Sibling-less-ness. This word I use to describe my feelings of loneliness, my missing my siblings, my alone-ness. It’s the feeling which causes me to cry or being jealous of my friends and co-workers who have their siblings to see and talk to. My feelings that my siblings-in-law are poor replacements for my brothers.

I lost my older brother Jimmy on Feb 25, 1999 age 18 when I was only 11 years old. This was a shock and something that effected my life for years. While his death helped to shape me into who I am, it no effects me in my life on a regular basis. Even when he was alive we had a rocky relationship.

I lost my younger brother John on Jan 27, 2013. He was 20 and I was 25. He was a post-deployment suicide. That military knock on the door at 6 am was one of the hardest things I will probably ever experience. I feel part of the worst of it was standing with my mom and asking what happened hearing that he had been found hanging in his room by his roommate and mom’s response “NO THAT’S NOT POSSIBLE BECAUSE I FOUND HIS BROTHER HANGING DOWN THERE” as she pointed down the stairs.

This started my alone-ness, my sibling-less-ness. I had already dreaded the question “How many siblings do you have?” sometimes it was 2 sometimes just 1 brother. A couple of weeks ago it was “I have 2 brothers in heaven” Today with my school-age day care class (25 kids ages 5-12), I told them “I have 2 brothers but am an only child”


“I move the stars for no one…”

You left approximately May 25-26th 2015…After the worst fight we have ever had. Going a few days with out speaking with you wasn’t anything new after a fight, but this time it was physical, you said “say one more thing” and I did because I was so tired of you not living life, not being who you should be. You stormed and the rest is history. I know you missed mom, but 7 months isn’t long enough to get through things. 2 weeks isn’t enough to get through anything. My heart is so empty, a great big empty. Yes, your squishy is doing her thing, but she has terrible night terrors and I am not sure if it’s because you were so angry and methodical when you decided to exit or because she genuinely knows that you aren’t alive. Babies do have that uncanny knack for seeing things…You could have just given things more time, moved, changed zipcodes…You were NEVER alone!!! The pit in my stomach feels like it will forever be on a spinning ride and there is only momentary relief. 7 months since mommy died and now you are gone…Damn all the Drs that perpetually kept you in the system, damn me for fighting with you, but damn you for thinking this was the end. Maybe for you, but for us- its only the dreadful beginning…Day by day, minute by minute, I am having a thousand emotions. I will never leave because I do love my life. I just wish/ed that you found that same love. Whatever it was. Maybe I am to blame, maybe you are. I am not sure and does it matter now? You are gone, girl. And your niece doesn’t have you, your family, friends and Daddy don’t have you and I certainly don’t, either. But I miss you like crazy, you stupid girl. Maybe in time I can forgive you for dipping out this way, but for right now…I am so miserable that I just can’t find solace. Even in my own child.



I miss you, Steve

It has been a little over 2 weeks since you left the ranch. God, if I had ever known it was this bad I would have been there for you. I think there were many things not going right in your world and it was time for a change. There is a huge part of me that wishes you had taken me with you. That wouldn’t solve anything. I am very worried about Debbie. She does have a counselor. I am very glad for that. She has kids and grand kids to help ease the pain a little. I hope it works. It is a second by second process. This has been a horribly sad day for me. I have cried a lot today. I miss you a lot today. I am so hoping you have peace in your life now. I pray for that. Take care of all my animals on the Rainbow Bridge as you will.



Am I the Only One?

So, I wanted to go ahead and write up a summary of my experience with my brother’s illness and death and how it has impacted me and the way I see myself and the world really quick. I hope there are some people out there who can understand and maybe share my feelings so I don’t feel so alone and selfish anymore (that’s kind of been my default setting since my brother first went to the hospital when I was about 5 years old…). I was the oldest, three years older than Alex. He had the odds stacked against him from the start, he was born prematurely, and on Friday the 13th to boot! I was 3 years old when he was born. He was an adorable baby, all blonde hair and blue eyes. I honestly don’t remember much before he got sick. When he was 18 months old, he got sick and my parents rushed him to the E.R. I remember being at my grandparents house and hearing the call for the Life Flight helicopter on their police scanner. He was taken to a pediatric hospital and diagnosed with a brain tumor. After that, he spent more time in the hospital than home (though he did go into remission once, it didn’t last). Of course my parents stayed with him most of the times he was in the hospital (That is something I understand and don’t feel resentment for, he was little and sick and in pain, of course they had to be with him) and I spent most of my time when they weren’t home with my paternal grandparents who became basically my second set of parents (they were amazing and I am thankful every day that I had them there for me). Alex died on Memorial Day, 1993. He was 5 and I was 9. I remember that day more clearly than any other moment of my childhood.

A few years after my brother died, my parents got divorced. I know this is something fairly common when a young child is lost (though from what I understand, my mother wanted to leave before he was born but was talked out of it), and I’m actually thankful they didn’t stay together, none of us were happy when they were together. They are both happily re-married. I lived with my dad after the divorce, I was always close to him, and to this day, I don’t hear from my mother much. She moved to Canada and I’m lucky if I get a phone call from her twice a year (my birthday [when she remembers] and Christmas).

I know no one in my family ever wanted to make me feel less or unimportant, but my entire childhood was about Alex. What can Alex do, where can Alex be, how well he’s doing. Even after he died, he was always one of the most popular topics at family gatherings. Because he was so rarely home after his diagnoses, I never really got to know him, and even now, it’s hard to say I really loved him (which makes me feel like the worst person in the world). Even today, even with my dad, who I KNOW loves me more than anything on Earth, I still feel like people would have been happier, or better off if it had been me that got sick. I know in my head that’s not true, but my heart still feels it.

To this day, I feel unimportant. That I don’t matter. That if I dropped off the face of the earth, sure, people would be sad for a bit, but my friends, my family, they’d all move on and rarely think of me again. I’ve had these feeling since I was 5 years old, and this is the first time, at 31, that I’ve ever truly expressed them. And my heart is racing. I feel like a horrible person. But I had to let it off my chest.


Thanks guys… -Emily


Taking back 27


On June 27, 2011 my only sibling, James, took his own life. Every day since has been different and I’ve learned to construct my “new normal” since I’m now an only child. Six months later, December 27, 2011, my paternal grandfather passed away. He and James shared the same name, and attending two memorial services, exactly 6 months apart, and hearing two very different versions of life for the JWK’s was excruciating.

Each June 27 and December 27 my aunt goes on a trip to “Take back 27” and this year I’m joining her, along with my mom and another aunt. I have mixed feelings on if this will work, but I’m remaining optimistic it will.




Will it ever stop?



My oldest brother, James, took his life three and a half years ago. Obvious it’s been hard as my whole family has tried to process for ourselves and help each other… And we’re not very good at it… We all miss him. The younger kids, myself included, feel hurt and short changed because with the age difference we really didn’t get much opportunity to get to know him and develop a relationship with him. My parents, especially my dad, were a wreck for a really long time, and it has just been in the last month or two that I haven’t been as concerned for them.

I’ve been dealing with my own bout of depression, and honestly while I am making sure to never entertain such thoughts and feelings, sometimes the thought comes that it would just be easier to not wake up one morning. I just spent this last year at school watching my roommate, who I truly love and care about, almost die from an eating disorder, until I finally harassed the right people into forcing her to get help. The sister just older than me has estranged herself from our family to pursue a really unhealthy relationship. And yesterday my baby sister swallowed a big handful of pills… It didn’t work, thank heavens… But she still tried to take her own life. She’s 16, and thought that was the best answer at the moment.

I know every life comes with difficulties and trials, and that everyone has free will, and that unfortunately illnesses are not all viruses or bacteria, but often the significantly less visible and quantifiable pain of a hurting soul… But does it ever stop? Will there ever be times again when everything will just be okay, maybe happy even? I’m just so tired, and I feel like I’ve been fighting an losing, uphill battle for just too long. But other people need me and so I can’t stop, and I won’t… But I would just really like a rest…


So many gone


In 1978 my brother Carter hung himself. I was fifteen at the time. I felt I not only lost my brother but my entire family. Back then there was no suggestion of counseling and those of us left we pretty much expected to keep it to ourselves. In 1981 my oldest sister Tacy took her life by an overdose. Then in 1998 my other brother, Calvin, who was Carter’s identical twin, hung himself. In 2006 my oldest nephew, Calvin’s son, hung himself. My only daughter attempted suicide last summer. I myself am in therapy, and have attempted suicide several times, as have my two surviving sisters. We all feel that we lost our parents when we first lost Carter, and it got worse with each death. Mom and Daddy are both gone now and I can’t help but be grateful that they are all together now. With each death our parents pushed us further and further away. We felt like everyone was just wondering which one would be next. Both my older sister and I have been diagnosed as bipolar with major depressive disorder and suicidal ideations. We are both actively seeking treatment, but we both worry about our younger sister as she does not admit to having a problem, even though I cut her down myself when she tried to hang herself. I miss them all, but I fight every day not to join them before my time.