30/19 05:55 PM
05/30/19 05:55 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,474
TN
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RM trapper Offline
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TN
We lost my wife's sister 2 yr ago, and she left behind 3 beautiful children that we help with now. It's sad to see people go down that road, especially when you don't know how to help them. They don't realize how many people they hurt by living the life of an addict. Now these 3 beautiful children are growing up without a mother and their fathers are in and out of their lives as well because of drugs



Re: Today is the saddest day of the year for me. [Re: MikeTraps2] #6546669
05/30/19 06:30 PM
05/30/19 06:30 PM
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 208
new york
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mike mason Offline
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new york
Mike,very moving. I lost my nephew 5 years ago this month to heroin OD. He was in a bad accident and fractured his hip and pelvis and got hooked on pain killers.When he could no longer get them he tried heroin and died. I still can not make sense of his death. God bless you and your family.

Re: Today is the saddest day of the year for me. [Re: mike mason] #6546685
05/30/19 07:14 PM
05/30/19 07:14 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,974
Sauk County, WI
Patrice Offline
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God bless, Mike. It doesn't get any better - you just get better at it. Wonderful how you keep his memory alive.
Patrice


WTA District 9 Director ... Go D9!
Member: WTA, Intertel, Mensa (Trappers ain't stupid.)
Life Member: NRA
Re: Today is the saddest day of the year for me. [Re: MikeTraps2] #6546698
05/30/19 07:32 PM
05/30/19 07:32 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 378
ohio
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Mike, thoughts and prayers are sent from me.


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