I really don’t know how to write this to you. I know that mom and dad have written you letters so why not give this a try. My counselor said one time that writing is good for grieving people but I don’t really believe that. I have mixed feelings about you leaving us. I too was depressed and wondered about ending my own life. I tried to be the voice of reason for why you did this. Even today I still am trying to reason it over and over in my head. I don’t think you understood what you were leaving behind. Mom… Dad… and what about me Garrett? Do you realize that you forgot about me in your letter to Mom? Do you realize that not only trying to grieve over you, that James hurt me? Cause if losing you wasn’t enough, I had to be toyed around by the boyfriend (at the time). Garrett, did you know you wouldn’t see me graduate? Did you know you wouldn’t see me get married? Did you know that you would never be an uncle to my kids? Did you know I would never be able to be an aunt to yours? You know, I do understand the dark place you were in, and how you thought Sara was your whole life. But Garrett, if Sara was your whole life and helped you make the decision to take your life, how could you expect us to not hate her? I have been torn between understand why and explaining why. Did you know that I kept mom and dad going? Do you know I went to college to prove you wrong? To show you I could do it! Sometimes I go back to that day and wish I came upstairs and talked to you when you dropped off my car. Why did I need to go through so much pain when I was only 17, Garrett??? Why do I find myself listening to songs about you in the car and cry? Do you know I wear your wrist band every time I show to see if you are there with me? I hope you saw me show in Oklahoma. You are my big brother and I needed you here.
I will see you again Garrett Norman,
I’ll never forget the last time I saw you. It was July 5th, 2010– you brought me back to the airport after my visit home for Mom’s birthday. The entire ride was so heartbreaking; I could feel it– your profound sadness. I tried to get you to talk about it but you kept changing the subject… so I let it be. I just wanted to spend time with you. I didn’t want the ride to end; the closer we got to the airport the more anxious I grew. I didn’t want to say goodbye to you– something was happening that made my heart ache for you but I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly. You got out to help me with my bags, I gave you a hug and said, “Come visit me soon, OK?? See ya later, dude.” Once inside the airport doors I allowed myself to turn around in time to see you driving away; I started sobbing because in my heart I knew I’d never see you again… and I didn’t.
That part still haunts me– that I was so connected with you that I could sense that but yet I didn’t feel it the moment you died. It will take me a lifetime to get past the fact that an entire week had passed before you were found. I felt like I let you down– that not only did you die alone but you continued to lie there alone for a week while I went about my life. “He’s gone, honey.” Those are the first words I heard from Mom confirming that what we had hoped hadn’t happened really had… and the nightmare began. For weeks I would call your cell phone several times a day just to hear your voicemail message; I worry that I’ll forget the sound of your voice. I was a mess the first time I called your number after it was finally disconnected– it was like you had died all over again and the last remaining connection I had to hearing your voice again was gone.
I keep running through our life together over and over in my head. We were so close in age that we shared everything together– we experienced all stages of life at the same time: childhood… high school… college… jobs… everything. And we even liked each other enough to choose to be roommates as adults! I loved that we were not just brother and sister, but we were friends. We both included each other in our circles of friends and activities. I keep trying to remember those things; our Sundays watching the Simpsons, you “singing” me the X-Files theme song, pizza and football games, and even you trying, very patiently, to teach me how to drive a manual transmission! You had the most amazing, contagious laugh and a very gentle spirit and are going to be missed by so many people– more than you could have ever imagined. It may not make sense but it feels like you have taken that past with you… and it also feels as though you have also taken my future as I never imagined it without you.
I often wonder how long it’ll be before those memories bring me more joy than pain– because right now it hurts to think of them. My heart is broken! I find myself detaching from the world, I’m suffering from frequent panic attacks when the pain is just so strong it takes my breath away. I have become jealous of others who have siblings who are still here– and am hurt when I see them angry with each other. I am not the same person anymore; I feel so isolated, so different from everyone else. I can laugh… but have no true joy right now. I suppose some happiness will come back someday… but for now there’s only a hole in my heart where you used to be.
Please know that I am not angry at you now… nor do I think I ever will be. I have been to that place myself before and fought my way back out. I know it wasn’t a compulsive choice you made but rather the culmination of years and years of battling a crippling depression and you held on as long as you could– for us.
I miss you and think of you every waking moment. Instead of saying goodbye to you, since I know I’ll see you again, I’ll just say what we always said to each other– “See ya later, dude.”
Your loving sister,
I dont even know where to begin…its been 4 weeks to the day since i got that call. Thats not you….i dont understand…u were the smart responsible one of the 3 of us…this was not you…but again i was so focused on keeping my family afloat i had not been in contact w u enough…for that im so sorry…if i could have prevented it im sorry…if i missed something im sorry…for assuming u were so strong im so sorry….i dont know how to deal w this…i dont believe u are gone…i look for u on my way to work…i think its a dream i just some how managed to believe….but i dont know….im so angry..at who i dont know…..i snap at work all day long….that is not me….how do i cope? How do we survive without u….please give me a sign u are really gone and i didnt imagine that terrrible news and the funeral…and that u r ok…i really need peace….
Or should I say “Hey Dude…wuzzz up???” Hard to believe it has been almost 14 years since you left us. While the pain isn’t as heavy and the grief isn’t as constant, we still miss you. We miss everything that you could have been a part of and haven’t been able to be. For example, my graduations – yes, both of them! Buying my first (and second and third) homes. Remember when we never thought we would have a home of our own? My wedding – it wasn’t quite the same without you there physically. Did you know that there was a point I had thought about asking you to walk me down the aisle? I don’t know if I ever told you that…
You know, I think you and Marco would get along – lots of things in common. I wish I knew what you thought of him. I wish you two could spend time together. I wish you could be here for the other life events that you should be a part of – the birth of your niece or nephew (God-willing), our parents moving into their golden years, their passing (although I guess technically you will be there to meet them). I know you watch over all of us, especially mom and dad. I have received your messages from various places. But it’s still not the same as talking to you. Seeing you – hugging you. Those are the things that I will always miss and will never go away.
Wherever you are, I hope that you have found peace. I hope that you are able to witness all the wonderful things that we are going through and share in them in some way. I hope that you are happy. And one day, I hope you can tell me all about it… “Till we meet again in heaven”.