To my Brother Bear

Dearest Brother Bear,

Today is the 9th month of our separation on earth. This has been the hardest year of my life and I have lost our Mom, struggled six years of constant hospitalizations with my illness, and nothing compares to this pain.
I remember holding your tiny hand in the hospital. You held on to my hand for dear life. You were under 2 pounds at birth yet had the strength of a man. You let go of my hand forever on January 2nd, 2019. I wish my hand were there to pull you to safety or catch you as you lept from your high rise. My hands were absent. I had only texted you 42 minutes before and you were in my house less than 24 hours before. The disbelief is disabling.

I was your confidant, protector and friend. I never judged your long battle with paranoia schizophrenia. You worked so hard to stay balanced and move forward in life. Looking through your phone, I see you used every app, book, and mantra to help stay afloat. You excelled. You had a good job, tons of friends, filled passport and padded accounts but…. no peace. It was a facade. I only found this out because of the clue you left me, your notebook and passwords. You tried to tell me but could not. The disease silenced you forever but you thought around it. I followed your clues and saw what was attacking your mind. It was not pretty. I was so sad. I wish I could have quieted the voices, demons, and chaos in your brain. I wish you were still with me.

I must live on but I will never stop making sure your life is not in vain. I have done so much already: gave money to your best friend to help him continue his education, joined the fight with AFSP to change laws for the mentally ill and for suicide prevention, donated to sites to help those in pain, and tied up all loose ends with your friends, girlfriend, and our Dad. I am so glad I can work for you and honor you. I miss your presence but glad you and I still hang out. We talk more now than ever. You live forever in my life. My toddler, your niece, saves things for you, draws you pictures and we watch your videos, especially ones of both of you. We miss you everyday. I drive your car because it smells like you and has your things. I have not moved much. I have your phone as a document of your life.
But, my memory of you: your scent, the furrows in your brow, your surgery scars, mole on your foot, turtle toenails, perfect smile, deep thinking eyes so tired of battling, and those long, muscled legs, quirky noises you made, and flat thumbs from thumb sucking.

Your students miss their coach, your friends cannot close that chasm, your girlfriend’s heart is broken, your father’s heart is bruised and you took the other half of my heart that losing our Mom took.
I love you always and I know you will always love me.
Rachel and Nathan forever.
Love,
Sister Bear

Tomorrow we Bury You

My Dearest Kate,
On April 20th, 2018, we lost you forever. Though things have gotten easier, I still think of you every single day, praying that you’re in heaven with God.
We’ve had your ashes at mom and dad’s house since you died, but we found a beautiful cemetery run by catholic monks out in Berryville, VA. It’s simple but picturesque- the type of place you’d have loved. It’s just so serene and peaceful there.
Tomorrow me, mom, dad and our priest are heading there tomorrow afternoon to finally place you in your final resting place. It’ll also be the final resting place for me, mom, dad and Jennifer, so one day you’ll be with your loved ones.
I know tomorrow will be an emotional day, but I’m praying for some type of closure. I know there’ll never be full closure, but at least we’ll know you’re in a beautiful place, hopefully as beautiful as heaven where I pray you are now. I’ll do my best to hold it together, but the finality of it all will finally hit me I’m sure.
Anyway, I love and miss you, and though you probably didn’t feel it when you killed yourself, but you’ve always been loved Kate. I wish I’d told you that more, maybe it would have changed your mind, but maybe not. I still feel guilt for not reaching out more, but what’s done is done.
Anyway, tomorrow is your day Kate. Many tears have been shed for the last 18 or so months, but I’m sure more will be tomorrow.
After tomorrow, I’ll at least be able to come and visit you and talk to you. I’ll always make sure your grave stone is kept clean and tidy, and I’ll visit you as much as possible. You’re always in my heart and mind, and I’ll never, ever forget you as long as I live.
Love always,
Your Brother

Fly high brother

It’s been fourteen years since you left and not a single day passes that I do not think about you. I try to focus on what I had, instead of what I lost and most days, it works. On those days, I think of what I miss about you. I think about your maddening dry sense of humor, your intelligent response to everything, and your witty charm that kept everyone around you mesmerized. You had a certain way with people and I deeply admired that about you.
But what I miss the most is the look upon your face every time you saw me. The second you realized I was near, you would drop whatever it was your were doing and the biggest smile would appear across your face. As you yelled my name with so much enthusiasm and excitement, you would walk towards me to give me a welcoming hug. You would bend down to wrap me in your warm embrace and lift me off the ground as you whispered, “I missed you kid,” into my ear. It didn’t matter how long (or how short) it had been since I last you. You always told me you missed me. It made me feel like a million dollars each time!
I always felt so safe when I was in your arms, as if the world (or anyone in it) could never harm me. Your arms were like a shield of protection that was impenetrable by even the strongest of forces. I haven’t felt that safe since our last embrace and my soul aches for it every moment of every day.
You were the best big brother that a girl could ever hope for and you loved me so fiercely. You treated me like I was your equal, even though there was an age gap of ten years between us. You understood everything there is about me, and accepted every part of who I am, flaws and all. You knew me deepest secrets and my darkest fears and not once did you ever use them against me. You encouraged me to follow my dreams, to never take life for granted, and to always remember that no matter what, you’d always be here for me.
I may never know exactly why you did what you did…or even what you were possibly thinking, but I’ve come to accept the fact that those are questions I will never get an answer to. And surprisingly, that’s okay now. It took many years to come to this point, but now that I am here, I am finally able to focus on what truly matters.
I no longer feel the need to know the facts behind your reasoning. I just need to remember the fact that you loved me. That your choice had nothing to do with me or how much you and I cared about each other. Although it still feels very personal to me, that is not how you intended for it to make me feel.
I know you loved me. I know you cared about me. I even know you valued our relationship and cherished the close bond that we shared for twenty years. I also know that you’re sorry for the pain you caused. You didn’t mean to break our hearts or to leave us riddled with guilt that would try desperately to destroy us.
You didn’t mean any of it…and I have to remember that. Even when I become so angry yet again for what happened. Even when I am feeling beaten down and ready to explode from all the anguish of it all.
Whenever you are at this precise moment in time, I hope you are happy and finally at peace. No matter what has happened, I still admire you and strive everyday to be the best version of myself that you always knew I would become. I hope that when you look down on me from up above, you are proud of the woman I have become. You taught me so much and believed in me when no one else did. For that, i will always be grateful.
I love you brother of mine. I always have and I always will. Until we meet again.

To my brother Jaden

Dear Jaden, not a day goes by where I don’t think about you. You have been gone for a year. I hold a lot of regrets and I am just so angry at myself. I should have reached out to you more. I should have talked to you when I had the chance. I could have been there for you. I should have been there for you. After you died in February life just got hard. I had all this anger inside of me because I felt like I wasn’t a good sister. If I could ask you one question I would ask why didn’t you leave a letter or something. I just feel lost without you. I am trying to get help with everything that has happened to me. But at the same time I just feel lost and lonely without you. I want you to come back everyday to me. I miss you so much.

To my big brother James

James I miss you so much, you are on my mind every minute of the day. Sometimes when I first open my eyes in the morning for that split second it feels like you are still in your room sleeping. The day you left you took a big part of me with you. I feel so empty without you. I feel like my depression and anxiety have been at an all time high since you’ve been gone. I only imagine that you felt this pain 10x more. It breaks my heart knowing that you were just in the room next door to me but you were dealing with so much pain and loneliness by yourself. I know it’s selfish of me but I wish I could rewind back to that last time I saw you and just give you a big hug and tell you how much I love you, maybe that would’ve been enough for you to stay but that wouldn’t have stopped the pain you endured everyday just living in this life. This life is hard and cruel and I don’t shame you at all for doing what you did. I am proud of you for choosing eternal happiness with god. You weren’t happy on this earth and god saw that and called for you. I know you are in a better place and I cant wait till you are opening the heavenly gates for me when my time comes. Please keep visiting me in my dreams James. I love you forever. watch over me and the family. Give chulo and shorty a treat for me.

My Dearest Baby Brother, King

It’s been a month since you changed worlds. My heart is so broken and the tears haven’t stopped. I’ve read a few books on the afterlife and suicide and get comfort knowing you’re finally not in pain and being well taken care of. This will forever hurt but if i have to hurt in order for you to finally be at peace I’m okay with that. I forgive you. I miss you. I love you.

Dustyn

You left us on December 15,2018 . Two days after my 26th Birthday . You were 24 years old . You took your own life. Too loose you is the worst pain I ever felt in my life. I am confused and in pain today. I miss you so much it hurts. I’m so scared that this pain will keep me down. I love you forever . There isn’t a day I don’t think about you. I feel angry and sad. Why did you leave us? I blame myself and everyone. It’s so hard without you here . I just want to be able give you a hug as long as possible . My birthday was the last time I saw you , my last hug, my last “ I love you” . It hurts . No words can express this feeling . I love you Dustyn

Dear Aaron

Why? I struggle with this question everyday. Why did you do it? Why did you do it in my 40th birthday? I would have helped you. I’m broken man. YOU broke me. You broke my heart my spirit my mind. I really miss you man. I have so many questions with no answers. Did you know you would have this impact on me? Never been close to anybody that that until you hung yourself. I will never forget see you on the floor and at the funeral home. I don’t know what else to do. You are my little brother I’m supposed to go before you it was my job as a big sister to protect you you failed. Everybody misses you Mom Dad Shasta Darren he’s actually taking it pretty hard me the girls Dusty Dusty always a basket case we missed him up to man. We all love you. We all miss you. I wish I could follow you but I can’t. Can’t put mom and dad through that. Dad’s taking it rough mom hasn’t accepted anything yet she even had a stroke I’m so sorry I love you Aaron as long as I breathe I Will Always Love You and miss you I wish I could see you one more time even in a dream. I love you little brother!!!

Hey you

Hey you, can’t believe you actually did this. April 26th seems like it was yesterday. It’s been about 18 days, and I feel like it’s been forever now since I’ve heard your voice. I feel like you are going to call. Why’d you do it? Why didn’t you call me? I would have listened, you know I would have. I love you and I miss you. I can’t make sense of this. I’m still in shock.

Struggling and Tired

Dear CJ
Im not sure why I am having such a rough time but I am. Miss you so much. Keep thinking of you and everything. Maybe because Ive settled your estate and all that stuff is done. Changed the cemetery flowers. I made them for you. MandD havent been back since the funeral. Im guessing its too hard. My plans on a Friday night is to lock myself in my bedroom and look through pictures and cry. The hardest part is to look at the pictures of us as kids. I seriously just want to forget everything of our childhood so that way I can forget you. I dont want to hang out at M and D’s. I just dont want to remember anything and just pretend I was always an only child as if nothing ever happened. Self preservation I guess. Everything was good growing up and I just want everything to be normal again with you around like you are suppose to be. Not in a grave……
I think about how you got up, fed the cats, grabbed your gun and walked out of your house for the last time. What were you thinking when you drove to the park? Were you at peace? How long did you sit on that bench? Were you at peace? What did you think of when you put the gun to yourself?? Makes me sick to my stomach to think of what was going through your mind. I hope you were at peace. The medical examiner says most people are once they make their decision. I know you didnt want to be stopped because you told NO ONE! I try not to think of any of this but it creeps back into my head. I think about you every day. Im tired of thinking…..so tired. Im tired of my heart aching. Im tired of crying. Im tired of missing you. Im tired of hearing your nephew tell me how much he misses you. Im tired of wanting to turn back time. Im tired of wishing you would have just called me…..one phone call.