I had a huge amount of guilt over me when I first heard the news over the telephone from my mother. Alan and I had spoken the night before and he had told me he wanted to commit suicide. I spoke with him for a while and could not convince him otherwise. The answer he gave me was "I'm not happy, nothing will make me happy." Then I told him that "I will not tell you what to do, Alan, I never will. You're 21 and you can decide for yourself. Just have to live with the consequences." What I meant was a decision WITHIN life, not a decision BETWEEN life and death.
Over the phone, I kept saying sorry to my mother and crying with her. "I'm so sorry, mom, I didn't help Alan last night" repeating those words for maybe the next 5 minutes. I can't remember exactly what I felt or what I meant when I said those one thousand sorries. I suspect at the time, I just thought I killed him, I made him make a choice. I told him to live with the consequences, and he died with the consequences. I failed as a big brother. I failed to help him.
Later that day, sitting nicely on my chair on the balcony, I looked into the sky with a beer in my hand. I stared and I stared and I tried to remember every single thing I did with Alan. Good and bad. I tried to think like him, trying to understand what had happened. I knew the whole story from my parents... and I sat there and thought deep. The guilt disappeared. Sorrow took over. I don't know how I do it... the reason Alan passed away was cus he made a choice (remember "The Hours"?). I didn't make a choice for him. He did for himself. His choice was based on a lot of things and not one single thing. Alan has had suicidal thoughts before. He's had other problems before. There has been many things that went wrong (and less that went right) with him in life and it has all bothered him to an extreme point. So the choice he made on July 23rd was a choice that included all his frustrations, his unhappy memories, and happy memories. At least that's how I think of it. Of the happy memories, I was part of them. Of the unhappy memories, I was part of them too. Of the frustrations, I was certainly part of them as well. When I got that into my logic (again, I don't care if I'm right or wrong, this is just how I think about it), my guilt went away.