Hey Johnny, Fly High, Baby Brother

Hey Johnny, I wasn’t ready to lose you. You took your life on the 19th of last month. It’s been ridiculously hard without you. I wish I could talk to you again, I wish I could’ve given you a hug and tell you everything was going to be okay.
I got you out of our toxic families house in October, you had lived with me since then. When you left to visit them, you never said goodbye, or gave me a hug before you left, like you normally did. I wish I could’ve saved you. You kept me grounded all these years and I feel so lost without you.
You’re my baby brother, we were going to go bowling on your 21st birthday, we were five months away from celebrating your birthday before I got that phone call.
They wouldn’t even bury you. They cremated you, turned you to ashes. And guess what necklaces they chose to carry you around in? A bullet. It’s horrific that they don’t see anything wrong with memorializing you that way.
You were the purest person I knew. You were my best friend. You were the one person in the world I felt wasn’t against me. I never thought I’d outlive you. Dad has been pretty broken but he’s been emailing me, checking up on me. Dad didn’t leave your side after you passed. I wish I could’ve been there, this was the first time I truly hated living so far away from our hometown.
They took pictures after the doctors called time of death, I haven’t had the closure, until today when dad sent them to me. I wish it weren’t real. I wish you were still here. I wish you didn’t leave the world so soon. You were like a guardian angel in my life, and I wasn’t ready for you to leave. I don’t think I ever would’ve been.
My heart breaks everyday, but I’m trying. No one in life ever prepares you for the heartbreak of losing someone you love. I love you, Johnny, forever and always, you’ll always be my baby brother. My twin born four years late.
-I love you so much, Katie

Always with me

According to Mama, I fell in love with you the day you came home, even though I was only thirteen months old. We were together our entire lives; sharing a bedroom for the first eighteen years, sharing an apartment at University. You were my best friend and soul mate, my maid of honour, and my children’s favourite aunt. You know all that. This has been the worst year of my life, all 59 days of it, so far, since learning New Year’s Day that you were missing and couldn’t be found. We drove two hours thinking when we got there, we might actually have a chance of finding you. How you made it to the water is anyone’s guess. I miss you so much. How am I to go forward? I keep praying that you will come back, this has all been a terrible dream. I am told it will get easier, but I cannot believe it. I am broken. You will not be forgotten. I will create something for you, about you, that will last forever. I will love you forever. Tu hermana.

To Angela an Angel always

Dear Angela,
God it’s hard since 3 years ago you decided you no longer wanted to be here with me to speak your name without realizing “you are really gone.” I often find myself waking up in the middle of the night wanting to pick up the phone to just hear you or dads voice whether it’s laughing or you making those crazy cat noises resembling Bubbles or Binkie…I guess I will never make those long hour drives from Beaufort to Atlanta to see you and dads face light up when I am in town, we’ll maybe not dads but yours. I keep remembering the time we had lunch together after dad died at your favorite Chinese restaurant The Panda. We had so much fun because we really bonded and talked as sisters and even though I was married for that moment I pretended that I wasn’t and we were young teenagers just leaving the nail shop after getting our nails done or that we just left the kingdom hall and talked about Jehovah God all day. I loved how you use to encourage me to keep studying gods word and to work toward baptism. I was so proud when u got baptized and gave your life to Jehovah though I loved the old Anne that could dance her butt off to MC Hammer songs and always carried a beautiful note singing “Im missing You Baby” by Anita Baker. You know Trina your best friend that lived around the corner from us still have the videos I taped of you dancing and singing. You could or should have been a star because you were a triple threat in everything you did. Even though I was older than u you acted more mature than me. You always knew how to make me laugh and make me cry at the same time. The memories we had as sisters was beautiful because I watched you grow into an independent beautiful black women that along with me carried much weight of our disruptive household but we still managed to make the best of it. You was my rock and u kept me sane when I felt the pressure of no friends, a father that loved me but taunted me for my mistakes and a oldest sister I wanted to be like in every way that wanted me dead than alive. I guest I really latched o to you because no one else liked me or deemed me worthy as a human being. Being picked on a lot growing up u always had my back even though I didn’t always have yours I really tried to make up for not being there after mom died. I ran away and I know that hurt and confused you because when I came back I wasn’t your sister anymore I was someone different that been in the streets and u wanted your sister back but the damage was already done. I really miss you sis and there’s so much I wish I could have said and we could have talked about but I guess I was late and wasn’t there for you at the time you needed me the most and I’m sorry for that. I know I will see you soon and me you and the whole family will be together again this time on a paradise earth Jehovah promised those who love him where we will never die, never say “I am sick, never cry or hurt anymore or feel fear or unhappy because the former things will have been just a memory. I love you and I think about you everyday. I promise you we will be together again as a family.

Keep Coming Back

I have come to this site often over the past years.
Three days ago marked 35 years since my brother died by setting himself on fire and surviving 43 days on a burn unit.
If you are here you have probably experienced the worst thing that has ever happened to you. After 35 years that is still true for me.
I have noticed a trend toward people posting and receiving no response. Please know each of us here has experienced something similar and we do care.
I believe the wear and tear of the pandemic have left many, many people feeling like they are spread thin.
Please do not take the lack of response as a lack of caring. Take the time to read through past posts to find support and understanding.
If you are a long timer dropping back in, consider responding with a sentence or two to someone else.
Keep coming back here. It matters. We hear you. We care.

My Brother, My Soulmate

It was 9 years ago that my little brother had his life taken by unbearable depression: January 30, 2013.
We were 1.5 years apart. He had just turned 30 years old and was close to graduating with a Ph.D from Oxford University. We’re from a blue collar family on the south side of Chicago, so we were so proud of him. He could translate Ancient Greek and Latin. I used to tease him that he was going to school at Hogwarts. We were both obsessed with Harry Potter and Star Wars. We were so close that we could finish each other’s sentences and we always knew what the other was feeling, even when we were an ocean apart.
After he died, I was forever changed. I had been his big sister for 30 years. And I felt like he left me behind. I have a wonderful husband and 5 beautiful children but…there’s a huge piece of my heart that is gone, forever.
I’m not scared of death anymore. I know somewhere, my dear one is waiting for me. And his is the first face I’ll see when that day comes that I cross over the veil.
Rest In Peace my dearest Tommy until we meet again.

My Angel on Earth

Two weeks ago today my sister died by suicide. She was 16 years older than me and was often assumed to be my mother both when I was young and as I grew up. Truthfully, she did a lot to raise me. In our family, she was my person. She cared for me, protected me, supported me, encouraged me, and never let me feel alone. I have never felt more alone than I do now without her. I have a hard time imagining my life going on without her here. I am finding myself desperate to see or feel her around me and I haven’t yet. Everyone keeps saying how strong I am but I don’t want to have to be strong.. I just want my sister back with me. I feel guilty that the world is going to keep on turning without her. It doesn’t feel right.

How Do I Do This?

I’ve loved you since the day you were born. We went through so much together. Then, things began to change and you pulled away. I didn’t know or understand the impact drugs would have on your life. The cycle it creates. The self loathing and despair and loneliness. I watched you struggle for 23 years. On again, off again, and I pulled away. I never stopped loving you, and I never refused the late night phones calls. I wanted to come save you so many times, but I knew it would end in fights, pleas, and resentment. I hated that you were on your own. So, it was a blessing to watch you find sobriety and get things in your life together. For the final three years, I got to watch you grow. I got to celebrate life with you, and we became closer than we had been even in childhood. I remember always wanting the “old” you back. Then, I realized that the old you had been so traumatized and beat down that it would have to be a new you, a wiser you, a more mature you. I was just so proud to watch you become this person who persevered, despite the set backs and the hang ups. I was so disappointed for you when the court decided they would hold the charges against you, even though you passed the UAs and you worked the program so diligently. It was only 18 months, and I thought if you could do what you had been doing for 3 years, this wasn’t insurmountable. I should have taken you home with me. I can think of a million things I could have done differently that day. If there was one day in the entirety of my existence so far that I want a do-over, it’s the Friday before you over dosed. It hovers over me like this black cloud, three years later. I justified my decision that day with “if he’s going to use, he’ll find a way, whether he’s with me, his girlfriend, or all alone. He needs to do this. He CAN do this”. I didn’t answer the phone because it said “restricted” and it was 10:26 pm. But, my gut was telling me something wasn’t right. The voicemail alert went off and it was an officer. I called back and he told me you had been found. In your bed. In your clean and sober apartment. I remember thinking I would just come get you, so I jumped up, pjs and nothing else and grabbed my keys and I remember the officer telling me to please calm down. I realized I had screamed. My legs didn’t work. I remember the way Dad stumbled in the driveway when he came after I called.I had to catch him and hold him up. It took me another 10 hours to get a hold of Mom. And the sound she made when I told her it was true- you were gone. I’ll never forget the pain in her cry. I stayed up all that Saturday night, numb, heart broken, simply unable to fathom that my little brother was gone. I had to plan everything- I never got to really grieve for you. I just stuffed it all down and kept telling myself my time to grieve would come. Watching our parents grieve for you is the absolute worst. And, all the while I blame myself. There’s a fine line between protecting and enabling. I’m just so grateful that the day before I got to hug you and tell you that I love you. I still feel the scream at the base of my throat. Right there in that soft space, and I’m terrified that if I let it go, it’ll never stop. We were supposed to grow old together and sit on the front porch with our coffee and laugh about all the stupid stuff we did when we were younger. You have nieces and nephews that miss you terribly. I wish you had known the impact you had on them and how much they love you. It all feels like yesterday, like I’m moving through this slow motion goop, still in the fog of grief. There’s a massive you shaped hole inside of me and the weight of it is sometimes unbearable. You helped create the foundation of who I am. All I’ve ever wanted is one more hug. One more laugh. One more car ride with the music blasting. One would never, ever be enough, of course. I know you’re at peace, you’re whole again, but I miss you, Bro.

I miss my morning phone calls

2/15/2021… I hate that day… the day you took your life!!!!! Our family will never be the same.. our circle is broken!!!
These 11 months have been so hard without seeing you, hearing your voice, laughing with you and I miss your morning phone calls sooo much! Nothing will ever be the same. I’m sorry you were suffering and I’m glad you are at peace. Please watch over your wife, your children and our family. Love you forever, bro…see ya on the other side.

My brother is gone

I lost my brother to suicide November 17, 2021. I hate that day, I was on my way to work, I had just dropped my 7 year-old son at school, and it’s less than 5 minutes to my work from his school. I am thankful he wasn’t in the car when I got the call. I still don’t want to believe he is gone, it kills me. He was 2 years older than me, how do you get through losing your only sibling??
We had a hard childhood and he had a lot of anger and I’m sure, sadness in him. He has a history of drug use and was a drinker. He’s married and has 14 and 16 year-old kids. The isolation of Covid had a play in this I’m sure, and many other things as well. I talked to him 3-4 times per week, he was my person I would call whenever I was alone in the car. We would call each other just to say hi. I talked to him the night he did this. Every day that passes takes me further away from that last conversation and the last time I saw him.
I have a hard time finding time to grieve, I have 3 and 7 year old boys, a husband and a mother-in-law who lives with us. No one seems to want me to cry. I find some solace when I go hiking and can cry in the mountains. I have reached out to hospice but can’t find any suicide survivor groups to go to, which is what I feel I need.
Everything took a while for his body to go from the coroner to the funeral home. I went and visited him there, it had been 2 weeks already since he had hung himself. I keep picturing the moments that led him up to his decision and it kills me. I just want him back so badly. And it makes me hate this cruel world, how can someone suffer so much that they do this??? When I was in the room with him, he just looked like he was sleeping and any minute would say “boo” and scare me, he didn’t look like he had died. I keep going back to that too, and it gives me relief that I was able to see him, but I still somehow can’t accept that this has happened.
I’m a nurse and I took a leave of absence, I’m supposed to return to work next week. I don’t have anything in me to care for my patients, anything I have is spent on myself and my family. I am trying desperately to find a different job that isn’t direct patient-care, but haven’t found anything yet.
I miss my brother so much. I’m not angry at him for doing this, I just wish I could have supported him more or taken his hurt away from him so that he could have grown old with me. I’m so broken

Good Book

I lost my big brother, Mark to suicide in May 2008. Then I lost my big sister, Reba to suicide in Aug 2015.
My grief gets too heavy sometimes, and is usually worse in the winter.
I miss them so much. We were close, especially me and my sister. We were even born on the same day, 6 years apart. My birthday is tough because we always celebrated together.
Thank you for the book and this website. It’s always good to share with others who get it!