Category Archives: Guest Post

My Big Goofball Brother 2.0

Years have now flown by. Your dog has now passed, but don’t you fret he lived the best spoiled life ever. It was incredibly hard losing him after you. He felt like the last living part of you. I now own a cat. Yes a cat. I don’t even believe it myself. I think you would get along with him though. Both of you like to cause me trouble.
I’ve dropped out of college and restarted college over the years. You and I have always had issues with school. The lack of motivation, yet we understand the importance of education. That personal drive isn’t there. You were the only one I could discuss that with peacefully.
I miss your wit. I’ve been catching myself the last few days getting a little cocky and egotistical…. need you  to knock me down a few pegs. Plus we now have a nephew who needs to learn the ancient ways of being a smartass. Our brother wrote you a lovely note about how he thinks you could’ve been the best funcle. You really would’ve. You should see him being a dad. It’s pretty awesome. Our sister is out here taking over the world with her strong educated opinions and non-fuckery. Meanwhile, I’m just hanging out as usual. Think I’m going to go buy a bright orange hat soon.
I love you and miss those great big hugs.
-Your little sis

My little brother

You always gave me grief when I called you that. My little brother, we were only a year and 8 months apart but responsibilities wise I felt years older than you. Maybe since I was the older sister I wanted to take care of you and protect you and maybe since 16 when you started having trouble with mental illness I felt like I needed to.
Its less than 2 months since you’ve been gone and it feels unreal. When reality does poke through, the pain is unreal. You were 32 and I was 33. I told you I wanted us to look at our pictures together when we were in our 60s. You always hated photos. Now that’s all I have. I realize that there weren’t many videos of you because it was hard enough to get a photo of you let alone a full video. Now I’m scared I’ll forget your voice. I’m so scared malli. I’m scared to live through the rest of my life without you. I miss you so much. I wish I could have seen you one more time. I wish for your birthday our parents agreed to go on that family trip I planned. I’m so mad and angry, no at you but everything and everyone else. Especially God for taking you back. I am never mad at you because I know you tried, I saw how hard you wanted to live. I’m so sorry I feel like as your big sister I let you down. I will always feel like I let you down. I wasn’t old enough or strong enough. I was trying. The money I saved for you to start your real-estate business went to your funeral and that broke my heart. I think I hated God so much for that. I wish you just came home that day. I wish that so much. I dont know how to move on from not having you to talk to. You always knew the right and wise thing to say. I wish I could hear from you.

6 Months Down

You have been gone for a little over 6 months now. It feels like everything just happened yesterday. The phone call from the detective, talking to my parents, telling my boyfriend. I had to identify your body and plan your funeral. Most days I’m sad, other days I’m angry, and most of all I feel guilty. I feel like I let you down and like you let me down. There was nothing we couldn’t get over together. You were only 26 and I’m only 28. We had our whole futures ahead of us. I feel like you abandoned me. All I do is look at videos and pictures of you and us together. I don’t know how I’ll go on the rest of my life with you.

Dear Matthew

I am writing this as I sit here in the living room, right across from the chair you sat in, the weekend before you died. I will remember every moment of that weekend until I leave this fragile, cruel world myself.
You texted that you and your wife were likely going to split up. You had hope though. You and she had planned to “give it once more chance” by taking a trip to Florida, but when she brought her 7-year-old grandson along at the last minute, you said you knew it was over. You told us she texted you, “I don’t love you anymore,” so that’s where you were. You didn’t seem distraught. You were your usual self. You wanted to stay with us for a few days, you had a job interview lined up you were hoping would work out. I said yes! Please come! And I said I would keep your confidence about what was going on with your marriage. You asked specifically that I not tell Mom. You didn’t want to “put up with her BS.” I said I didn’t blame you. She’s always been so judgmental and cruel, unless you’re a member of HER church (which gets anybody a kitchen pass to commit any and every kind of horror).
We talked about you losing your job in hospital construction. We watched the movie about the neurosurgeon in Dallas that killed all of those people, and you explained that “elective procedures are what pays for all of these fancy new hospitals.” Not car wrecks, not women having babies. Elective procedures. I listened to you talk about how your hospital construction company “let everybody go” at the end of 2021, elective procedures had been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. You were so hurt. You showed me how you left the hospital that last day, waving the middle finger salute just so that cameras would catch it. We laughed. I said, “I hope they did see it!” Then Tuesday night, as you and I stood in the kitchen, a look came over your face, and you said, “Yeah. I’m a sh*theel, I drink too much, I don’t support my family good enough,” and I screamed, “MATTHEW! Please, please, please don’t think that! If I ever gave you any reason to think that’s what I thought, please FORGIVE ME. Please, please don’t think this way. THIS IS WHAT KILLED DAD!” You looked at me and I swear, I think you thought something like “Oh sh*t. She knows!” Then you laughed and said, “Ahh, sis. It is what is is.” And I let it go.
The next morning, I wrote a note for you and put it on the front door. I almost didn’t leave that note, but I just knew on some level that, even if it made me late for work, I needed to leave you a note telling you you always had a place to stay here, no matter what happened with your wife. That you weren’t a rotten guy. That I loved you. And I’m so glad I did.
That afternoon, I called our sister. I told her I KNEW something was the matter and that I was worried about you. I told her not to say anything to our mother, but that you were likely going to divorce your wife and move down here. She said that you had called mother yourself the day before you left, and that mother had expressed shock that your wife was acting in such a way, seeming to let her marriage of almost 20 years go down the drain. I told our sister that I was very worried about you and that you had chosen NOT to go see our mother (who lived 5 miles from me here) because you didn’t want to put up with her BS. I don’t remember much else about the conversation other than coming away feeling like our sister didn’t seem to want to say much other than you “should’ve gotten your GED.” I yelled at her that you were a very successful construction project manager who’s made quite a successful life for himself WITHOUT a GED, for God’s sake. I told her that if she thought for a minute that you were not aware that’s how she felt, that she was mistaken. She said, “I never told Matthew that” — as if that excuses how judgmental and unempathetic she was — and I said goodbye.
The next evening, my husband woke me up and told me he had just gotten a call from your stepson. I screamed, “THAT’S WHAT YOU GET MOM!,” before I even fully understood what had happened. That’s what you GET Mom, for not letting two of your three children live their adult lives without unrelenting lack of approval of them. You granted approval for only one — the one who does everything and believes everything the same way you do.
When I shouted as much to our sister after I knew you were gone, she said I needed to shut up and calm down, that now was the time to “circle the wagons,” and come together as a family. I knew what that meant. That was code for KEEP THIS A SECRET. Well, I didn’t. I will not. I never will. I immediately called family and told them what happened. I called ministers and contacted old family friends. They hadn’t been told. Immediate family hadn’t been told even after more than 24 hours had passed. They wanted me to keep it a secret. Nobody wants to talk to me about your last weekend on earth. No one. I read your eulogy at your memorial service, but at your burial service, I was not contacted by anyone. I was the only one you gifted with your presence the days before you died, and I was “persona non grata” at your graveside.
Even my grief counselor tells me I’m “hurting myself by keeping on reliving these horrifically painful moments.” That I’m torturing myself by pounding my head against a wall, asking myself what kind of a mother doesn’t want to know what her ONLY SON said/did/thought about during his final “vacation.”
But you know what, writing is cathartic (or it is for me, sometimes). As I write this, I think I know what kind of mother would rather chit chat about the latest evangelical hoohah rather than talk to her eldest daughter about how her only son’s last weekend on earth went. I think I know what kind of mother would do that. And as I write, I’m realizing that I just may have an idea why you did what you did, after a lifetime of not having your deepest need to feel loved and approved of unconditionally met. So I guess my question is a rhetorical one, on one level.
The non-rhetorical question, the harder one to answer, is do I want to have anything other than an arm’s length, superficial relationship with our mother and sister in the future. How do I let the gaping, black hole in them, their complete absence of empathy, not make me want to scream?? How do I get to the place where I see this as just evidence of their brokenness and “accept them for who they are,” as I am being told to do. “You’re just being the victim otherwise.” Am I?? I don’t think so.
Corey and I are creating an endowed scholarship for college student athletes in your memory now. You were so talented. You were loyal to your friends and you loved your family, even when we weren’t very lovable. You truly were “the best of us.”
I will love you and remember you always. Your name will be spoken often in my home. My children and grandchildren will know you. Your memory will NEVER be allowed to fade. Not while I, your oldest sister who would give everything she owns for one more minute to hug you and tell you that she loves you always, no matter what, continues to draw breath.


You, my older brother, tormented me while parents were away at work or watching tv. You, curious and wanting to engage with the world, explore, learn and interact with people enraged your parents who naive and shy, only thought their role was to control into submissiveness. Good kids are submissive to parents and do what they are told, stay silent, but smile, sweet like Normal Rockwell portraits (superficially). You left on a covert adventure that would never be condoned, returned to home after a couple of days missing, but met with prepared rage: army blanket folded, jeans, underwear, t-shirt ready to go. Locked-up in a ‘facility’ with a roommate, humiliated with visit by grandma, mom and little sister. Finally free from the facility, sent to group home. Made connections. Then, granted home weekend visits. Don’t remember what happened that Saturday night, but Sunday morning playing Nintendo, mom was angry about the house, messy as usual, and wanted me to clean it up (I did that all the time to finally see her happy). I asked, “but what about Jimmy? Does he need to clean also?” “You are right” she raged and went to pound on his door. No answer. She found him, hanging. I followed, and saw. Layers of army blankets hanging like sheets drying, but obscuring him. Go away, she said with white face. I, in my purple pajamas went to the street, unsure. The neighbor did not answer the door. I came back. She took me, white in the face and shaking, to the other neighbor. I went in, they talked so I could not hear. They set me up with the Nintendo, which drowned the sound of the sirens. The women offered to brush my hair, but that had not happened for six years so I declined, uncomfortable. My mom came back and brought me clothes and asked me, twelve years old, if I knew what suicide meant. Silence met with silence. She arranged for an old friend to pick me up. They came, we rode in the front leather seat of a huge Oldsmobile. Silence. I was at the house, silence. Then, my older sister came, brought me to her boyfriends rental. There I sat alone on the couch, and then played Nintendo. Finally home after some unknown span of time, I remember the home, unusually clean, vacuumed rug with the path off the gurney visible. Only at age 45 do I realize that she cleaned, while I played Nintendo across the street, and before the ambulance came. She cleaned to hide the usual filth that we lived in. Back at home, I stand in the driveway to escape the interior silence. An inquiring neighbor comes over to me and asks if he is ok. I, unable to speak turn awkwardly until the neighbor leaves. I never cried. The funeral happened. No one ever said his name again. His room was a void, never mentioned except as the “corner bedroom” until many years later my dad moved in as his ‘office’, but then it was called “Jim’s room”. They never called him Jim. I don’t miss him. I never cried. They never talked about it after it happened. Today, they seem to forget their role, and only miss him.

I just lost my older brother

On the 26th of August I went to tour the University of South Carolina for graduate school but, little did I know the next day would be the last day I would see my older brother alive. My brother Sean took his life 3 days later. Between me and our parents I was the last one to see him alive. The last time our mom had seen him was in May of this year for our cousins (our moms nephew) high school graduation. Our dad saw him last Christmas and has talked to him on the regular since other than the day he took his life (From my knowledge). His funeral was the 6th of this month and it has been 3 weeks since then.

Emil, I miss you

Two years have passed since you took your life. It is hard to describe how time has passed since it feels like an eternity and one moment simultaneously. It has been so painful to exist without you, but I have done it, as you would have liked me too. You are always in my thoughts and my heart. You live on with me, I feel it. Life is so concrete and abstract at the same time. Your time on earth as a living human has passed, but you live on in your loved ones as real as before. To all others who have a sibling that has passed away from suicide recently, I can only say that it gets easier. You learn to manage sorrow and grief. It does not make you miss your sibling any less, but it becomes a natural part of your life that you somehow learn to manage. Otherwise would be unbearable. Emil, brother, I miss you. I miss you every second of every day, and my heart aches for you. I love you dearly.

Complicated twin grief

I lost my twin brother to suicide on 8/4/22. I am devastated, lost, confused and at peace all at once. He struggled with mental illness since we were 13, and lost his battle at the age of 44. I am at peace that he is finally free of the torture he lived with in his mind every day. His mental illness divided us and tore us apart. He could be loving and caring one minute and mean and vengeful the next. I was usually his target and as he saw it, I was “the perfect one” (oh if he only knew how imperfect my life has been). He started using drugs in our 20’s (which we did not know about at the time) and became verbally abusive and manipulative. He was the same with my parents who eventually started the process of getting a restraining order against him. In the midst of that he suddenly moved out of state…..I have not talked to him since….for over 15 years. I decided that I needed to work on building myself up and could not do that while he was tearing me down. My mom was afraid of him and my dad was angry. I often kept tabs on him through friends or a occasional browse through his social media. I thought of him often and wondered how he was. I could never really tell because he often hid behind a smile. I have since adopted two children with special needs and wished they could have an uncle, but knew on his bad days or weeks that they would become his target, and I could not let that happen. I could not let him do to them what he did to me.
I’m finding out now that my parents have had email contact with him for the past several years which followed the same path as the relationship in the past- good until it wasn’t, then he became angry and mean. Time would go on and he would reach out again until he got upset, and the cycle continued. I’m upset that my parents didn’t tell me they were talking and that he had been accomplishing such wonderful things between his episodes. I’m upset that he reached out to them and didn’t attempt to reach out to me. We never had that “twin bond” that others expect twins to have. We were close as children but as his mental health took over and he refused to seek treatment we grew farther apart in my attempts to shelter from the storm and chaos.
Now he is gone! I don’t carry any guilt but I carry a tremendous amount of regret. I do not believe that I, nor anyone else could have stopped him. Per the investigator he had been meticulously planning this for a long time and had every detail covered. He left my parents, his friend and the mother of his son a note. I have nothing. I wish I had something saying “I know you didn’t do anything, I know you never wronged me. I’m sorry for blaming you and taking it all out on you. I thought about you and wondered how you were doing from time to time. I really do love you”. But, even in his tragic death I didn’t exist to him.
We didn’t talk for 15 years and yet there is an unimaginable hole in my heart and soul. For 15 years he was not in my life, now he is gone and I cannot imagine my life without him. I’m mourning the loss of our relationship 15 years ago, the twin relationship we never had, the fences and hearts that will never be mended. I’m confused about how I can feel such intense pain and loss when he has already been lost for the past 15 years. Perhaps because there was always the chance that he would get better and we would be close again. When he was himself, he was brilliant, creative, thoughtful, opinionated and stubborn.
My parents have offered to have some of his ashes placed in a blown glass memory stone for me. While I would love this, I struggle with the question as to whether or not he would even want me to have them. I struggle with whether or not I deserve them after not talking to him for 15 years. I struggle with more than I anticipated I would. Grief is complicated, but I never imagined just how complicated it could be in these circumstances.

2 hrs 20 minutes away from 24 hours

It was the moment I was told…MY 60 yo BROTHER ANDY was dead. I’m 59 & in Elementary Education and this is one the outcome of children and adults abused, sexually, physically and mentally tortured, neglected… I’m still in my closet and sitting here like a thing. I’m filled with guilt that I didn’t go more from him. I am sure he felt unloved by me because I didn’t visit him. I needed to distance myself. I’m smothered with darkness trying to convince me that I could have saved him by SHOWING my brother I loved him more. He had no self-esteem & our relationship was – I guess the word is estranged. and I caught myself guarding my heart which kept me from going to see him. He was 40 minutes, no car, he was a kind kind deeply kind soul. Oh my heart hurts. It hurt me to see him and his lifestyle. I wish I could go get him today and spend time with him. Drunk, high or what ever condition he was in. He suffered such PTSD that he could not escape a day. I deeply regret not taking him to the grocery store weekly. I’ll live with this regret now of not accepting him like he was and going to see him in what ever condition he was in. The moment the great sadness began 8-22-2022 2:20pm. I want to join this group and any group to get through this. God saves. Love always is around.