My best friend died. We weren’t friends at the time. We lived different lives and socialized with different people. I remember the day you were brought home. So small and pink in our mother’s arms. You gave me a purpose. I needed to protect you. We grew up side by side. We were both rejected by our father as the “less important” children. We lived with Lola for most of our lives. Walking with you in the park down the street from Lola’s house is still one of my fondest memories. You were my shadow. We were together for so long. Trauma hit us both and our parents did damage. I thought we both recovered, but I didn’t see the signs you still suffered. You pushed away and I was so angry, I let it happen. I gave you so many doors, so many ways out, I fought for your happiness and I felt your pain. I helped raise you. I saw a future in you that I wanted for you. So desperate to see what I had planned, I tried to push you in certain directions. I want to see you smile, your crooked smug face. I want to hear you laugh with my wife on Thanksgiving again. I want you to bring a box of chocolates and always eat most of it. I miss you. I didn’t get a note when you took your life. I am both thankful and sad. I wonder what you would have said to me? Would it be nice? Or would it be unfair? I can’t ask you. You won’t be here to see my wedding. You won’t be here to see our brother graduate high school. You aren’t here because of one final decision. All the things I should have said and didn’t just feel like sand drying out my lips. I see the box that our mother has you in and I feel the painful reminder of how I will never see you again. I will never hear you mix the Majong tiles at our mother’s table. I will never hear you laugh at a story. These are things I will forever miss. Someday, when I am given the privilege to raise children of my own they will see pictures of you, but never get to meet you. Never know how wonderful you are and how much joy you could bring. You were such a better person than me, little brother. I looked at you and say hope, love, and joy. I want to be so mad and can’t be. Now my shadow is gone and I have to continue to live in the bright sun. I have to smile and do my job. It all seems mundane and pointless. My other brothers decided to live. I have a beautiful fiance that I marry in 240 days. I teach children. I’m the hope they will bring goodness and justice to our country. I remind myself of these things when sadness wraps me in it’s arms like a blanket. Our father suddenly accepts me because he lost you. I would rather have a shit father than a dead brother. I miss you so much. I wasn’t always a great sister, but I wish with every fiber of my being that I could have saved you somehow. I wish there had been some way. I miss you, my little shadow. My best friend. My brother. Every breath I take is for you. I just wish you could have stayed. There was another way.

2 thoughts on “J.J.

  1. My younger brother died 6 years ago on Feb 4th. He shot himself. Only 25 years old and so sad. I feel you. It doesn’t get better, but the stretches of life become longer. You might not cry everyday. It took me forever to open up. I used to black out in the beginning, I would cry so hard and hold my breath at the same time. I understand. All these stories, I understand and I feel them.

  2. I understand your pain. I lost my only sibling, she was younger than me and shot herself at my home while I was out of town. I haven’t taken her contact information out of my phone and I find myself tempted to call her every other day. In July it will be the 2nd year without her and I still feel empty. I still want to hear her voice and laugh. I thought she was getting better when I asked her to take her meds. I sometimes self loathe thinking of what I could’ve done or what I wish I could’ve thought to say back then. I feel empty and lonely. I’ve pushed people away and now I’m currently lost and feel needy enough to remain in relationships that are no longer good for me because I feel like I have no one else. My mom has created distance from me, I think she blames me subconsciously and herself. Our family is off balance. The empty feeling doesn’t seem to go away but you start to get used to it, not comfortable with it but used to it. I wish you a healthy healing journey.

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