When things go horribly wrong, and your brother dies as a result

This is a technical blog for the most part. I usually talk about all kinds of geek programmer stuff, but today is different. Today I feel that I have to take a moment and discuss the death of my brother and friend Christopher Allen Knopf.

My brothers mission in life was to change his world, he did just that, he changed countless lives for the better. You can read about one of them athttp://amandanjones.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/an-oath-to-knopf/

Chris had the classic case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which eventually led to his suicide. Here are the words that I spoke during his eulogy:

It is difficult to understand what led Chris to this decision. As I’ve tried to put together the pieces so I can gain some kind of understanding I’ve come to realize that in many ways my brother was two people.

Chris was a witty, loving, fun filled, extremely intelligent, and caring person. He was also an angry, depressed, and trapped individual. That dark side got the best of him after years of struggle. My brother was a man who wanted to be in control. In the end, he simply wasn’t.

Chris made a lot of choices in life that caused him real grief. I believe that he just couldn’t come to grips with all of this, I think he felt like he had no way to resolve these problems, and escape was his only option.

I also feel that Chris never really realized the impact his death would have on those who loved him. If he had foreseen how this decision would shatter his family he would have made different choices.

When my sister called and told me what Chris had done I was so incredibly angry. I walked my neighborhood in the middle of the night, my mind consumed with emotion: Anger, sadness, frustration, a seemingly endless array of memories of what was and what could have been.

I feel that I am finally moving past the anger and toward forgiveness. I don’t know how Chris felt that day. I can’t put my mind into the place where he must have been in order to do this to himself. I am glad that he didn’t hurt anyone else, I feel like he was capable of hurting others when he would let his anger get the best of him.

Chris left a note, it was addressed to “all”. Not just you, not just me, but everyone. The first sentence consisted of two words and two words only, those words were “Forgive me”. I will do what you have asked of me my brother, I will forgive you.

It is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know the best who elude us…but we can still love them. We can love completely…without complete understanding.

I wanted to take the time to say thank you to the countless people who have reached out to us and shown that they care; it means more than you could ever know.

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