Category Archives: Guest Post


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.

To Travis

Dear Travis,
This letter is one that I should have written along time ago. I have blamed so much on you. I have let myself go down a dark and ugly road and put it all in your name. All because of a decision that you made all those years ago. It was just a split second for you, but I made it my whole life. Making it my whole atmosphere. It’s hard to see outside my own atmosphere. But I need to. I need to tell you how you have shaped my life and how I will always love you. I need to tell you that it is time for me to let go.
I feel you in my heart, but I also feel the emptiness you left there. That emptiness has led to the uglier shapes you have left in my life. The shapes of a knife’s jagged dull blade on my wrists and legs. Not to die but just for the relief the physical pain brought. The shapes of broken relationships from pushing people away in fear of losing them as I lost you. The shapes of countless empty beer bottles and cocaine baggies littering the coffee table displaying my efforts to run from your memory. From your soul.
You have also brought beautiful things to my life. Mostly in the more recent days. I realize my journey through the pain and self-destruction has rendered me a stronger person that cannot be swayed by the breeze of social rifts and minor squabbles. I know that if I can defeat the demons that I created for myself, I can defeat anything. I am capable of anything. With enough work, discipline, and focus on the better things in life, I will prevail. You taught me this. You taught me that the clenching around my throat, the stabbing pain in my stomach, the depression, the anxiety, it is all temporary. After it is done there is still a beautiful world to experience.
I wish I could show you the world. I wish you could see Italy like you always dreamed of. You would fit in so well with my friends there. I wish you knew what it was like to go for a run on the northern beaches of Sydney at sunrise or ski in the French Alps or go mountain biking in New Zealand. I guess the only thing I pray is that you are seeing these things. Seeing them through me. Feeling what I feel and taking it as your own because, brother, I know that I have felt those feelings of hopelessness and frustration as you did right before pulling that trigger. You just beat me to it and our parents can’t go through that twice. Dad just wouldn’t make it.
You have always been something bigger than me. Something I never gave myself permission to let go of. In the past I could never allow myself to put the same amount of energy into loving me as I have missing you. But now I know things need to change. You were so young to leave us, just a child really. Anchoring myself in the time that I lost you is only holding my development back though.
When I say I am letting go, I am saying goodbye. Not to your memory, but to using your memory as an excuse to not be my best self. To living in the clouded atmosphere of self-pity and doubt. I am not perfect and some of my social behaviors still need work due to living like this for the past 18 years but I will work on them. I will work on me. I will work on my heart so it is a better home for you.
Your little brother

My Inspiration

My big brother Darien easily influenced everything I am today. Being eleven years older than me, I worshipped the ground he walked on and wanted to be just like him. He introduced me to his interests, many of which are my own now too. I lost him the summer before my sophomore year in high school and I will now be entering my senior year. It is so strange to think he won’t see me walk across that stage next year. There are so many things I wish we got to talk about and sometimes when I watch a new anime or read a new manga, I want nothing more than to talk to him about it. I wish he could see the young woman I’m growing into and the things I have accomplished. Every single thing I do is in his honor because I know that I may not be able to talk to him now, but when I do I want to have so many great stories to tell him.

My 19 year old brother killed himself today

Today i woke up and the biggest worry i had was that my fiancé was late to work. Then it was the gas station not having any good food options for me to eat during work. Then Saturday june 25 2022 at 2:30 pm i got a text message that changed my life. “ You need to come to the house right away. It’s an emergency. Just leave post” so i rushed to my personal vehicle as my work car would be too slow. And i at one point went 127 mph on the highway. Once i neared my childhood home i saw cop cars alongside the other cars there and i knew my worst fear was true, someone was dead. My older sister and family friend were the only ones there yet. I immediately rushed to her and asked her what was wrong and she said the thing that would change me forever. “Max killed himself, we just found out because i found him”. I was and still am in shock. But my first thought was f*** im sorry she had to see that and i said as much to her. Shock does weird things sometimes. I didn’t burst into tears or have a breakdown (that would come later) but my brain started filling with questions. Questions i felt I couldn’t ask because it felt like it would be inappropriate. What happens now? Who is going to… clean up? How did he get the … option of choice? Did he leave a note? I ended up asking the investigator and he said no physical note but they were hoping to find something on his phone. Im just still reeling. Im a practitioner so i also worry about his spirit. I had a bit of a cry when my fiancé got there but after that i was just numb. I avoided thinking too hard on it or just being too blunt with it. But as soon as i got home and saw my dog (my emotional support/ the one I’m truly comfortable expressing sadness and crying around since she always cuddles me) i lost it. I had a good long hard cry, the first of many i assume. I just needed to put this somewhere. Somewhere it wouldn’t scar or hurt someone who hasn’t experienced this. Im so tired but i also dont want to sleep. Im so sad but so numb. I miss him so much already. Im so so upset that he’s gone. I am not mad at him though. Ive been close to doing the same before, luckly i pulled myself away from the edge. Im just sorry he couldn’t. Im angry at his demons or his brain chemicals or whatever made him feel like that was his only choice. Im sad that I’ll never have a new memory of him again. Im mad he wont ever get to go to school to be a fashion designer. Im mad i wont ever hear his voice again, or hear one of his funny rants. Im sad because i wont get to see him put together another eccentric outfit. I wont see what he would wear to my wedding. I just want him to know, that im not angry with him, that i love him and that he needs to forgive himself for doing it so he can find peace. I just want my baby brother back. But he is gone.