My Brother…My Hero…Rest Peacefully

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I have fought and fought with myself about writing this post, because for some stupid reason, it brings finality, which is why I haven’t written for a while. Something has been tugging at my heart for a few days telling me to write this down, instead of continuing this endless war between my heart and my brain…I submit…here it goes.

My brother David was born when I was 15 years old. He was the love of my life the first moment I held him. Hell I even got to name him! We had a close connection from that moment on, one that even could be described as a parent to son relationship. I’ve been there for him through staples in the back of his head at 2 from a fall, broken arm at 7 from the playground, his mother’s alcohol addiction and verbal abuse, getting arrested, drug addiction, going into Army AIT boot camp and watching him graduate from Ft. Benning. We FB messaged while he was deployed into Iraq, sometimes during our chat we’d lose connection, and he’d come back telling me “Sorry sis, mortars flying over head”. (oh how I hated that) He was the first man in to clear a dwelling, he saved a brother when their Humvee blew up from an IED, he was respected and known as “The toughest mother fucker to have ever served”. When he honorably discharged from the Army, life became more difficult for him than I can really describe, unless you’re a Veteran that saw this type of combat, you know what I mean.

Upon going back home to dad’s house up in the mountains, he bought a new car,  entered college and started dating. That’s when the first signs of PTSD started to surface. Excessive anger, nightmares, hated public places, loud noises and started taking narcotics to ease his pain. This all started in 2011.

By 2013 he was so heavily into narcotics he dropped out of college, totaled his car and broke up with his girl friend. Stealing from family, friends and strangers to pawn items for money to buy his next fix. Finally, my dad got him to listen to him about going into rehabilitation. He entered a VA rehab and succeeded beautifully, was there for 6 months and was discharged and went back home to dad’s.

By March of 2014 he was using again and in serious legal trouble. Judge had mercy on him, sent him back to the VA for inpatient care again in September 2015. Then his mom died from an alcohol related infection September 29th. He left rehab for her funeral and to help dad; which caused him to start using again. At this point for not returning back to rehab he had a warrant out for his arrest. On December 4, 2015 dad found him on the front porch early that morning (Below freezing temps) not breathing and no pulse. He pulled him into the house, dialed 911 and started doing CPR on him. It appeared that David OD’d and the cold temps actually saved his life, along with dad’s quick actions. Only spent 3 days in the hospital, they discharged him and back out he went again to use. I was beyond furious with him and my dad. Dad knew of the warrant and refused to help the police catch up to him. The one thing I will not do is love an addict to death, I will not be that co-dependent person. The week before Christmas I had talked to my dad and he told me that David was home sleeping. I called the sheriff’s office and sent them up there to arrest him. I would rather see him in jail than overdose again, no one in my family knew I did this. They still don’t.

David got to spend Christmas 2015 in jail, the sheriff’s office coordinated transportation and got him back up to the VA rehab for a minimum 6 month treatment program. This time…something clicked! Right away I mailed him a bible, pictures of his nephews, letters of encouragement and brought him back to Jesus. He finally…FINALLY wanted to live! Praise God! During the next 6 months he and I spoke regularly about PTSD. We could share our stories with each other, our fears, our anger, our lessons….everything. Brought us closer than I could ever explain.

At the end of June 2016 he felt he needed to be back with our dad. He was scared for dad being alone in that big house up in the mountains, he was going to get a VA loan to buy the house to take the pressure off dad, he had been approved for 100% Veteran disability and was on a mission. Until July 2nd.

Dad lives in a very remote area, his property backs up to Bureau of Land Management land and the first stop light is an hour away. Fireworks were David’s enemy after the Army. Apparently a local had been shooting off M-80’s while my dad was away from home and my brother had a major flashback. Prior to this incident, David would have these flashbacks that brought him to a level of a total psychotic break. He would see enemy soldiers in the tree’s of dad’s property, grab his weapons and take off after them. He would be missing for days, making “camp” here and there and live off the land. After about 4 days he would come back home, once he felt safe and knew where he was.

Dad came home the night of July 2nd, thinking David was asleep, because his truck was in the driveway and keys on the hook. The next morning when David hadn’t come out of his room yet, dad went in and realized David was missing. He didn’t think much of it, or he didn’t want to think much into it, his initial fear was that David was using again. Therefore, dad didn’t tell me that David was missing until day 2. I encouraged him to call the sheriff’s office, but he was afraid to, because of all the trouble David had been in before. I couldn’t accept this answer nor did it make sense to me. David and I had just talked on the phone on June 25th, I know him and I know if he’s not well. Then my neighbor set off a bottle rocket….and it hit me! I didn’t call my dad, I called the sheriff’s office and spoke with a deputy. My fear was that he was in another PTSD psychotic break and back in the tree’s and BLM land, it being a holiday weekend meant there would be hikers back there. I was afraid if he was back there and thought a hiker was an enemy soldier, he would kill an innocent person. The deputy listened to me, told me he would first contact some of my brother’s friends to see if they had seen him. Little did I know, the deputy was calling David’s old druggie friends, and spoke with one of them. This low life piece of shit, thinking my brother was in trouble, told the deputy that David was with him and didn’t want to talk to him. Deputy called me back and informed me of this information. Told me that his “informant” doesn’t lie to him, apologized in a very cocky way and that was it.

July 3rd in the evening, I pulled a STUPID! I tried to jump up with a butterfly net and catch a dragonfly for my 2-year-old. I came back down and blew out my left ankle. The pain was so extreme that I couldn’t breathe and ended up in the ER that night. Why is this in the story you ask….just wait.

July 7 at 6:06 pm my sister called me to tell me they found my brother’s body. A hiker that was back on the BLM land came up on his body and called for help. The sheriff was “pretty certain” that it was David, but we had to wait for an autopsy for further identification.

It felt as if the universe cracked.

Made arrangements to go with my sister since I couldn’t drive due to my ankle. The next day after arriving and trying to take care of dad and all the massive chaos at his house, I had a friend drive me to the sheriff’s office and to stop at the coroner’s office. I spoke with the coroner and was able to provide him information of David’s known scars and missing teeth. He had me wait for a second and brought out some car keys, and asked, “Are these your brother’s keys?” They were. I asked for a complete autopsy, including drug screening. I then proceeded to the sheriff’s office. This time I demanded the Sheriff and no fucking deputy. I confirmed to him that it was my brother’s body and I expected a further investigation to be done at my dad’s home and the property.

Here’s what ultimately happened:

David apparently had a PTSD psychotic break on July 2nd from the M-80’s set off by a neighbor, verified they were set off about 6pm by another neighbor. He grabbed his .45, buoy knife and machete. Then around 5pm the next day it appeared he tried to climb a 50 foot cliff, that would have taken him to an area where he would have had a 360 degree view of the valley with areas for shelter and recon. they found his buoy knife jammed into the cliff 30 feet up. David must have fallen from that point and blew out his left ankle. The open compound fracture he endured lacerated his artery and he started to bleed out. Due to the amount of blood they found at the base of the cliff, and the trail to the location of his body, he was in dire straights. He did not have his phone. He cut his t-shirt off and tied a tourniquet, but it wasn’t enough. He made a series of gun shots in 3’s, “soldier in distress”, which was reported at 5:30 pm by a Marine Veteran from other side of the valley, which went unattended to by the sheriff’s office. He bled out and died leaning against a tree stump in about 45 minutes. Due to the extremely hot weather conditions, his body was unidentifiable. No drugs were found in his tissues nor system. He did not shoot himself.  Cause of death was exsanguination. When they located his body per the hikers report, his gun was laid by his side all rounds spent and his machete on the other side of him. No wild animals disturbed his body, which is amazing, as the area is full of bear and mountain lion.

On July 3rd, based on times given, David blew out his ankle at about 5:30 pm. I blew mine out at about the same time. Explain that to me.

I can’t write any more on this right now, I knew this was going to be hard to write, and I’m fucking cooked. I’m shaking, crying and need a break. This isn’t the end of the story; a little more drama unfolded, more heartache and challenges; and through my amazing brother’s death so much beauty came out of it.

The above picture is of my brother.

 

Physical & Emotional

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“There are so many secret wounds, so many types of hidden scars. The soul, being stronger than we think, can survive all mutilations and the marks upon it make it perfect and complete.”

This is from the PBS series Call The Midwife Season 6 episode 6. I love this series because of all of the stories of true life. It’s not just in today’s society we see aweful injustices on women. It’s been happening for years, behind closed doors, victims kept silent.

The ending spoken narrative, stuck with me. Something to reflect on.

 

The Stalker Part 3

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By this time in the story John was served his Temporary Restraining Order by the Sheriff’s office.  During a gullible state I hoped he would see the fear he had caused and choose to walk away from me and never contact me again.  However, the TRO fueled the psycho’s fire within and he became worse.

I lived across the street from my sister, and she had her own business which she ran out of her home.  I had spoken to many people at my work in the past about her and her business, helping her drum up business.  Little did I know John had also inquired about her by speaking with others we worked with before he left the hospital.  In psycho stalker fashion he called her under an assumed name and set up an appointment with her.  She had never seen a picture of him, this was way before social media, all she knew was he was a psycho stalker and he had worked with me.

He came to her house with an assumed name and spent about 20 minutes speaking with her about “business” stuff and then started asking all sorts of questions about me.  She felt it odd and strange that he kept circling back around to me and then her gut hit her hard about the unsettled feeling she realized she had with him; she asked him point-blank “You’re not Stan, you’re John aren’t you?”  He stumbled in his response for words and she immediately got up and yelled for her husband in a panic while leaving the room.  Within moments of her husband and her walking back into the room together, John was gone out of the house and walking through of the gate of their yard.  Her husband ran out there and yelled at him to never return as he was driving away.

My sister called me in a panic and told me everything, I couldn’t even speak nor respond to her.  I jumped in my car and went home and called the police.  They came over, took the report and said “Since you weren’t home at the time and the restraining order doesn’t include her, there’s nothing we can do.”

The mantra I kept hearing from them was “there’s nothing we can do”…

 

Desperation, Frustration….a little rant

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It’s been a long time since I’ve written.  Life can really get in the way of being able to see ANYTHING!  What does life look like for Katy right now?

  1. Diagnosed with 3 autoimmune diseases.  Able to manage one with diet.  The other 2 are apparently managed with medications, one is prednisone the other hydroxychloriquine.  Prednisone can’t be long-term, causes crazy bruising and causes other health concerns, finished my second course and now it’s out of my system and all symptoms have come back.  Hydroxychloriquine takes months to work, and that’s if it decides to work.
  2. Daily symptoms: extraordinary pain in my feet, burning pins and needles with swelling, swollen painful hands, headaches, low back pain, body shaking uncontrollably from the inside out, insomnia, mood swings, brain fog and confusion, ringing in my ears, fatigue, low blood pressure, dizziness and abdominal pain.
  3. Recently had to move because our landlord decided to sell our house AFTER we signed another 4 year lease agreement.  Have to love the little clauses in a lease.
  4. Husband’s employer decided to reorganize their departments, which left him out of employment, so we lost our health insurance.  We also lost our church, our second home and a lot of our community.  A churches words on stage only run that deep, integrity doesn’t always run deep behind the closed doors of the church.  I haven’t lost my faith in God, but I have in the people who teach it.  Yes they are also human and sin and make mistakes, but actions speak louder than words.
  5. New health insurance is crap and beyond expensive, so I’ve lost my psychologist and psychiatrist, back to a conglomerate healthcare system that has the WORSE mental health department.
  6. Just had the one year anniversary of my brothers tragic death, which is still so fresh I can’t even touch the surface of speaking about it.

I’m done with seeing and experiencing all of this.  Who gets me through it?  God.  I know He has a plan for us and everything we are going through, I know there is a light and I am seeing glimmers of it in the distance.  But-it feels so far away and hard to catch up to.  I want to feel energy again, unity, pain-free, confident and directed.  Instead I feel slow, alone, pained, uncertain and reeling with desperation.

One step at a time, one day at a time, one prayer at a time…it’ll all come back.  Yet my patience runs thin.

Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul; He guides me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Letter to 30 year old Katy

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Dear Katy;

It’s me, 46-year-old you, and I want you to know something deep from my heart.

During the time of the stalker, not only were you in trauma from him, but your mother was dying as well. You had double the trauma happening to you with no support or advice on how to handle it. This combination is a rare occurrence and you need to be recognized for that.

Every step you took to protect you and your son was spot on. It’s not your fault the stalker became obsessed with you and terrorized you. You had no coping skills except for what you were taught, which was very little. I recognize your pain and desperation for help, how helpless and scared you felt.

As mom was dying, you had the same feelings about that. You felt helpless and scared, you’d never experienced anything like this. It was your first grieving experience with death.

If you’re feeling shame because maybe you’re choices during that time weren’t the best, IT’S OKAY! You have nothing to be ashamed of. I give you full permission to grieve these traumas. I support you in all you did and why did it.

Katy I love you no matter what, I forgive you, I’m proud of you and I’m sorry you had to experience this. I have to forgive us for any shame or guilt you felt during this time. You were a child of God then, but our eyes have now been opened about His love for us. I’m proud of you for doing what you had to do to survive. But you need to see YOU MADE IT! You’re alive today and your mind and choices are at their healthiest. You’re an example of God’s love and grace. Your heart, soul, mind and strength was God working through you. You are now a queen, lover, magi and warrior because of what you’ve been through and you came out shining! I have so much empathy for you, because you didn’t do anything to make this all happen. You were a victim of circumstance and a scared young woman. Although you didn’t receive empathy from your family and your friends walked away from you, please know THAT was NOT your fault. Not everyone can face that ocean of shit and have the strength to move through it. That ocean has been cleaned up and dried up, it’s now clean, refreshing, relaxing and Gods beautiful creation.

This ocean of life can be unforgiving through the storms, but you now know how to navigate through it better. When the storms pass, you come out a bit scathed, but You’re alive! That’s badass!

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You are loved and supported by me no matter what. Katy I’m proud of you and I love you. 💛  Now move forward and keep fighting because I’ve got your back! You’re safe and I will protect you at all costs!

I love you and God Bless you,

Katy at 46 years old

Back To The Healing Board

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How much I wish I could go back to the drawing board and rewrite the stalker story. Didn’t expect the opening of this wound would be so re-traumatizing.  Really makes me want to crawl back into a hole and never face it again, but I’m a warrior at heart and that bastard will not win.

Anytime I’m faced with an obstacle I research it. I learn more about it and make it my mission to better understand it and how to work through it.  During the initial healing of the stalker I read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker  and The Psychology of Stalking Clinical and Forensic Perspectives by J. Reid Meloy. Both fantastic books for educating and arming yourself with helpful tools.

Now that it’s 17 years later and facing it yet again, I’m on the search for knowledge. I found a great article about being stalked and affects, yet it speaks of only initial treatment, not treatment nor effects some time later. I also can’t help but see that my story would have been more successful if I hadn’t had an emotionally abusive childhood, rape and physical abuse post stalking. I believe having been challenged with Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it’s hindering my recovery process this time. My psychologist said based on my history I could be looking at 3 months to over a year of treatment on the stalker issue alone.

A year? Feels like a lifetime. It almost has been a lifetime of destruction and mental trauma. Going back to square one with this is daunting, frustrating and tiresome. Yet I’m finding the strength through God to face it and fight it.

I recently found this article and the more I researched this doctor the more I’m intrigued to learn more. I’m hoping to contact him and ask him how he feels about his article and knowledge based on pre-trauma experiences in the mix. Stalking victims get VERY LITTLE for help from local victim services, they only pay for counseling and treatment for up to a year. There was more money spent by the county trying to rehabilitate John then heal me. Seventeen years later…no help from VS.  No restitution paid to me for possible returning symptoms or flashbacks. Our court system is flawed in this area. Not enough of this to go around for the courts to notice? It’s ming boggling.

Check out this article.

“What stalking victims need to restore their mental and somatic health”

Give me some feedback if you can. Help me brainstorm. I’m not giving up and I’m determined to survive this once again.