My Brother Died from a Heroin Overdose
I leaned over the casket with tears streaming down my face. They dripped onto my brother’s body, his hands, my hands.
Ashley are you related to andrew bethard ? Can you please contact me at the sandusky police department tomorrow between 6a and 6p . . . [phone number redacted] . . . I'm trying to get ahold of a family member related to andrew bethard . . . my name is ofc [name redacted] badge # [redacted] . . . i know this is an odd way to communicate but seemed easiest at the moment
Hi [name redacted], he is my brother. Can you tell me if he is okay? I have been trying to reach him for over 24 hours.
can you call me on my cellphone,Maybe it’s not that. Maybe. What if? Could he be okay? Let him be okay.
Yes, I am Andrew’s sister. I have been trying to reach him for over 24 hours
Is he okay?
Is he alive?
He was found—He has passed.
An OD, But there was something strange about it, the way the body was positioned,Heroin, we think,
So my parents don’t know?I cannot tell my mother. I can’t tell her, You need to call her tomorrow.
She is in bed right now because she works early. She starts work sometime around 5 a.m
We, ah, knew Andrew,
I’m sure,He had his fair share of trouble.
It’s true,I’ll be on my way home tomorrow, too,Let me know when you get home.
I will not have him anymore.Heyyy, what’s upI’m okayI’m not okay.I love you
I have to go home. I want to go home. I want to go nowhere. To go anywhere. To run away from this.
No,No no noSo this is what this sounds like.
All the other times
What’s going on,
Just tell me,
Are you sitting down?
No, just tell me,
Andrew is dead,
He wasn’t answering his phone,None of his friends have seen him.
Andrew snuck out and took my car last night. Andrew overdosed on pills and is in the hospital. I need you to come home this weekend. I can’t handle this.
this is what families do.
In the projects,
well, at least he didn’t die hungry.
interruption.There has been an interruption. This was not supposed to happen. What the fuck are you guys doing? Can’t anyone stay the fuck out of my business?
You wouldn’t believe this, but they said you were dead.
Bitches be tripping,
There is a lot of dark bruisingWe need to see him. To say goodbye. I’ll do the best I can,
He had such a hard life,Such a hard life.
Let’s get a drink,Let’s do a shot,Half to Andrew, half to Zach. To Andrew, may you finally be in peace. To Zach, may you lead the way.
POP,What a world,that could be so full and so empty at once
Ashley Bethard’s writing has been published in The Rumpus, PANK Magazine, Hobart, Fanzine and others. She is the 2017 recipient of the Ohioana Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant, and her winning essay “Of Blood” was published in the Fall 2017 issue of Ohioana Quarterly. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Ashland University. Currently she lives in Dayton, Ohio, where she’s working on her first book. She works in digital media, and was named to the Newspaper Association of America's "30 Under 30" list in 2016. Find her online at @ashleybethard and ashleybethard.com.
More in this series
We remember only a version of the story, and we tell only a fraction of that version. And sometimes, even that will fail us.