Joe, my brother, you have taken my heart with you.

Hey guys – my name is Anna, I’m 21 years old. My younger brother Joe and I were very close in age at almost exactly a year and a half apart. Pretty much my mom was still nursing me when she became pregnant with him and I still remember him coming home from the hospital the day he was born. His birthday was June 12, 1999. He was a newly turned 20 year old when he killed himself on July 6th, 2019. My heart is finally letting some tears out while writing this after a recent numbing period I’ve been dealing with. He had a beautiful girlfriend of three years he was planning on marrying in the future and had recently bought her a very sweet and beautiful promise ring and his promise to her was to never leave. He was a virgin and wanted to wait until they were married because she did. In this way, he died a virgin and part of me is sad he didn’t get to experience this life pleasure but the other part of me is happy because that’s who Joe was, pure. Joe was to so many people a quiet steady kind strong light they depended on in their lives without even realizing how much and to what extent until his light suddenly went out. He listened fully, offered his honest advice, graciously told you the truth you needed to hear, went out of his way to make you laugh within your unique humor style which he could individually pick up on with each person in his life, picked up on moods and feelings of the people he cared about and immediately adapted to what they needed in his most honest, caring, empathetic, Joe way. And he did this not because he wanted to be walked on and was insecure or was trying to people please but because he genuinely wanted to, that was his nature at heart. Empathy, kindness, compassion, comedy relief in the most connective way are all just some of the words that describe my handsome baby brother. Not to mention how smart, ingenious, and creative his mind was. Joe killed himself on July 6th Saturday night, around 10 pm, by hanging. He did it under our boathouse which has an upstairs and downstairs and a staircase connecting the two. He obviously was very smart and researched and knew very well how to execute his plan. The coroner said the knot Joe tied was the most professional knot he’d seen. A petty fight with my boyfriend had me up at 7:30am on Sunday morn (which never happens) and had him driving me back to my home at my request around 8:30am. Not kidding you, the second I rolled up onto the driveway of my house, I see my mom walk to back of house area towards boathouse casually looking for Joe. (I guess they hadn’t seen him this morning and also wondered where he’d been last night bc he left his door open – he never does that. This was the first I even knew of him being gone in any sense of the word since I was at bfs house) my dad and little sister were also outside but out front and doing stuff with/around a vehicle, I think they were planning to leave for some appointment. Anyways back to mom walking to the back of the house riight after I pull up in car. Me and my boyfriend then hear my mom do a screaming wailing I’ve never heard in my life before from her and then we visually see her run up from the back continuing to wail and yell for my dad. Skip forward like a scene of my parents going together first to see their son and lil sis staying in car w me and bf updating me on joe being gone night before. Parents come back up front. Mom says “we have to tell them” to my dad and I get out of car w lil sis who had been on my lap and mom says to us “he’s gone” “joe’s gone” My mom told me not to look but I said I had to. My little sister stayed w my boyfriend and I went w my dad and my mom to see my baby brother. And what he had done. Oh my brother, that scene is etched in my mind. The bottom half of your face was contorted. But your eyes and your nose and your beautiful hair looked exactly the same. Your brown dead eyes so beautiful but so vacant. I touched your skin and you were still and cold. There was no life. For brother that was not you, but simply your vessel. It did not have to be like this. Never was I supposed to find you like that, my Joe, my blood brother. The pain is so unbearable and the images and the reality of it that as of late I’ve just been completely numb. Which I hate even more. Because all I want is to feel the pain of him gone. We had such a bond, such a love. He was my buddy. I would always ask his opinion on whether he thought my outfit was too slutty or if he thought it was cute, or his advice on literally anything, or vent about a bf, or we’d talk smack about all the family drama together, just so so much. we developed a weed scale together just us two to measure how high we were and how to communicate what level we were stoned wise.. but that was before he withdrew and stopped smoking w me as much. we shared so many fun memories together on/in that boathouse growing up but especially when we smoked together and his guard was down and he let me in more to his mind and thoughts. Which were so beautiful. And so unigue. Not your average Joe. it’s true. Joe was exceptional. Never was there a Joe like you. And never will there be again. And I miss you so much my brother, my twin, my heart, my Joe. Half of me is gone. I am so glad you are no longer in pain but in finding your comfort and peace you have destroyed any and all I ever had. I love you, Joseph. And I cannot wait until I see your beautiful brown eyes again, but this time full of life and love. Thank you all for reading.

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3 Responses to Joe, my brother, you have taken my heart with you.

  1. Dara says:

    Dear Anna,
    My dad found my brother but in such a similar way. He was my only little brother and he died by suicide in October of 2018. I came back here after posting just a few months ago. Life goes on but there are acute moments when I’m drawn to remember him in writing, through actions or just by crying my eyes out. All that to say, you’re not alone and my deepest love to you and your family. It’s hard but remember all the good times when you come to those places of grief. 💙

    • Anna Russell says:

      Thank you so much! It really is comfort like no other when someone has gone through the exact same thing. Could I ask your name? Or a way to contact you?

  2. Bridgettegrant says:

    I lost my brother too. My twin. We were the same age for a month and half that year. I am so sorry and understand your pain. 😞😓🦉 it’s a long hard story but this Nov 1st will be 3 years and still pain. Sorry for your loss. ❤❤ tomorrow is National Suicide Prevention Day! 💛

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