My brilliant older brother

My brother was a very humble person, with brilliance that far surpassed (and came before) David Letterman, Conan, or Bill Gates. He actually developed the letters v v w v v for the internet BEFORE there was www. for websites. He was there at the beginning of the world wide web. When he was TWO years old, he wrote ” I drank the orange juiice” on a note, and all the words were spelled correctly.
It is an indescribable feeling to explain how my entire experience of life on planet Earth has been altered forever by the loss of him and my mother ON THE SAME DAY nearly three weeks ago . It is like the greatness and memories have been darkened by the way it allegedly ended. If you put yourself through the further torture of going to the cemetery after funeral, I thought ” I am not leaving you here” about my family.

Intellectual and emotional contradictions

Last week my sister called to tell me that my brother was missing and invited me to help in the search. When she had called, I was in my car on my way home from work and I was minutes away from the parking lot to a hiking trail head where my brother was suspected of being.
I arrived to the location minutes before my sister, and we met up with my missing brother’s neighbor who had found his car. A few minutes later, the police arrived on the scene and told us that my brother’s wife discovered that there was a pistol missing from their gun safe.
I quickly searched my brother’s car hoping to find his pistol. My brother had placed the car registration on the dash, which I found odd. After a quick search, I could not find his gun.
My sister and I quickly went up the trail to begin our search. My brother commonly went hiking alone, and my sister and I knew the type of terrain he preferred. Immediately, we noticed a large patch of trees, and we strongly suspected that if my brother was in fact there, the patch of trees is where he would be.
We began pushing our way into the trees; I went high, and my sister went low. Within minutes of us starting, I saw a hammock in the trees, and instinctively, I knew that was my brother.
I cautiously approached the hammock noticing piles of garbage from people experiencing homelessness. I hoped the hammock belonged to the same people who left the garbage.
There was a man in the hammock. They were barefoot and they were listening to music. They had a hoodie covering their upper body. While deep down I knew the person in the hammock was my brother, I still hoped it wasn’t. I spoke to the person in the hammock telling them I needed to make sure they were not my brother and that I would leave them alone after I checked.
I lifted the hoodie to find my brother holding his pistol in both of his hands. He had shot himself in the mouth.
At the moment, I was extremely calm. I checked for a pulse and closely monitored his stomach for any signs of life. While he was still warm and had color, he was obviously dead.
I called my sister on her cell phone to tell her to not come any closer and that I had found our brother.
I waited with the body until the police arrived on the scene, and I quickly pushed my way back to the parking lot. Along the way, I finally broke down with such a flow of raw emotions that I had never felt before. I started to hyperventilate and I needed to stop a few times to get enough control to continue down the hill.
While I was returning to the parking lot, I met another one of my brothers and fell into his arms and continued to cry. I stayed there for a few minutes, and noticed that my sister in law… my dead brothers wife… had arrived. She saw me crying on the hill and simply sat down in the parking lot. I ran to her, sat next to her, and told her I had found her husband.
It has now been a few days. The pain is still raw and as I write this, I am crying and shaking.
I am trying to think back and figure out if there is anything I could have done to help my brother. He and I had shared a very traumatic moment earlier this year, and he had taken undue responsibility on how it affected me. He regularly called me and dropped into my house to see how I was doing. I don’t think I once asked him in return how he was doing… not once.
Intellectually, I know that there is nothing I could have done to save my brother. His mind was made up well before he had taken his life. Over the last few days, information has come out about the failure of his business and the loss of money some of my other siblings had invested in his company. It wasn’t just one thing which led to his decision, but rather a series of events.
Emotionally, I am finding ways to blame myself for not doing enough to be a brother.
It is hard.
I have a fantastic and supportive wife and I have 7 other living siblings and we are close. I have a supportive base.
I have therapist whom I trust, and I am continuing to work with her.
It’s hard to imagine a time where I will not be sad anymore, but I hope it will come.


Dear Josh,
I sincerely don’t know where to start this….. I guess I have questions… Why did you have to go? Why did you have to leave all of us?
I feel like I failed you, Josh. I was your big sister. It was my job to protect you and for whatever reason, I couldn’t protect you from your demons. For that, I feel guilty. I wish I had told you more that I am just a phone call away. I wish I had told you I love you more. Thank you for teaching me that I need to make sure that our brothers and sister know this ALL THE TIME!
Before you got really lost you were the most vibrant person I knew. You never cared what other people thought. Ever. You marched to the beat of your own drum always.
You were BRILLIANT, little brother! You could fix literally anything…. and while I didn’t always listen to you about cars and stuff, I knew you knew better than me. I’ll remember to change my oil filter on my car now…
You loved with your whole heart and I know that loving that way is part of what opened you up to the pain that took you from us.
We didn’t always see eye to eye, in fact, when we were kids we were often trying to take an eye out from each other. But the night I came home from a work party and had had too much to drink, you were the one who volunteered to help me up to my room…. Even though I didn’t deserve anyone’s help. That was our relationship until the darkness came. It didn’t matter if we were fighting, we were always there for one another….. Until the darkness came.
I know that you have no more pain. I know you aren’t angry anymore. I know with everything that I am that you are up in heaven with all of our loved ones who went before you. I’m sure some of them had a few choice words for you, but you are free. The world was just too heavy and painful to bear. Fly high with the angels baby brother. Bowl with the angels during the storms so your kiddos, niece and nephews know you’re with us, dance! Sing! There is no more judgement, no more hostility. No more anger. No more resentment.
Give our grandparents love from those of us who are still earthside. Hug Aunt E and Uncle D and tell them everything is ok down here. Wait for me, ok? I’ll see you on the other side.
Your Big Sister

My Brother

Dear Brother, 7 weeks ago today you finally succeeded in doing what you have been trying to do since March. I can’t bear that, that was the only option left open to you. I saw you fight your battle for years. You were a warrior of the greatest kind. I hate that that horrible illness robbed you of so much. I tried so hard to tell you things will get better, that you had so much to live for but I didn’t know if that was true. Perhaps you pick up on that. I was willing you to hang on til we had a chance to see if the new drug would work but it was too little, too late. You were so tired of battling your mind day in day out. I could see the strain in your face. I told you I loved you. I told you I was sorry if I was ever cranky with you. Through all this pleading with you to open up, to hang in there I knew in my heart this day would come. The trail of heartache you have left behind is devastating. I know you would never want any of us suffering like this. I am so angry at the lack of care you got. The fact that you are just another name crossed off a list by an incompetent psychiatrist. The fact that our health care is so substandard and mental health is at the bottom of the list in priorities. Your life mattered. Your life was so very precious. I will have the last image of you etched in my mind forever waving to me as the door opened for you to enter the unit. Why didn’t I get out of the car when I dropped you back? Why didn’t I hold your hand until the door opened? Did I hug you before you exited the car? I can’t remember. Your voice comes to me during the day “Hellooooo, any news”. I will never get to hear that again. I so badly want to hear that again. You asked me to take care of your family but I don’t know how. I have no words of great wisdom that will take away their pain. I promise to keep trying. I promise to never forget you. I will treasure your memory deep in my heart for as long as it keeps beating. RIP dear brother. I will love you forever and always.

I miss you every day

My little sis not a day goes by when I don’t miss you. That day when my hubby told me you had gone was the worst in my life. We’d lost dad but nothing could prepare me for that day. On the weeks before you went I thought I’d got you, we talked and talked and I thought I could save you. You told me you were going to die of this illness, I said are you going to take you’re life. You told me NO! Your were in so much pain and I knew I was losing you like we did with dad and I couldn’t stop it. These last 9 months have been the hardest, longest times in my life . I wanted to join you and dad and felt jealous you had peace. I couldn’t leave mum, my hubby (my rock) and my precious son an daughter and my future. I couldn’t leave your husband and my niece . I wish you had left a note to them so they knew why but I understand your decision to do what you did there was no reason or rhyme. Those left behind your family, friends and those who know you are living with that and I wished you knew how much you were loved and respected. All I know is I will never know the answers, never have our future together and will never be the same person again. But I know that you are with us, I talk to you every day and find comfort you are at peace. I cannot plan for the future, but I don’t look into the past. I live for now. Love you always and forever.

To my little brother

It was just another Tuesday evening during Covid isolation when my mother called me. I was by the kitchen table, eating with my youngest. She asked me if I was sitting down, and I knew – this is the call I had feared receiving for years. I pulled myself away to our bedroom to face the devastating news that you had finally done it. Alone, in your apartment, in your bedroom, where my mother had found you and made the emergency call just few minutes earlier. She was now waiting for the police. It was too late to help you anymore, you had left this world almost 15 hours ago, soon after you had written the final note by hand, in despair at 4.20. a.m.
After brief discussion with my wife, we decided to be truthful to our children and told them that you, their sole uncle, had taken your own life. I remember thinking, what if there has been a misunderstanding , what if the paramedics have arrived and they have been able to resuscitate you. Then I did not remember you had a living will to deny that. It was hard to think straight, it felt like a nightmare. Half an hour later I found myself driving through the darkness to my mother’s. Not crying, but in shock. Time for tears wouldn’t come until a couple of weeks later and then they wouldn’t stop.
You were my best friend, my little brother,
my only sibling. I remember your birth, and now, after 40 years it is again time to learn to live without you – and that is incredibly saddening. I have been preparing myself for this for the past years, while you struggled with your health and talked openly about your will to end your life. I kind of let myself to accept the fact that you are no longer living while you were still alive. I should have faught harder for you! Yet I know I tried my best. During past years we opened up to each other about our deepest fears and anxieties, but yet I wasn’t able to heal you – nobody was. I question myself whether I should have gotten you admitted to mental hospital against your will. I used to think that our mother shall do that if things come to that point, but neither of us had the guts try that. It is easy to regret that now, but I was afraid how you would have reacted.
We were similar in so many ways. We enjoyed the same kind of music, followed same sports, struggled with same kind of insecurities, and enjoyed staying up late to discuss philosophically about life. God I miss those conversations. Yet you were always the more artistics fellow, the one who wrote poems and dreamt of being a rock star. The one who felt more deeply, even too deeply, so it seemed. Living so much in your head, especially after you gave up working out, since you felt it was bad for you.
You used to be the lead man of your band, but you had given up that hobby a couple of years ago – like you had given up your job already earlier. An important job where you helped people to cope with their mental problems. Seemed to me that you were working yourself to give up everything and it scared me. You were no doubt good in your work helping others, like you were in everything that you chose to pursue. Just that you had no energy left to pursue much, not since your relationships had fallen apart, one after another. You once compared yourself to a bad battery, which just wouldn’t charge properly, no matter how much you rested.
I can’t say that I didn’t know the amount and depth of your suffering. I did. I had witnessed it my own eyes and it was a constant dark shadow in the back of my mind. I had seen you at your weakest. I had once convinced you that life is still worth living. You thanked me for that later when you felt better, but the problems didn’t go away.
You were reluctant to take anymore meds, saying your body can’t tolerate them any longer. After decades of medication, your brain had ”rebooted”. You were offered to start new form of electrical brain therapy by your doctor, but that scared you too much. Probably you feared it would drain you even more. You had asked our mother’s blessing on your decision to end your own life, which she of course denied. You wouldn’t accept any intervention either: “no intervention, unless I would be in psychosis one day”. Now I wonder that you might have been in psychosis – why else would anyone choose the darkness over life. But then again, your belief was that this is not everything. That soul will move on. I think that was a comforting thought for you, designed to keep your fear of death at bay, but which ironically made the death by suicide more appealing. You neither had will to live nor fear of death – and that was a fatal combination.
We were supposed to grow old together, you and me. Supporting one another. Now it is just me left and our elderly mother and father. Nobody to share the same childhood experiences anymore, and that makes me feel so alone. I feel guilt letting you down and at the same time anger for you leaving me. You once said it is not selfish to take one’s own life, but it is selfish to ask someone to live when the person has lost will to live. I wish I had challenged you on that, but maybe it wouldn’t have changed your decision.
I found poems you had written. Poems of a romantic man, longing for love and acceptance. Might it be that you suffered from a broken heart more than anything else? Your own view was that problems with lack of energy were primarily due to a physical illness. I had no option but support you on that fight, but now I think the origin of your tiredness might have been more of a spiritual nature. Your mind was not getting nurture and love it so badly needed. We are not built to live alone, without a partner.
I am still today dealing with guilt. I feel I should have done more. The guilt almost crushed me in the first weeks. The feeling is still there, but I now understand that it was your own choice(s) that took you from us and it was not my fault what you did. Your death was the end result of a process that took years.
I am grateful of having you as my little brother and you are always with me. So you were right – your soul lives on in all of us who loved you. Thank you also for leaving such kind suicide note, giving absolution to us who were left behind. But if you’d only been able to see how sorely you are missed, I wonder would you still have done it?

I Promise

Zachary R. B. September 4, 2017. My big brother. My best friend. The one person who understood me. I wrote a post a few years ago on this site titled ‘I Wish it Was Me’. I don’t think about him as much as I used to. The pain has subsided and introduces itself in small increments every once and a while. Not the same pain. Different than before. I was 18. We shared everything together…… and by everything I’m referring to all of our sadness. The depression. What we really felt and how we viewed the world. How we felt shackled to the earth, destined to live out our days in misery. One night he had called me crying at 4 am. I didn’t care if I would have gotten in trouble by my parents at the time for leaving at such an ungodly hour. I went. No questions asked. I sat on his back porch smoking cigarettes with him that night while he told me everything.  How he sat with his knees to his chest and his back against his bedside table every night in tears. Contemplating. Fighting himself. He expressed to me how badly he wanted to do it. I cried. I told him I knew exactly how he felt. And in tears with my heart clenched, I asked him to promise me. Promise he would never pull the trigger. He promised. After fighting the promise and shaking his head and telling me he couldn’t. He finally promised. And in tears I promised him as well. It hurt me at the time to promise such a thing. The shackles grew heavier. But I did. About a month after this discussion he pulled the trigger. It’s hard to remember all of the feelings I felt. I think the mind has a way of masking and burying those emotions deep down inside of your brain. You may have glimpses of the memory if you really think hard enough but you can never feel the exact pain again. I used to sit in bed in the fetal position and cry. The pain was so bad that it felt like I was paralyzed. Like somebody had shot me with a double barreled gun and I couldn’t get up. It’s all a fog now. My life has gone on. I dropped out of college after failing out. I used to skip class to go sit in my car and smoke weed and look at nothing. It was a miserable time. My entire dream of what I wanted to do with my life seemed so obsolete at the time. I regret that now. I’ve worked multiple jobs. I’ve continued battling depression. I’ve been kicked out of my parents home to try and motivate me to do more with my life. I went through not one but two evictions. I’ve lived in a car. I’ve slept outside. I’ve used my last 5 dollars on a pack of cigarettes. Out of all the chaos I became who I am today. I met someone. We shared our souls with one another. Professed our love for one another after three days time. Gone through one of those evictions together. Smoked that pack of cigarettes together. I got pregnant. I found out I was pregnant while I was couch hopping with my partner. My entire world was thrown out of order once again. We both knew what we had to do. We loved each other too much to let go of our creation. But we couldn’t raise our child the way we were living. A life of depression and squalor was no place for a child. No matter how much the parents love each other. We both worked two jobs. He found a nice high paying job. I found a job that I didn’t have to stand too long on my swollen pregnant feet. We worked as hard as we could and saved as much as we could. We bought cars. We started renting a home. We bought furniture. We gathered all of the necessary things we needed to start this baby’s life off the way we wanted and the way it deserved. I took my prenatal everyday. I went on walks. I ate how I was supposed to. I drank water how I was supposed to. We gave it our all. I delivered our beautiful baby girl via c section as my partner held my hand. The first thing I thought of: I will protect this child with all of my being. The second thing I thought of: she’s perfect. The third thing I thought of: I wish my brother were here to be her uncle. I wish he could see how I’m doing. He would be so proud of me. She’s 7 months old now and absolutely thriving. She is the smartest, silliest, and most importantly; the happiest little girl I’ve ever seen. Every day is more perfect than the last. She gave me purpose. I think of him from time to time. How I wish he could have been a part of her life. How he would have made the most amazing uncle. How he always wanted to be a father and for our children to grow up together and be best friends. Would my life be the same if he hadn’t have pulled the trigger that night? Would I still have met my soul mate. Would we have learned how to thrive by each other’s sides. Would we have been given this beautiful miracle. I’m not sure. I am thankful for all of the things he taught me while living. I’m thankful I had him by my side when he was. I’m thankful for all of the things he taught me after he did what he did. And I’m thankful for his impact on my life. The good and the bad. His life meant something.

Farewell to my little brother….

I am so deeply saddened by your sudden death on June 28th, 2021. I keep wishing I had come by to see you in the months prior. I got jammed up in my own life. I thought you were seeing you psychiatrist and taking your prescribed medications along with your heart medication.
Just know you were on my mind. And I knew mom and you had dinner together every night and played cards. She didn’t tell me how much despair you were in.

You were a good soul who just wanted your wife and sons to love you and get back together as a family.
I’m so happy we spent time together the last two years. It was such a blessing to have you back in my life. We had such long talks over a cup of tea in your kitchen. Our talks about life and nature and law were so intelligent and interesting.
I wanted more time with you but you couldn’t let go of them. They were toxic
people and no good for you. But I understand how you still loved them. She was your wife and they were your two sons. I get it.
I will miss you dearly… I will look for you in every sunset, in every ripple in the water at your favorite beach and in every breeze that brushes against my face as I shed my tears.
I will feel you around me, free at last and at peace. You had to end it your way and I will never judge you for that. I will always miss you and hold onto all my memories.
I loved you little brother and you will always stay apart of me, tucked in my heart. Until we meet again.
Your Big Sister, Lori xoxoxo


I lost you today. I had to tell our parents. It doesn’t feel real yet, and maybe it never will. I don’t know how to exist in a world without my only sibling. My baby brother. Your nephew has been kicking up a storm in my belly today. I wish you could be here to hold him when he is born. I’ll tell him everything about you. I love you.