“My Brother: Cause of Death Known”

Better times Ted & I Valentines day 07

It’s been three months since my brother Ted’s untimely passing. In that time we have speculated about what caused his death, as there was no official cause given on the original death certificate. Because of the peculiar circumstances surrounding his death an complete autopsy was conducted by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. On Monday of this week we finally received word of his official cause of death.

The updated death certificate states that my brother died of natural causes. Several factors contributed to his death including: arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease within the heart, hypertension, diabetes, gastrointestinal hemorrhaging, cirrhosis of the liver and chronic alcoholism. In researching the topic I found that the type of cardiovascular hardening or narrowing of the arteries my brother suffered from affect the main coronary arteries and smaller arteries located in the heart that supply blood to the heart itself, the arteries become so narrow or completely blocked that the heart ceases to function. Victims usually die within minutes. Hypertension (high blood pressure) diabetes and heavy alcohol use, further complicate the condition. Often there are none of the normal symptoms associated with heart disease such as angina, chest and arm pain, sweating etc. In fact sudden cardiac death can be the first symptom of this disease.

I’m relieved to know that my brother died quickly and didn’t suffer long. I’m also glad to know that drugs didn’t play a part in his death and that he did not overdose accidentally or otherwise. Since his death I’ve had this nagging feeling that maybe in his depressed and drunken state he may have done himself in. Thank God that is not the case. Despite his failings I always knew he was stronger than that. A report is available from the coroner that would give us more detailed information including a toxicological  screening, but I’m not sure we need to know more than what’s on the death certificate. I’ll have to think on that awhile. Finding out what my brother died from offers us not only a sense of relief, but also allows us some closure on the issue. We can stop speculating and move on.

I will never forget my brother. I have already begun to cast away the darker memories and focus on the good ones.  His untimely death will always haunt me. I will alway wonder if he had lived, would he have ever changed his ways? Would he have ever defeated his demons, conquered his alcoholism and gone on to lead a happy, productive life? I know that’s what he longed for, what he prayed for… I guess we’ll never know…

Ever the optimist I’d like to believe that eventually God would have given him the strength and showed him the way…

Rest in Peace little Brother…

J S

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