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The Sibling Connection

Graves Disease


My Brother, Stanley

December 10, 1972 - December 23, 2009

Growing up it was always just me, my mother, and my younger brother Stanley. My brother was the quiet peaceful one and I was always the outspoken temperamental one. Back when we were young my brother didn't talk much but he would sing often. He was so quiet but when he sang his beautiful soulful voice would shock everyone. I was only one year older than my brother but I still took on the big sister role, I would boss him around and pick on him all the time. Although I would give him a hard time, I made sure that no one else did. I was always there to protect him and my motto when it came to my brother was, "I can pick on him but nobody else can!"

As we became young adults my brother married his first love and had four children by the time he was 30 years old. After my brother got married I felt that he didn't need me to protect him anymore and I went on with my life, I still had a close relationship with him but it seems our roles reversed because he would often call me to make sure I was doing okay and I often didn't call as much because I assumed he was too busy with his life and didn't need me. But whenever he did need me I was always right there.

Around 2006 we learned that my brother had Grave's Disease. Grave's disease is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid gland. My brother was always too modest and never told us the severity of the disease. His wife was a nurse and my mother and I assumed that if it was something life threatening they would sit us down and tell us. I didn't start to learn the severity of the disease and its many effects of the body and the mind until I got a call from my mother one night. My mother called me and told me that his wife had called her and told her that my brother had been acting weird.

I called my sister-in-law and she began to tell me that my brother was acting strange. My first response to her was to say, " that doesn't sound like my brother". That sounded nothing like the often quiet, modest, mild tempered guy that I was raised with.

One night I got another call to come over to my brother's house where I actually witnessed one of these episodes. It was a hard thing to see my brother acting as if he was on some type of hard drugs. Even though I saw it with my own eyes I knew that something was wrong. My brother would get well and then these episodes would occur again. His wife said that this is what can happen when you have Grave's disease.

My brother came to my mother's home acting very odd again and I called the hospital and they advised me to have him admitted into a psychiatric facility. They found that he had not been taking the medication prescribed for his Grave's disease and along with alot of stress in his life caused a serious condition and this is what caused the fits of anger.

After my brother got well and was back to being himself he asked me if he could come and stay with me because he was having problems with his wife. My brother lived with me for two years and within this time I tooks care of him when he was sick, broken hearted and jobless due to his illness. Once again I was in the role of the protector making sure he took his meds and kept all of his doctors' appointments.

For the last year of my brother life he was doing much better and had found a new job and was back to doing what he loved which was singing R&B Music. My brother and I had a discussion about him moving out into his own place so that I can move on and make some needed changes in my life. One day less than two months after he had gotten his own apartment, for some reason I had a bad feeling, I felt sick to my stomach whenever I thought about him.

I called him and sent him text a few times that day and I called my mother and other relatives and no one had seen or heard from him. Luckily, he moved into the apartments that one of our cousins managed and she said that his car had been sitting there. It seemed weird but I still thought that maybe he rode to work with a friend. The next morning his job called my home trying to find him. I immediately called my cousin and she had maintenance enter his apartment and there he was on the bathroom floor. Cause of death is still to be determined. We are assuming that the Grave's disease played a part in it.

I feel alot of guilt because for the past two years I was there for him when he was sick and I finally ask him to get his own place and this occurs. I am working through the guilt issues and I know that the feeling will eventually pass. Finding this site and reading the stories of others have helped me alot in this process. I know that my brother is in a better place and his beautiful voice will continue to be heard throughout heaven and earth.

I can be contacted at elephant_mi_amor@yahoo.com.






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