Rest in Peace dear brother Jeremy. I love you.

My brother Jeremy Davis Carter died last night. 2:00 AM. As I’m writing this, about 6 hours ago. He was only 28 years old. Dammit.

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I am so raw. I feel everything and nothing at once, at the same time. I wasn’t planning on blogging. I don’t know if I will hit “Publish”. I might. But right now my thoughts are disjointed, I am anxious to go out and do something, tackle something, but there is really nothing to do. At least not yet. There will be.

My dad called me sometime around 10:10 last night and told me that something was wrong, that they were at the hospital with Jeremy and it was not good. I got in the car and got there as quick as I could. I got a hold of Jamie at work and got him to come down. He made it there before me.

Jeremy was in Trauma 1 in the ER. He was not responsive. His temperature was low. His organs were not working. He was bleeding. He was yellow. I find out later that he had a heart attack at home while alone in the kitchen with our mom, my dear mother had to give him CPR until the paramedics came, and they took him to the ER.

Trauma 1 was a flurry of activity the entire night. Until it wasn’t. Jeremy had IV’s everywhere; leg, groin, arm, thumb. He had saline, epinephrine, blood, potassium, vial after vial after bag after bag after syringe. They did everything they could, they really did. They set us up in a family room. About 1:50, we hear Code Blue, Trauma 1. All personnel. Dammit.

Jeremy’s heart stopped a second time. They did CPR for 10 minutes. CPR in a real ER is no joke. It’s not slow, even compressions. It’s fast. It’s hard. It’s violent. It shakes the whole bed and takes an incredible amount of energy and doctors switch out every 30 seconds because it’s just so hard.

After 10 minutes of trying, they said they would continue, but he would likely be severely brain damaged. We told them to stop. They did. He died at 2:00 AM on December 20, 2015. He was only 28 years old. Dammit. I cried as hard as I ever had. I kept it together until the doctor said stop. Not afterwards. None of us did.

What happened after that. I don’t know. It’s surreal. It’s still surreal. I am waiting to wake up or for somebody to tell me that it was a nightmare or a horrible case of mistaken identity or really for somebody that knows all the facts to just tell me that the facts are not true. Just this one time can the facts not be true. I want the universe to lie to me. Just this once.

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I stayed around the hospital until 4. I told Jeremy goodbye. I kissed him. I hugged my brother Jamie, my wife, my parents, my grandparents. We cried. We cursed. We prayed. We cursed. We cried again. I’m still cursing. Still crying.

I came home to my in-laws. They came to get Charlie and I needed to be with my son. I hoped I would be able to sleep. I did not. I thought about everything. I read the text messages that we sent each other. Just on Tuesday. Dammit Jeremy. Send me another joke. Something funny from 9gag. Tell me about your classes Jeremy. Please. How was orientation, buddy? Are you excited? Have you decided what area of computing you want to study? Are you going to do graphics design? Dammit Jeremy text me and tell me it was all a lie and you’re fine and you’re excited about school, excited to see Charlie for Christmas. I am crying my eyes out right now buddy. I can’t see the screen.

It’s hard to comprehend how much the world has changed. I’ve written my Christmas letter to send to everybody. It’s fun and witty because I wanted you to enjoy it. I wrote that 2015 was good to us. We are supposed to get a cherry blossom tree to dedicate to mom and dad. I need you to get the plaque. I just got an email that a present I got for you has arrived at my house. It’s a hanger for your guitar, so you can put yours on the wall like I have for mine. I remember picking out the guitar with you. Very well. We got you an awesome amp. Played some Bombtrack. It was a very fun day with you.

I remember how you cried when you met Charlie for the first time. You were so sweet with him. You were a good uncle. He’ll know about you.

Dammit. I’m fine for a while then I get a wave, a tidal wave, that just comes over me and tumbles me around and I cry my eyes out. Then I get it together. Then I get a trigger. I think about my parent’s Christmas card. Oh god their Christmas card. When Shutterfly printed it off, Jeremy was alive, smiling. The Peachtree City post office is amazingly terrible. They’ve had the damn Christmas cards at their office since December 14. They’ve scanned this 3 pound box 5 times. They still haven’t delivered them. Jeremy never saw it. Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.

I think about going through your stuff. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to have to. I worry about mom and dad. So much. I don’t know what they are going to do. I don’t know what I am going to do, but mom and dad. Mom.

I’m so excited to tell you about Charlie’s Christmas present. Remember those cardboard blocks we had as a kid? We built forts, knocked them down, threw them at each other, stood on them, made ramps, made walls, broke through them. I hid your toys in them and you did the same. We made a turret that went to the ceiling more than once. I can’t wait for you to play with them again. Play with them with Charlie. I think you’ll be 7 again. Dammit dammit dammit.

It’s been about 12 hours now. The word has gone around the family and close friends. I’m getting messages of love and support. Devastating. We are devastated. I heard the heart-wrenching devastating news. Devastated. That’s really the correct word. Nothing else really captures it. I am a sleepless shell with nothing inside. De vastare. Totally lay waste. That sums it up.

I went over to my parents house. I’ve never been so miserable. I don’t know if I have any tears left. Before I went to my parents house, I went to their old house. By chance, the mailman pulled in behind me. I stood in the middle of the road for them to deliver the damn Christmas card. They had it on the truck. The mail carrier handed it to me and said “Have a nice day.” It occurred to me that “Have a nice day.” is something that people say to each other. It’s normal. My world is so totally shattered and this mail carrier’s world is not. Have a nice day. Here are your Christmas cards. Such is the situation where the Christmas cards and Have a Nice Day are the most wretched of all wretched things.

I brought them into my parents house but did not announce them. I sat them next to my computer, which remained unopened. We all cried our eyes out again. I thought I got a lot of it out. Then we started talking about “plans”. We do not want to make plans. Not those plans. But it needed to be discussed. We don’t have a plot in Peachtree City. Our family has plots in Plains and in Arlington, Georgia. Mom asked dad if he wanted to bury him in Plains. He said probably but wanted to know if mom felt strongly about burying him in Arlington. She wanted dad to consider it. Then they asked me. I told them that it was up to them. They disagreed. My eyes welled up again. Jeremy did not want to be buried. He wanted to be cremated. I told them this. They remembered the conversation, but didn’t know if he was serious. He was. Many months or years ago he told us that if anything happened, he wanted to be cremated because he is claustrophobic. It took me three tries to get it out. Dammit.

More wailing sobs from the porch. My mom found the box of Christmas cards. It has 2 pictures of Jeremy. One is at my house with everybody but Jamie. The picture with Jamie is of the Christmas tree that he and Jamie cut down. It’s in my parent’s living room. There are presents for him under the tree.

I have a headache. I haven’t slept. I can’t sleep. My eyes are still puffy and the devastating, crushing, overwhelming pain comes in waves. I’m fine. I’m helping dad repair some furniture. Then I am very very not. It grips you and makes you scream out in agony. Then you control yourself and you start thinking about other things. Anything really. What kind of tree is that? What color are you going to stain the deck? How much was your chandelier? And then the wound rips wide open. Wide wide open. The trigger might be a half empty bottle of Caffeine Free Coca-Cola. A crushed cigarette pack. The image in my mind’s eye when Charlie runs out to him arms outstretched yelling Unka Jeremy!

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He had a whole battery of tests just a couple months ago. He couldn’t eat well and his legs ached. He had nearly every doctor at Emory look at him. They ended up prescribing him Vitamin A and Vitamin D. After all that. He got the full work over and really just needed vitamins. If a 28 year old heart is going to go out, shouldn’t they have found that? Maybe, but they didn’t. All I am really doing is negotiating with the universe, trying to find an inconsistency, trying to find a chink in the reality of events, the failure in the cosmic equation, hoping if I find the flaw that I can prove to the world that it didn’t actually happen and that Jeremy and I can laugh about it.

Dammit I am going to miss you buddy. I love you Jeremy.

Your loving brother Josh

75 thoughts on “Rest in Peace dear brother Jeremy. I love you.”

  1. Chris, that was my brother for sure. I had just started my Freshman year at Georgia Tech and my younger brother Jamie was only 11. Jeremy would have been 15, and that sounds exactly like something he’d do.

  2. I am sorry very very sorry for the sudden loss of jeremy…my wish for you and your family is peace and blessings.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. I have no words of comfort. You are experiencing something that is unimaginable. It freakin sucks. This year was suppose to be great. What happened? Our families are in the same stupid boat. My son Caleb died May 3. He had a stomach ache during the day but then he started to get pale and so I was going to take him to the hospital. I went to get his socks and shoes and then I came back into the room, he wasn’t breathing. We had the neighbors call 911 and he was rushed to the hospital. They were doing CT scans and he went into cardiac arrest, they were able to revive him and then he did it again. They couldn’t bring him back. It was just too late. I had taken him to the ER in January. The doc, well the Physician’s Assistant said he just had a cold virus. I thought he had pertussis but I trusted the professional. I should have taken him to a different hospital or took him in more over the next few months but he was better, I thought. Now he’s dead. My baby. I miss him so much. My world is not the same. And his sisters miss him too. Especially, my Ellie. He asks about him everyday. They were best friends. Please let me know if you ever make sense of losing your brother. I am completely confused how something like this can happen. The way of world is total chaos.

  4. I have forgotten and remembered over and over today. It is so unthinkable I really can’t think it. I’m sleep-walking around. I’m going to miss him! I am going to miss who everyone in our family was when we had Jeremy with us.

  5. Sending prayers for peace for you and your family. It has been 30 months since my 28 year old brother died suddenly. It is such a hard road…

  6. I am deeply sorry for the untimely death of your brother Jeremy. I lost my own brother shortly after his 18th birthday and your words and your raw grief have reopened old wounds. I feel your pain and suffering.

    I understand that there has been a decision not to perform an autopsy. I am respectfully requesting the family to reconsider this decision in order to determine whether Lyme Disease and other co-infections may have been the root cause of Jeremy’s symptoms and unfortunate passing. I am suffering from Lyme carditis myself and have had to fight to recover my children from the grips of this potentially deadly disease. We desperately need more research into Lyme Disease, especially in southern states where it is often ignored.

    Based upon the description of his symptoms leading up to his death and sudden heart failure, Lyme Disease and/or co-infections Bartonella and Babesia could be a potential overlooked cause. While the CDC describes Lyme carditis deaths as rare, it is hard to ascertain the true risk due to lack of testing along with unreliable tests for Lyme Disease.

    Please see http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6249a1.htm
    I would also be happy to forward a document summarizing research on the cardiological manifestations of Lyme Disease, Bartonella and Babesia via email.

    For more on Lyme Disease in Georgia, please see: http://georgialymedisease.org/ (noting that Georgia was #4 for reported cases in the United States before the reporting criteria was changed).

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can help furnish you with additional research or contacts with prominent Lyme Disease researchers who can explore this possibility carefully, using more sensitive testing modalities.

  7. Beautifully written Josh, and a sure clue on which direction to take this. So many comments reflect the same thing – by sharing your grief so eloquently, you help all of us, with all our grief. Few are untouched in their lifetime by the sort of soul-scraping anguish you feel right now. Treat it as a precious gift. It is a special urn you will carry for many years. Might as well make it beautiful. I know something of what you feel. When my dad died I turned to drugs and denial; then my sister got sick and I doubled down on that path. I didn’t care about anything at all. When she died I had to flip my life again, and I turned to painting. I didn’t stop for 10 years. I found a way through. I treasure my grief and instead of it weighing me down, i used it for momentum. I had a memory to honor, and the life I felt pulsing through me was a beautiful vehicle to do just that. Use this opportunity to re dedicate yourself to your boldest visions, your most exceptional self. Make this a step forward in honor of the steps Jeremy will no longer take, and know that many others will take that walk with you. I’m already walking mate! Your (another) brother Stephen

  8. I lost my cousin who was as close as my brother 6 years ago. It never makes sense, it never goes away. You become numb and the crying becomes infrequent. Then just like that, a trigger. It can be a happy memory, a picture, the car he drove, the last place he worked, a person who looks like him and it can be the most subtle attributes but dammit, he looks just like him…but he’s gone. The tears come as fast and hard as they did the day he left us. I don’t have words of comfort or meaning. The holidays will never be the same, you will become numb, you will be able to mention his name without bursting into tears but know he is always with you. You might lose the feeling and think he’s gone away but he’s always with you! Those memories, pictures, hobbies you shared, passing places he worked, cars he drove, his favorite seasons…I can go on. Point is he is ALWAYS with you. I pray you find comfort, sleep and peace to get through!

  9. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    What you will learn on this journey is that while your brother is physically gone, the love you shared will most certainly endure.

    And you will discover how amazing that is, and you will come to understand that every person on earth that you love is a gift that can be taken from you at any moment. And you will cherish them more.

    Feel it all, brother, and trust that love endures.

    Forever.

    Because it does. I know this for certain. Best to you and your family.

  10. Josh, I am so very sorry for your loss. I will remember you and your family during the holidays and beyond. You come from a great and strong family, so I know you will make it through. Hugs to you and your family.

  11. I am so incredibly sorry for your family’s immeasurable sorrow from this unexplainable loss of life of your 28 year old brother, I couldn’t begin to imagine. I CANNOT help but have feelings of anger towards the Health Practitioners, physicians, nurses, etc. There is just no way to excuse the fact that they should’ve been capable of identifying that there was an obvious physical anomaly that they were being presented with when he initially sought out medical attention. In most cases, a barrage of tests means the standard panels, to test the typically obvious things….but given your brothers sudden symptoms, the fatigue, drop in appetite and issues with his legs, that SCREAMS that there is an issue somewhere with or within the cardiovascular system. There are common tests and procedures that could’ve AND SHOULD’VE been done during his initial stay that would’ve given them easily identifiable cause, in where they could’ve intervened and ultimately prevented the result that ended his life. Instead, they failed him and your family by accepting what was simply the easiest option….Prescribe vitamins. Again, I am truly sorry, this is just senseless and neglectful health care.

  12. I understand Jeremy’s wanting to be cremated because he was claustrophobic. I feel the same way, not wanting to be trapped inside a closed box underground for eternity. Want to be ashes to ashes, dust to dust. I hope you honor Jeremy’s request, cremate him, and put a marker in the cemetery which you and others may visit, place flowers, and remember him.

  13. Josh,
    I read your entire blog….and it brought me to tears. My heart goes out to you and your family buddy. I’m sure that Jeremy is going to be really missed. He seemed to have been a great kid.

    RIP Jeremy.

    Alvin Dorsey

  14. You are not alone , I know this is a difficult time for you all.
    We will keep you and your family and friends in our prayers.

    Faith in the LORD will help; however it will still be hard. I am
    sure the posting is help you already.
    Sincerely,
    Lavan

  15. My heart breaks for you all. It is devastating, and so unfair. All I can wish for you is that the wonderful memories give you some peace, and that time will ease the pain. My family wishes your family God’s comfort.

  16. I am so sorry for your loss of a beautiful, vibrant spirit, and for your family living the very definition of sorrow. I wish you comfort, prayers, beautiful memories and peace. I also grieve at the lack of medical answers you received and can relate. My 25 year old son has had Dilated Cardiomyopathy (heart failure) for four years and initially part of his diagnosis was elusive. It took cardiologist number five to discover Dysautonomia (P.O.T.S.) was complicating his clinically milder cardiomyopathy. I share this in the hopes that this may save another young life. May you all find comfort in one another and be kind to yourselves, realizing that grief takes its own course and rhythm for each soul. RIP Jeremy.

  17. I am so sorry for the tragic loss you and your family have endured. It has weighed heavy on my mind. Know that your brother was cared for, that he was prayed for and that you and your family have been in the thoughts and prayers of many during this holiday season. Do not dwell on the memories of that day, the memories of how he looked and the events you witnessed in his final few moments. I’m sorry there was no way to soften the blow. Dwell on the memories of him alive and the time you had with him. May he rest in peace now and may you and your family have the continued strength to endure such difficult times.

  18. Jeremy did not have Lyme Disease. He was tested for it. We have a dear friend that was recently diagnosed with Lyme, so I understand how awful and insidious that disease can be.

  19. Dear Josh,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Truly. Your writing is beautiful, and raw, and real. It brought tears to my eyes. I have never met you, or your brother, but feel I know you both through this post.

    I knew your father; we went to school together in Plains. We were friends. I met your Mom on a visit to the White House. Beautiful woman. Please tell them, and your grandparents, I am so sorry, and my prayers will include all of your family.
    Lynn Stromwall (One of the Maloney girls)

  20. Condolences to you and your family on the sudden tragic death if your brother. My grandfather died on Christmas Day … 5 years ago.
    Thoughts blessings and prayers to all

    Paul

  21. This was deep.

    Made me cry.

    Made me laugh.

    Made me smile.

    Made me cry.

    Made me love.

    I lost my ex-boyfriend to a drug and alcohol overdose on 8/6/10 and though it’s 7yrs later now that pain still feels raw.

    This post brought it back.

    Sent it away.

    Brought it back.

    Made it real.

    Made me laugh, cry, smile, love and appreciate those ones we hold dear.

    Regardless of the relationship.

    The bad times even became times you wanted back just to have them back one last time.

    The goodbyes we knew 10yrs ago were only temporary and now we lone for them knowing one day our loved one would come back.

    All it took was the right moment.

    Maybe even a call.

    Maybe even an unannounced visit.

    Anything.

    Love.

    Peace.

    God bless you Josh and your family.

    As well as those who replied.

    Peace. Love. Rememberance.

    That unbreakable bond.

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