Friends. On Friday my story, and the story of my family, was altered in a devastating and crushing way. My brother-in-law Randy took his own life. To say that Dale and I are bereft is not enough. To say that we are hurt and confused is inadequate. At this moment in time our anguish knows no limits.
Dale and I were on our way to a Christmas party when Dale’s cell phone rang and he missed the call. It was Mary, Randy’s wife, and Dale handed the phone to me and asked me to call her back since he was driving. She was crying when she answered and said she needed us and then told me what had happened. And then I had to tell my beloved husband, the person I love most in the world, that his brother was dead. Following that I was also the one who told Jessica and Hannah and then Dale’s sister Lisa. To deliver that news, to say those words, and know that when I did I would be inflicting horrible pain on the people I love, broke me into a million pieces.
Since then I have been trying to understand how Randy got to this point. And I just can’t get there. A friend told me Saturday that it’s a gift that suicide is a struggle I don’t know and something I can’t understand. I know she’s right but my heart still wants to comprehend what caused Randy to lose all hope. He had been dealing with anxiety and some serious health issues due to tick borne illnesses for a while but I never once thought that he was depressed or that he might consider his struggles something he couldn’t overcome with time, health care, and the love and support of his wife, family and friends. To face the fact that he was overwhelmed with pain and didn’t share that with those closest to him is unbelievably grim.
Randy was a gifted writer, a talented artist, an accomplished musician, and an avid outdoorsman. He was wise and wonderful and taught me so much about hunting and fishing, birds and nature, simple living and finding joy in the smallest moments. I can hear his laugh and see him grinning when he told a funny story or scared my kids with stories of the woozle that lived in the walls of his house. He was the head of this family in so many ways and I know we’ve only just begun to comprehend the gigantic hole created by his death.
We spent the weekend together as a family, sharing stories and tears, being comforted by the presence of very close friends who brought food and flowers and consoled us as best they could. I talked with Mary yesterday about sharing Randy’s story and she was very clear that people need to know the truth about Randy’s death. We need to talk about mental health issues. We need to know the warning signs and watch for them. Believe me when I tell you that if this could happen in my family then it could happen in any family.
For those of you who have been inquiring, a memorial service will be planned for a later time.
Randy told me once that I was a good writer. It’s a compliment that meant so very much to me at the time and I’m grateful for that memory. I wish he could read these words and know how important, special, and loved he really was.
Carole, I am so very, very sorry for your family’s loss and for the pain you are all feeling right now. It is so hard to lose a beloved member of the family, especially one who seemed so full of life, and even more so to lose one this way. I applaud you and the rest of the family for being open about what was clearly a very difficult struggle for him. As we say in my faith tradition, may his memory be for a blessing.
Patricia Westhaver says
Carole, I am very sorry for your loss and your families. My heart and prayers go out to you and your family. I am new to East Bridgewater ( only 6 years) ,but I had the pleasure of your husband performing at my wedding on 6/25/95 and again several time at the common on or near my anniversary. The world just lost a great talent, who gave people hope and laughter at the beginning of their life. It is a rare gift and people should know how really special he was. God Bless! My he rest in peace, with a heavy heart. The Westhaver’s
Carole, I am so sorry for your loss. It is hard to imagine such awful despair that life isn’t worth living.
I have gotten scammed over the last few years for all of the money that I saved for 50 years of working $200,000. Sometimes I think about suicide but then I know what a selfish terrible thing it is to do To your family and your friends. I am so very sorry for your family. I have promised my children that I will not do this but I think about it all the time.
My condolences to you and your family. May you find peace and comfort in the knowledge that so many people are thinking of you all and holding you close in their hearts.
Carole, your entire family, but especially you and Dale, have my deepest sympathy. Depression runs in my family, and my mother was depressed most of her adult life. She attempted suicide 4 times before she succeeded. I was devastated and angry. It took me a while to admit the anger, but I finally did. How could she leave me like that? How could she deprive me of all her love, companionship, and wisdom? Over time, I lost the anger and realized that she had done the best she could over all those years, and that I would never know what was in her heart and mind when she made the decision to end her life. I probably would not have understood it even if I knew what it was.
Being the survivor of a family suicide is a journey. I lost my mother in December. This time of year seems to intensify the feelings of loss when everyone else seems so happy. As things settle down, resist feeling guilty. It really is a wasted emotion in this situation. There is nothing anyone can do when somebody makes the decision that life is too hard to continue. Treasure your memories, be grateful that you had him while you did, hold fast to those you love, and forgive him. As you already know, in time the ability to cope with a specific loss gets stronger. You are in my thoughts, and I send all good wishes for strength and healing.
Christine Quaglia says
Carole, I just don’t even know what to say. I am trying to focus on what a great person and friend he was. He had the gift of gab, he loved to talk. He was so special to our family that when he sat here at my table having conversations with us (sometimes until 1 am) he made us feel special that he considered us a friend. To know that he liked us and wanted to talk to us made us feel like the rock star. He was so kind to my son Michael. Michael is heartbroken and in a state of disbelief. He loved to fish with Randy, traipse through the woods, he loved Randy’s house and the sense of peace that came with those visits. Mike would tell me he would be home in a few hours and I wouldn’t see him until the next day because he got home so late. I just loved Randy and he although he cannot be replaced, he certainly will never be forgotten. So much love to you all. Christine Quaglia
I have no good or inspiring words. Just know that you are all in my heart.
Carole, It’s so hard to imagine that someone you know and love could take their own life, but he had his reasons. My heart & prayers go out to you and your family.
Linda Melanson says
The amazing Randy Julius. Renaissance man. Gone from this earth, never to be forgotten.
Dennis T says
Marjorie Dewhurst says
I was stunned and so very sad to here of Randy’s passing and when I learned the cause I was speechless. He was always such a caring, thoughtful person. I have known him through all these years in school and beyond with our interest in nature and dogs. What a great loss. So sorry Mary……and all of his loving family members. No words can express the sadness.
Valarie Moretti says
Carole I want to send my deepest sympathy to you, your husband Dale and the entire Julius family. Your husband was my daughter’s bus driver during her first two years at Richardson Olmsted school. I know Randy comes from a great family as I’m very close with The Cavanagh’s, and your husband Dale always went above and beyond to get my baby where she needed to go. Even side trips to Maplewood if she got on the wrong bus. ?? Please let him know that Danica’s mom Val sends you all prayers for finding peace. I’m am so deeply saddened to know that Randy was lost so tragically. May your abundant memories help hold you all together during this horrible time.
Valarie Moretti says
Carole I want to send my deepest sympathy to you, your husband Dale and the entire Julius family. Your husband was my daughter’s bus driver during her first two years at Richardson Olmsted school. I know Randy comes from a great family as I’m very close with The Cavanagh’s, and your husband Dale always went above and beyond to get my baby where she needed to go. Even side trips to Maplewood if she got on the wrong bus. Please let him know that Danica’s mom Val sends you all prayers for finding peace. I’m am so deeply saddened to know that Randy was lost so tragically. May your abundant memories help hold you all together during this horrible time.
Tom Turowski says
The reason for Randy’s death never entered my mind. Not once, not at all. I am caught completely off guard and can’t imagine what and how the family feels, but your soliloquy is superb, touching and heartfelt. I and many are deeply sorry for your loss. I’m glad you shared for closure is quite possibly the best medicine at this time. My mind has been wondering about a zillion possibilities, but now we wonder no more. Yet at the same time I too am bereft of sense and feeling quite empty. May God bless you and your family. I am truly praying for you all.
Jane Sprunk says
So sorry to hear the news. Our family just went thru the same thing two months ago. Relieved to hear that people are now talking about suicide is a comfort to those of us who have lost loved ones.
kim in oregon says
Oh I’m so sorry for your loss. I too have struggled to understand how people get to that place but it took almost getting to that place to really understand (and I had a great therapist who pulled me out, thank heavens). My thoughts are with you and your family.
Bob Oicles says
Condolences to family & friends…family of scouts and all around good folks from my memories….prayers4peace…
Carole, I’m so sorry for your loss and as I read your words I travel back myself to years ago when my 14yo nephew also took his life. I know that you are searching…for signs..for something to help you understand but in all the years that have passed for me I still wonder and it never adds up. It’s something that we just live with as life goes on. The memory of that night…my brothers’ primitive cry as he told me his son took his life is something I will never forget. I’m sharing so you know that there are some things we never find answers for but just live with as a new normal and you are not alone. I’m glad you have the support of many, lean on them at this very difficult time.
I am so saddened by this loss. Sending much love to your family.
Dear Carole and family, I am so sorry to hear the sad news. I can’t imagine the pain that you are going through during this time. I will pray for you and your family during this time.
Guy Johnson says
Carole, Dale and Family , I am sorry for the loss of your beloved Randy. He was and incredible Man and he will be missed Dearly. Although many years have passed since we were all young and close Randy has always remained close in my heart. I pray for strength and comfort for your family. God bless you all.
Ernest I jutras says
I cried for awhile trying to understand. I will miss him and a piece of my heart will be gone.
Cynthia Voutila says
I know we have never met. I feel I know you through your blog. I have no words. I have no idea what to say that will help. I do know that I am very sad for you and your family. I am praying that you find peace. Talk about Randy. Laugh about the memories you have. Nothing will be the same. However, embrace each other and love your family.
You know how I feel and how much I love your family. I’m glad that Mary wants to share Randy’s story to help ease the stigma that surrounds mental illness and suicide. It’s so blessed hard to walk this walk, but your tribute to Randy is beautiful. <3
Bob Olson says
To Mary and the Julius family. It is with much sadness in my heart that sends our condolences regarding the passing of my life long friend. Who could have known when I spoke with him but a few days ago he was dealing with such pain. For me, It began in grade one, room 4, May of 1955. Miss Marlins first grade class, Central school. That’s When Randy and I first met. Our friendship was one of 64 years. I miss now knowing I will not have that voice at the end of a phone line when we would call to touch bases. On those occasions when I would come back home to see the folks, Randy and I would always find the time to wet a line or just hang out for a beer, it was as if the 2000 miles that separated us never existed. A laugh, a joke, watchings the Duds and singing along to a favorite song. Knowing he was keeping an eye on my parents when I would ask him to check-in for me. His kind heart who would take an old man, (my father) out fishing on those special occasions that my father could not wait to tell me about. God bless and watch over your soul my friend. A very talented man that I will miss.
Rob Rhuda says
Randy’s story breaks my heart. I pray that he’s at peace and that the stigma associated with emotional/mental health struggles is cast aside.
Your message is spot on.
Randy and the entire Julius family are in my prayers.
Laura Gentili says
Thinking of you all. my sister Jennifer and I graduated with Barry . Just wanted to send condolences. My cousin committed suicide a few years ago. I hadn’t been super close during our upbringing but had connected through Facebook in the year or two and only a few nights before his death. He also had struggled with tick born disease. Lyme disease, he had possibly been re-infected.
Everyone feels terrible and sometimes angry when this happens. Anxiety and depression are conditions that those who have never suffered can not understand. Those of us who have, can’t describe it because you don’t want others to feel it too.
Chuck Minott says
Randy was an inspiration to me as long ago as 1965 when I read one of his early writings about a boyhood hunting trip to Maine with my Dad. He will never be forgotten. My heart is heavy with sadness for Mary & your family. Your husband / brother made such a positive impact on everybody he touched. This world is a better place because of him.
Melissa F. says
Carole, I only know you through your blog but wanted to extend my deepest condolences to you and your family. I’m so very sorry to hear of Randy’s passing. He sounds like a wonderful person and I’m grateful to you for sharing your memories of him with us. Hope it helps to know that so many of us are holding you and your family in our hearts, especially at this time of year.
So very sorry for your family’s unimaginable loss. May you find some small measure of solace in your memories and that he lived a beautiful life.
I am very sorry for your loss. I am holding you and your family in my heart.
Catherine Larkin says
I am so sorry for the devastating loss that your family had suffered. My father is very active with a local suicide prevention coalition and can put you in touch with some resources that may be of assistance at this time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if there is anything your family needs, or any way that I may be of assistance. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
Carole and Dale
I am so sorry to hear of Randy’s passing and the staggering grief that follows. It is my hope that your love and happy memories will help you through this sad time.
Candi Keith says
Carole, so very sorry for your loss. Praying for you, Dale, and the rest of the family for strength and comfort. You wrote a beautiful tribute that may help others in their struggles.
Carole – thanks for sharing. Your words needed to be said for people who needed to hear. There are so many families that suffer in silence but in your sharing you give voice to their silent, personal, prolonged grief. Mary, this was so unselfish of you – thank you. I am so sorry for your loss and the loss of Randy’s light in this world.
So sorry to hear of your loss. Does not seem right or fair but we have recently found a family member living in squalor conditions and without intervention near the same out come. Love and prayers to you all.
Carole. I know what you and your family are going through. And my heart is breaking for all of you. You are not alone.
I hope the memory of times together with Randy will bring comfort to you and your family.
I am so sorry for you and all of Dale’s Family.
As a sufferer of Lyme Disease myself, I can completely relate/understand what he was going through. Tick Borne pathogens often cause inflammation in the brain, which in turn can often cause depression and other mental health issues.
What complicates the situation is that Lyme sufferers are often in constant pain. The teaming of these two symptoms leads to absolute torture for the patient, on the daily.
He most likely was exhausted and simply needed peace.
Rest In Peace to him. And healing hugs to you and your family.
Carole, I’m so, so sorry for you and Dale and your family. Please know you’ll all be in my thoughts.
I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot begin to imagine the pain your family is feeling. Sending you lots of virtual hugs.
I am so so sorry. I hope you find comfort in your shared loved ones.
Carole, we know this pain and all you write. It speaks to us. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s a long road to walk down. If you need anything, please reach out to us. Barbara and the Annie’s Kindness Blankets Team
christi in ma says
Carole, I am so very sorry for your loss.
I can’t imagine the sadness and confusion that your family is going through but I hope you have some comfort sharing Randy’s story as well as your happy memories of him.
I will keep your family in my thoughts.
Thank you for sharing with us.
Linda Wabanimkee says
I am so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law Randy. My sympathies to you, Dale, and family. Randy will live on in your heart and memories.
I too have been down that road. Several years ago, I was clinically depressed and my husband finally realized what was happening and made me go to a psychologist which literally saved me. It wasn’t easy and it was a couple of years before I felt good about myself again. (aka cameragirlworld)
My heart breaks for you and Dale … and the family. So hard … you have my deepest sympathy.
Do not feel the need to respond, but I could not leave this without commenting
I am so sorry. I’m sorry for Randy, I’m sorry for his family, I’m sorry for the loss that I can never understand.
I have the following wish for you, your family and anyone else who is feeling this loss: I hope you have the time and space you need to grieve. There is no right time, length or way of grieving, but I hope you all have what you need to grieve in your own way.
Carole, I am so so sorry. Prayers lifted for you and your family.
JeanMarie Mazzilli says
My condolences to Mary and the rest of the family. My heart is heavy with sadness. Wrapping you all in my arms with love and hugs for comfort and strength during this time of need.
Carole, I am so sorry to hear this. My deepest sympathy to you and all of Dale’s family.
Carole, I am so sorry for your loss. My condolences to you, Dale , and your family. May your wonderful memories of Randy help you in this difficult time.