My big brother was 14 months older then me. Like most siblings, we fought a lot growing up. When I was 14 and he was 15, I had a major surgery where I had all kinds of prescriptions in the house. A lot of the older boys that Tom went to school with, that Tom (in a way) looked up to, knew that I had received drugs. They mostly wanted the Vicaden, Tylenol with codien, and the valiums; but they'd take whatever was there.They got Tom to steal and to sell them. Then, he began with the drugs. His nickname in his yearbook under his picture actually reads: Tommy "Percuset". It's a battle that was kept under raps from my family until he was 21. That is when his addiction started to really get out of control. His temperament was incredible when he was coming down. I was actually pretty scared of him, when he was on it. He was a speed talker and in a great chatty mood. He did, though, get to a point where he wanted to be clean more then anything else in the world. He enlisted in the army and went to boot camp. This is right around the same time that he and I actually were getting close. The bickering ceased a bit. The army didn't exactly work though; he managed to get people to discreetly send him pills. The struggling that my parents, me and Tom himself went through to get him back on track was almost unbearable. During the last year of his life, I don't know what happened, but he became the best friend to me that I always wanted. Despite everything, I have looked up to him my entire life. He was staying in an apartment for a little while and I would always leave my families' house on holidays with leftovers for him and anything else I thought might cheer him up. When he started staying in motels, I was over hanging out with him pretty much every other day. He would borrow money and return it with extra the next time I saw him just to prove to me he wanted to keep our relationship in good status. We talked about things that we did when we were little with our cousins, he actually would fess up to things that he had done to me and others in the past. Instead of flipping out on him, I would help make a joke out of it. It was just so nice to have him there like old times. He was always the one to call and check on me when he knew things weren't going so well. When I didn't have a computer, he had me come to his hotel and he would have the people that worked there help me out with a printer and a fax. We called his room "my office" for a while. He did my oil change in the parking lot; he was my date for my friends' party so I wouldn't have to go by myself. He was, literally, my very best friend. Then all of a sudden, things changed. He wasn't returning my phone calls. He didn't want to hang out anymore. For the last two weeks of his life, I saw him once when he stopped at my work to borrow 20 dollars and he didn't look like himself. He had lost that shy grin, and his demeanor had changed. We found out later by a home drug test that my father had given him that he had been doing heroin. I can't even tell you home many times my brother looked me in the eye when we were having beers sitting outside having our summer night talks, and he would praise himself for never doing heroin. He would rather kill himself then do heroin. On September 8th, 2008, while I was at work, I got a phone call from these two "friends" of his (these two had Tom drive them around and in return they would buy him food and help pay for his room and give him drugs. These two are also heroin addicts). She proceeded to tell me that my brother was dead. She had told the cops that she was his sister, so they thought she was their "family contact". When I tried to call the cops myself to see what was going on, they wouldn't talk to me because they had assumed that the family was informed. I had to call my dad and tell him that his son was dead. The cops did in fact talk to him though. As hard as it was for me to hear the news, it was even harder to have to tell my parents. And, even harder still to have to live with the absence of the only person I will ever have in my life who knows me better then me. My brother had hung himself with his cloth brown belt by the bathroom door in his hotel room. Right before he did it; he left an unnerving voicemail on his wife's voicemail. She was in army training in Virginia. We heard it when she got back. It didn't sound like him. He was talking very crazy. He didn't overdose, but coming down off the heroin was so much stronger then the OxyContins and he couldn't get a hold of himself. It's been almost 2 months since he passed and I think I am still in denial. I hate that this drug was introduced to him. I hate that he didn't have the strength to say no, and I hate that he is probably so mad about what has happened now that he's got a clear head, wherever he is. I know there may be better brothers out there, but he was the only one I had and I love him more then words could ever portray.
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