Category Archives: Guest Post

Keeps On Turning

I don’t know who the hell is going to see this, and I don’t really care. You were 23 when you killed yourself on your birthday back in August, and I turned 21 in October. At first I was confused why the world kept on going without you, and now I’m just pissed off. Not at you, but that this is just how things have to be now. You know I wasn’t a person who instigated things, but now I’m just itching for someone to try and start something with me so I have an excuse to punch something.

But at the end of the day it isn’t anger. It’s a sadness and feeling of confusion so deep I can’t even see the other side of it. It’s being frustrated at not knowing how much pain must have been inside for you to shoot yourself and die all alone. I wish I could shake and scream at you or even just give you one last awkward brother hug.

Or punch you really hard in the shoulder for making me go through a 4 hour open casket viewing talking to people who didn’t really know you and will never ever understand the amount of raw pain this is to wake up to every morning. These days I zone out so hard for so long to get away from thinking and feeling that sometimes you have to nudge me to bring me back to what’s going on.

I don’t know. If I had a dime for every time someone told me “time will make it better” I could have worn something MUCH nicer to your funeral. There was so much love and kindness left in your heart, and we all just hope you’re someplace where you aren’t hurting anymore.

Love you dude. See you later.

My Baby Brother

Nolan. I had always dreamt of the day I would have a baby brother. Then I got lucky. I got three of you guys. I was not lucky enough to spend the beginning of my life with you, but I was there before you hit double digits. Back when you were small and would listen to anything I said because I was your big sister the day I met you. I watched you grow from my baby brother who wore footie pajamas to the dork who could show me how to do anything on a computer. Remember when you got grounded from electronics so you modded your raspberry pi to watch YouTube? We all laughed. How could you be so clever.

I was on my way to work when dad called. I don’t remember my drive home. But asking the sheriff “are my parents inside?” Will play on repeat the rest of my life. As I looked past them I saw more standing where you were found. I don’t remember enough but your dad unable to stand all day. On his knees. And (y)our mom just pacing crying while my dad took the lead to the detectives. Our brothers were there. And we were so lost. When they asked if we wanted to see you before they took you, we shouldn’t have said yes. We shouldn’t have been as curious as you. You had had a great Sunday we thought. But you hid your gun out back. And within hours you were gone, and we didn’t know until Monday morning. Grandpa laid with you. Pulling your shirt so we didn’t have to see your damage. But your body showed enough. How will you always be 16? When they let me dress you at the funeral home I had never felt someone so cold. But it was the last time you let me hold your hand. You had let me kiss your head when I visited home the month before. So I kissed it again. I didn’t think that would upset you now. None of this feels real 3 weeks out. Getting out of bed hurts. I don’t have the strength to brush my teeth or hair somedays and I just hope for the best. Thanksgiving sucked without you and I’m scared of Christmas. I wish you could’ve talked to us about it all. Because I feel so lost not knowing why.

Last in, First Out

J, you killed yourself and your pain on October 5, 2021. You have been memorialized, your ashes safe in the house where your widow and 2 of your children still live. We were five strong, with you, the last to come, always the beloved favorite. Our love could not save you, our trying did not save you. How can it be that for months this summer, you were finally happy, you were planning trips, contacting roofers, then getting Covid – you stopped calling, stopped answering our emails and calls. Your last words to me were “I’m so tired, Is. Just so tired.” We are still trying to save you. We can’t yet make sense, let go, stop asking each other what happened. We are caring for our sister, your wife, and your children and grands but we miss you to distraction. We were five, now we are 4. I sense your peace, I sense our lack of. You are out of pain, we couldn’t save you. At the end, you didn’t want to be saved. Free will is hard to bear. You are loved and wanted and someday we will perhaps stopped being shocked but we are still 5 in our hearts, little brother.

This is my life now

It was one year since I lost you this September. One year without all the things you did that made me love you, your smile, laugh, wit, kind heart, and open ears, you were truly one of my best friends. I regret not getting to know you sooner in life, I always thought I had more time.
In the harsh days after you ended your life, I thought a year from now I will be “better” as if this grief was a sickness I could cure. One year came and passed and I have been struggling so much more. The realization that time will never heal this ache. The reality that missing you and loving you will always be complicated and intertwined with all of the parts of my life now. Grief has been the rawest form of love I have ever felt. The tears I have shed screaming for you at night are frightening and violent. Then there is the secondary grief in losing who I was on September 19, 2020, the day before you died. That girl was strong and resilient. She was patient and thoughtful. She was happy. That girl is gone. I cannot unlearn what losing you taught me, I cannot go back to who I was before.
When people say I look like I am doing so well, it makes me sick to my stomach. What you are seeing in me is survival. It takes all of the energy I have to try and just be in this world without my little brother. I recall the day I found out you died like it was today. Dad called and said, “Eric is dead.” I wailed and wailed, disbelief, are we sure he is gone? He said, “I have to go call your older brother.” I sat in my home alone, on the floor, my life shattered around me. It felt like being at ground zero of a bomb going off. I will never understand. I am deeply hurt you felt that this was the only way forward. I will love you forever. I will grieve the loss of you forever.

Dear Joshua

You left us on November 1st, and your funeral is in 2 days. This is the hardest thing I have ever and will ever go through. But I’m not mad at you. I don’t know why, because I feel like I should be but I’m just not. I’m upset you didn’t want to come to me, knowing I’ve been where you are and I got through it. You’re the older one, and the selfish part of me is thinking like “you’re supposed to set an example for me” but the other part, the part that saw the pictures of you during your last month here, sees how tired you looked and how you lost all your happiness for some reason. I don’t understand anything anymore. You never let anyone know you were depressed and I don’t know why. We could’ve helped you, I would’ve been on the first flight to see you. And I’m so upset for your fiancé Amanda. You left her all alone in a state where she doesn’t know anyone and needs a plane to get home. How could you do that when you guys were supposed to get married in April. Things would’ve gotten easier. I don’t know if you did this because of the money problems you were having, but I pray to God it was more than that because that could’ve been fixed. I think I’m just looking for someone to blame because I don’t wanna put it on you when really you are the only one to blame. I hate saying that. It’s only been 2 and a half weeks and I miss you every second of every day. I wish I told you that you’re my best friend. I used to tell everyone that, my clients, my therapist, literally everyone else but you. I don’t know why I didn’t tell you. The day before you died I wrote an essay for school about you and how you became my best friend over the years. I wish I sent it to you, maybe it would’ve changed your mind. We all miss you so much. This feels unbearable. You wrote an 11 page letter and now over 90 people are coming to your funeral, you had to know how much you were loved. It kills me not knowing if you’re okay and if I’ll see you again but it’s the only thing that gets me through the day. I don’t think this feeling will ever go away. I miss you so much. I don’t know a life without you I mean you were there the day I was born. Nothing makes sense anymore. I can’t sleep, eat, go to work or go to class. All I can think about is you. You helped me through EVERY single thing I’ve gone through, big or small. I would call you immediately and you would just let me vent and give me the best advice anyone ever did. And now it feels like I don’t have anyone. Right before you did this, you were talking to your best friend, making plans to come home for Christmas. You told him you were going grocery shopping and instead you shot yourself. What happened? What made you snap? Or were you already planning this because it was the day after dads birthday and you didn’t want him to have to go through this on his birthday. But the day after doesn’t make it any better. Nothing does. I am so sad and heartbroken. I feel like I want to end my life too so I don’t have to live with this forever. Now when mom and dad die, I’m gonna be all alone. Did you think about that? Did you think about me before you did this? Do you know how much I love you? All I keep asking myself is why. What was so bad you couldn’t fix and why didn’t you ask for help. You had to know what this would do to us. I keep picturing your body and it hurts so bad. I feel like I’m going insane and I can’t stop torturing myself. You were the funniest and kindest person I’ve ever known and I’m not just saying that because you’re family. Everyone else agrees too. Everyone’s worried I’m gonna go back to drugs like I did when I was 21 but you would be so disappointed in me. I can’t do that to you. And thinking about the future hurts so bad. I’m scared to leave the house because if something were to happen to me, I’m the only one left. Mom and dad would not be okay. I feel like there’s so much pressure on me to not get hurt. And I feel there’s pressure to have kids even though I never wanted them. I was supposed to be the “cool aunt”. But now, if I don’t have kids, our family ends. There will be nothing left of you on this earth. I don’t know how to come to terms with that so I think I need to have them because a world without a part of you doesn’t make any sense. Josh you were only 28. Turning 29 in December. I already bought you your birthday card before this happened. You didn’t even start your life yet and you spent so much of it protecting me and helping me and saving me but I couldn’t even save you this one time. I keep thinking about when you texted me at 2am in august asking if I was up. Was that the night you wrote the note? If I was awake would you have talked to me and told me what was going on? When I called you the next day I asked you 15 times if you were okay and you kept saying yes. But what if I answered that night. Maybe things would be different. Mom and dad are crying all the time. And you of all people know mom hasn’t been the same since her brain injury so it really just feels like it’s me and dad. Is that why you were depressed? Because mom isn’t the same as she used to be? Did this start when the accident happened? You took such good care of me, you were the ONLY one who really understand how it felt to see her in a coma for so long and now I don’t have anyone to talk to about it. I know you were tired and hurting. And a small part of me is happy that you’re not anymore. I hope with time that happiness grows as I realize you made your choice and you couldn’t handle it anymore. I don’t know if I’ll ever accept this but I will continue to pray to you and God that I do. And I pray I will see you again one day. Never seeing you again doesn’t make any sense to me, so I HAVE to see you one day.

I love you more than anything in this world. And I will miss you forever. I hope you found peace, and I hope you’re okay. Get some rest. I love you.

4 years ago

Today marks 4 years since my brother took his own life. It was a dull, aching day where I did nothing productive and just sat in my bed, listening to music that makes me happy. Today wasn’t for remembering, it was for forgetting. Which is what is happening. If any of y’all are reading this, on the day that my brother died, I decided to google ‘sibling suicide’ – not sure why my first instinct was to google something, but anyway – and I came across this site. My original post is still up, and it is heart-wrenching. I don’t ever want to feel that way again. Life goes on and I go on and saying your name hurts less because you are becoming less and less a part of my life. I have already lived 20% of my life without you. Isn’t that sick? I wanted to post here a couple of days ago, when I became older than you, but I couldn’t bring myself. I went down to the ocean and wrote you a letter but I was late for a party so it was rushed. Look at me, going to parties. Gosh, everything just sucks and I don’t know where this is going but I just had to post something here.

My brilliant older brother

My brother was a very humble person, with brilliance that far surpassed (and came before) David Letterman, Conan, or Bill Gates. He actually developed the letters v v w v v for the internet BEFORE there was www. for websites. He was there at the beginning of the world wide web. When he was TWO years old, he wrote ” I drank the orange juiice” on a note, and all the words were spelled correctly.
It is an indescribable feeling to explain how my entire experience of life on planet Earth has been altered forever by the loss of him and my mother ON THE SAME DAY nearly three weeks ago . It is like the greatness and memories have been darkened by the way it allegedly ended. If you put yourself through the further torture of going to the cemetery after funeral, I thought ” I am not leaving you here” about my family.