To my Brother Bear

Dearest Brother Bear,

Today is the 9th month of our separation on earth. This has been the hardest year of my life and I have lost our Mom, struggled six years of constant hospitalizations with my illness, and nothing compares to this pain.
I remember holding your tiny hand in the hospital. You held on to my hand for dear life. You were under 2 pounds at birth yet had the strength of a man. You let go of my hand forever on January 2nd, 2019. I wish my hand were there to pull you to safety or catch you as you lept from your high rise. My hands were absent. I had only texted you 42 minutes before and you were in my house less than 24 hours before. The disbelief is disabling.

I was your confidant, protector and friend. I never judged your long battle with paranoia schizophrenia. You worked so hard to stay balanced and move forward in life. Looking through your phone, I see you used every app, book, and mantra to help stay afloat. You excelled. You had a good job, tons of friends, filled passport and padded accounts but…. no peace. It was a facade. I only found this out because of the clue you left me, your notebook and passwords. You tried to tell me but could not. The disease silenced you forever but you thought around it. I followed your clues and saw what was attacking your mind. It was not pretty. I was so sad. I wish I could have quieted the voices, demons, and chaos in your brain. I wish you were still with me.

I must live on but I will never stop making sure your life is not in vain. I have done so much already: gave money to your best friend to help him continue his education, joined the fight with AFSP to change laws for the mentally ill and for suicide prevention, donated to sites to help those in pain, and tied up all loose ends with your friends, girlfriend, and our Dad. I am so glad I can work for you and honor you. I miss your presence but glad you and I still hang out. We talk more now than ever. You live forever in my life. My toddler, your niece, saves things for you, draws you pictures and we watch your videos, especially ones of both of you. We miss you everyday. I drive your car because it smells like you and has your things. I have not moved much. I have your phone as a document of your life.
But, my memory of you: your scent, the furrows in your brow, your surgery scars, mole on your foot, turtle toenails, perfect smile, deep thinking eyes so tired of battling, and those long, muscled legs, quirky noises you made, and flat thumbs from thumb sucking.

Your students miss their coach, your friends cannot close that chasm, your girlfriend’s heart is broken, your father’s heart is bruised and you took the other half of my heart that losing our Mom took.
I love you always and I know you will always love me.
Rachel and Nathan forever.
Love,
Sister Bear

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