My name is Laura and I lost my only sibling, my brother Brian, to suicide in October of 2010. He was only 35.
I’ve been writing letters to him as a way to help me express the grief I’m experiencing and decided to publish this blog in the hopes that it may help other people who have also experienced such a loss.
I do need to say that some of it may be difficult to read. I have chosen not to modify or filter my thoughts in any way that may make them less true for the sake of making others more comfortable. Grieving the suicide loss of someone close to you is not a comfortable process and I wanted to honor that by remaining as truthful as possible. The best way through the grief is just that– through it, not around it. Those feelings need to be dealt with– if not now, they’ll find their way out sooner or later. Very painful things come up and often those around us would like the feelings to go away and just want the “old us” back. The problem with that is that person no longer exists; the very fabric of our being has been irriversibly changed and there are a lot of feelings that go along with learning to survive in our “new normal.”
While some of it may sound alarming please know that I am OK– this is the process that works best for me as I continue to grieve the loss of my only brother. If even one person out there reads my letters and feels just a little less crazy or a little less alone… I’ll have considered this a great success.
I’ve also included links to a few great websites off to the left under “Resources.” I have no affiliation with them but they are wonderful organizations relating to mental health, self-injury support and suicide prevention and awareness. I’d like to extend a special thank you to The Christi Center. They offer free grief support groups here in Austin, Texas. I began attending their Tuesday evening meetings for survivors of suicide a few weeks after Brian’s death and their love, help and support have been absolutely invaluable to me.
Thank you for reading!
My First Letter to Brian:
Letter to Brian: March 20, 2011
I’ll never forget the last time I saw you. It was July 5th, 2010– you brought me back to the airport after my visit home for Mom’s birthday. The entire ride was so heartbreaking; I could feel it– your profound sadness. I tried to get you to talk about it but you kept changing the subject… so I let it be. I just wanted to spend time with you. I didn’t want the ride to end; the closer we got to the airport the more anxious I grew. I didn’t want to say goodbye to you– something was happening that made my heart ache for you but I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly. You got out to help me with my bags, I gave you a hug and said, “Come visit me soon, OK?? See ya later, dude.” Once inside the airport doors I allowed myself to turn around in time to see you driving away; I started sobbing because in my heart I knew I’d never see you again… and I didn’t.
That part still haunts me– that I was so connected with you that I could sense that but yet I didn’t feel it the moment you died. It will take me a lifetime to get past the fact that an entire week had passed before you were found. I felt like I let you down– that not only did you die alone but you continued to lie there alone for a week while I went about my life. “He’s gone, honey.” Those are the first words I heard from Mom confirming that what we had hoped hadn’t happened really had… and the nightmare began. For weeks I would call your cell phone several times a day just to hear your voicemail message; I worry that I’ll forget the sound of your voice. I was a mess the first time I called your number after it was finally disconnected– it was like you had died all over again and the last remaining connection I had to hearing your voice again was gone.
I keep running through our life together over and over in my head. We were so close in age that we shared everything together– we experienced all stages of life at the same time: childhood… high school… college… jobs… everything. And we even liked each other enough to choose to be roommates as adults! I loved that we were not just brother and sister, but we were friends. We both included each other in our circles of friends and activities. I keep trying to remember those things; our Sundays watching the Simpsons, you “singing” me the X-Files theme song, pizza and football games, and even you trying, very patiently, to teach me how to drive a manual transmission! You had the most amazing, contagious laugh and a very gentle spirit and are going to be missed by so many people– more than you could have ever imagined. It may not make sense but it feels like you have taken that past with you… and it also feels as though you have also taken my future as I never imagined it without you.
I often wonder how long it’ll be before those memories bring me more joy than pain– because right now it hurts to think of them. My heart is broken! I find myself detaching from the world, I’m suffering from frequent panic attacks when the pain is just so strong it takes my breath away. I have become jealous of others who have siblings who are still here– and am hurt when I see them angry with each other. I am not the same person anymore; I feel so isolated, so different from everyone else. I can laugh… but have no true joy right now. I suppose some happiness will come back someday… but for now there’s only a hole in my heart where you used to be.
Please know that I am not angry at you now… nor do I think I ever will be. I have been to that place myself before and fought my way back out. I know it wasn’t a compulsive choice you made but rather the culmination of years and years of battling a crippling depression and you held on as long as you could– for us.
I miss you and think of you every waking moment. Instead of saying goodbye to you, since I know I’ll see you again, I’ll just say what we always said to each other– “See ya later, dude.”
Your loving sister,
44 thoughts on “About”
Thank you for sharing. xo
Thank you, Laura. You show a lot of courage in being so vulnerable. Brian is alive in the words you share.
I feel like you have gone inside of my mind and saw everything I am thinking and feeling about the writing of our lost loved ones. I also hold nothing back…welll almost nothing. I worry that many things will alarm my family. But the reality of what is left behind in a suicide needs to be put out there in all of is ugliness and honesty. You can’t sugarcoat it because if you do, no one will ever understand the depth of the horribleness of it. And besides, it helps me to get it out. I see it does you too. Thank you for your blog.
Thank you for your blog as well, Rhonda. I’m finding your words are helping me, too! And I hope you write that book!
Thank you. I’m glad it helps people. It helps me.
Thank you for letting me know that my voice is dealing with my loss is being heard as well. I pray for continued comfort and strength for all those who are struggling either in their loss or mental health issues.
Thanks for sharing
Thank you !
I’ll follow you
I just came across your website, this evening. I lost my brother to suicide 7 months ago. He was also my only sibling. It is still early in the healing process for my folks and I. Your site brought me comfort knowing you understand.
Hi Kristine, I’m so sorry for your loss. 7 months is not long at all and I can imagine all the pain you are still feeling– it was so raw for me at that stage, too. I’m glad you found come comfort in the blog, thank you for reading.
It has been 24 days since my only sister took her life. She was 12 years younger than me, only 28. I feel
Like the world should have stopped turning but it didn’t. Time is moving in huge leaps and in minuscule increments at the same time. It seems like a long time has passed and like it was just yesterday at the same time. Part of me cannot believe it is true yet. I don’t know how to cope with the pain. I have a family and yet loosing her makes me feel like I’m alone now.
Oh Misty, I’m so terribly sorry. I know exactly what you mean about feeling like the world should have stopped turning… I clearly remember walking around one afternoon about a month after Brian died and it was beautiful and sunny out and every person I passed on the street was bouncing around and smiling seemingly without a care and it hurt so much– I wanted the world to stop and wait for me to feel like joining them again.
I also know what you mean about feeling alone. I also felt so alone though I have family and the support of a group of friends… but it’s hard because this is a tragedy that a lot of people aren’t comfortable talking about so it often feels as though you have to grieve in private and on your own. I’m here anytime you want to talk, Misty.
I’m sending you a personal message so you have my email address if you ever want someone to talk to who understands! Thinking of you and your family. Love, Laura
Misty – I am so sorry for your loss – I am unsure if you saw my post above, but I also lost my only sibling 7 months ago – I agree, I will never get over this – I may be able to accept it better in time, but life will never be the same – I carry him with me everywhere I go – I see stores, cars, songs, etc that remind me of him, each time I travel alone – Like he is my co-pilot. We are going through the same feelings, it is normal to feel this way. We will continue to go through waves of emotions. I will feel better once we get through the “Firsts” of everything – Then I will have a better handle of how things will feel each year going forward. My brother was a wonderful person, life just got a bit too much for him. A real loss to all of us. I will keep you in my thoughts.
It’s been 6 weeks. I finally saw a grief counselor. Just the fact that she said I’m not crazy to feel what I feel helped me a little. I couldn’t get dressed today. I cried 4 or 5 times.
I am so grateful that you have had the courage to write this blog.
Misty, I’m so glad you saw a grief counselor. And you are absolutely NOT crazy. The feelings we have after our sibling takes their own life are so upsetting and confusing and our emotions are all over the map. Just allow yourself to feel all of it… you deserve to take care of yourself now. I’m glad you’re here and that you found the blog! <3 🙂
Why does it feel like other people think I should be “over this thing” and ready to “get back on the horse”? I have heard so many well- meaning friends and family tell me that I will get over it. NO!! I will NEVER GET OVER IT! I know one day I will be able to cope with it, and deal with it, but it is a part of me and I will NEVER “get over” this loss.
Misty, I commented below, a message to you and other siblings of those lost. I hope you’ll read it. I’m so sorry for the pain you feel right now. I understand. I wish I didn’t.
You know, that was one of the most frustrating things I heard– that I should “move on” and “stop torturing myself” and “you know, Brian wouldn’t want you to be sad.” Seriously? I know that. But the thing is… he killed himself and he doesn’t have a choice in deciding whether or not I get to be sad now because I AM. You know? The “Brian wouldn’t want you to be so sad” comment was one of the worst for me and continues to be– because I just AM. And you’re right— we don’t ever get “over” it… we just learn to live with the pain. <3 <3 <3
Hi Laura, Thank you so much for sharing. I lost my little brother Jonathan to suicide five months ago and I’m still struggling to make sense of it all. I have spoken to others who have lost a parent or friend, and blogged about my own experiences, but hadn’t read the perspective of a sibling until I found your blog today. So much of what you have written resonates, and I admire your courage and openness.
Hi Meghan! I’m so very sorry for your loss of your brother, Jonathan. I know exactly what you mean about there being a lot of dialogue out there for others but little for siblings specifically. That’s what led me to start writing, so I’m glad you found the page. If you’re interested, there is a documentary that is just being released about sibling survivors– I was one of the 4 sisters interviewed and the director lost her own brother to suicide as well.
The link is here: http://vimeo.com/ondemand/foursisters
Here is their Facebook page as well: https://www.facebook.com/foursistersdoc
Please stay in touch, I’m glad you’re here!!
Meghan, I commented below a message that I hoped you’d read. I’m so sorry for your loss of Jonathan.
I can so relate to all of your posts – My brother’s one year anniversary will be coming up in August – Hard to believe it has been almost a year without him – I think of him each morning and each night driving home from work – I look up at the sky for some type of sign – I watch the clouds more often now – It is a void that will never be filled – It is the emptiness I feel weighs me down – No other siblings – Just me – My folks are aging – Times will become tougher without him – My Rock – The one who understood, listened and was always there – I get signs and hope they are from him – A flash of light, or a single leaf that falls when there are no other leaves around etc – Does he really think we are going to forget him? I have another forty years or so on this earth without him – The worst feeling in the world – Most days I smile through the pain, and other nights I need a good cry – He will always be my guardian angel
Beautiful Laura, I’m so very sorry for your brothers death, I’m glad our blogs and the Christi Center connect us now.
I’m glad, too! Good luck in your journey!!
Thank you for visiting my blog so I could find yours. This is really crazy, but I started my other blog at Christmas time (I lost the blog through my own fault trying to transfer it). Dec is the anniversary of my only brother’s suicide and I still can hardly get through the month. That was 32 years ago–when we were 30 (him) and 28. I continued a life of torment over it. At the time, I googled about it and found your story! And now you’ve somehow found my NEW blog that began yesterday. I just want to say thank you now, for directing your pain in such a positive way.
Wow, that is amazing. I think everything happens for a reason– I’m glad I found your blog! 32 years is a long time– I’ve been preparing myself for a lifetime of missing him everyday. Can’t wait to read more of your new blog!! <3
I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. My thoughts are with you as you go through this process, and I admire your determination to meet the grief straight on. My best wishes to you.
It’s been just over 3 months now since I lost my only sibling. My sister. My baby sister. 12 years younger than me. It seems like a very very long time and then it seems like yesterday and then it goes back to those first few days and weeks, like it isn’t even real.
I’ve had one beautiful and sweet dream of her. It was comforting and I treasure it. But the last couple of weeks I have been having terrifying nightmares about her. Scary movie stuff. Dreams of waking to her staring at me in my bed. And so much worse. I don’t know what to attribute it to. I am now afraid to go to sleep out of fear of having an awful nightmare. I miss her terribly and as much as I want to see her, not like this. I feel like something must be wrong with me for me to dream such terrible things.
Misty, I am so sorry. I just sent you a private message via email.
Laura, I saw your post this morning and have been thinking about it all day. I just came back to read the comments before I commented and it breaks my heart to feel the pain of those who have recently experienced a sibling loss to suicide and trying to “get over it.” I’ve mentioned before that I started my blog in Dec because I was unable to “get over” the suicide of my brother. And that was 32 years ago! But we didn’t have computer and blogs and I didn’t have any support so I never moved ahead at all. Blogging has started the recovery. (Unfortunately I recently messed up and deleted my blog! so I’ve started over so all the story isn’t there anymore.) But I have come so far. I hope MISTY and MEHGAN and any others who experience the loss of someone to suicide will pour their hearts out here on WP where I know they will get support in processing their terrible loss. And I again thank YOU Laura for continuing to share your letters to Brian. They express with such honesty and vulnerability the pain of losing a sibling and how there is no such thing as getting over it. With time, we just hope to manage better and do something positive with the experience like you are.
I lost my younger sister to suicide two months ago, yesterday my grief counsellor gave me the link to the Four Sisters documentary where I was introduced to you on the screen. I watched it twice last night and will be sharing the link with my other surviving sister. These past two months I’ve been walking around in a daze, feeling lost, trying to find answers, replaying what I could have done or said that could have helped her want to survive. Thank you for starting this blog, I feel so much less alone.
Lynn, I’m so terribly sorry for the loss of your sister. Two months is just so recent and I know how raw and painful it is for you now. I’m glad you found the documentary– Caley did a beautiful job creating a film that really touches people and shows how much pain the siblings, the “forgotten mourners” go through. I’m grateful to have been put in contact with you, Lynn! <3
Hi Laura, I lost my brother, my only sibling, Carlos to suicide on May 18. I live here in Austin, he lived in L.A. It’s all been a nightmare. I watched four sisters. Everything in the film sounded and felt hauntingly familiar. I actually had breakfast with Laurie today after a mutual friend connected me to her. I go to group at Christi Center with Glenn every Tuesday. Everyday is hard. I appreciate all you’ve shared in the blog and film. Maybe we’ll meet one day. I am sorry for your heartache.
hi alma! i’m so very sorry for your loss of Carlos. laurie is wonderful, isn’t she? i hope that next time i can join you both… it’s so healing to be around others who get it. i’d love to meet you sometime– laurie has my contact info! hugs to you, my friend! <3
thanks for sharing this. I lost my brother Brian to suicide in 2002. Thank you for sharing.
Hello .. just stopping by because you commented ages ago on a blog post of mine, called An Open Letter to Grief. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve written a short e-book based on that post, called Letters to Grief, and it’s available today through Friday for FREE on Amazon. Based on your comment a while back, I wondered if it might be of interest to you?
Here is the link, if you’d like to check it out!
Thanks so much .. blessings on the rest of your week!
I found your blog this evening and so wish I could sit down and share a coffee with you. I too lost my brother, only sibling by suicide last September. I’m still consumed by grief and constant thoughts of his death. I know I’m getting better, stronger but I’m still so sad. I miss him so much and am still in complete shock that this really happened. I feel so alone, no longer having a sibling. I also feel so disconnected from everyone. I struggle every day with wanting to push these thoughts of him out of my head yet so worried I will forget him. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I find that reading your posts is comforting. Many people around me expect me to move on, be happy and put this horrible tragedy in the past. I am getting better, stronger, happier but think about my brother and his death every hour of every day.
I’m so sorry for the loss of your only sibling. All of the things you are experiencing are completely normal… everything you described is what I’ve also experienced. I’m so glad you reached out because finding others who can relate to our experience is so healing and helpful.
I too wish we could sit down for a cup of coffee and talk. If you’d like to email me and chat, feel free to do so! firstname.lastname@example.org
Sending you good thoughts and hope to hear from you.
Thank you for sharing. I lost my only sibling last year. He was 32. It’s not easy, is it…. Hugs ❤️
I see you. You are okay.
There are signs; it works both ways. Sometimes the space between them changes and sometimes you don’t see them. But you will see them when you should.
My daughter saw a doctor about her back pain. She expected this doctor, like all the others, to tell her “lose some weight.” But this doctor said to her:” It’s not the weight. I’m overweight and my back doesn’t hurt.” They found a defect in a disc that wasn’t bad enough to fix with today’s medical options. Eventually she’ll have to have surgery.
You aren’t wrong. Thank you for existing.
Wow, do I understand how you feel and all that you write about in your blogs. I didn’t lose a sibling, but my 18 year old boyfriend due to suicide. You are right, it is a type of pain that so hard to describe but you do it in a way that has me so surprised and thankful that I am not the only one who feels like this. While I am so young (19), I struggle everyday to find individuals around me who can have one ounce of understanding how I feel… but 99% of the college kids I’ve met, don’t. This is why I appreciate blogs like this- I know I am not alone and that I although I sometimes feel like I’m the only one in the world that feels these feelings, I’m not.
I am so sorry for your loss, and trust me, I know that statement doesn’t mean much in situations like this, but I truly am because I know the way that an event like this can make your entire life, personality, and will do a complete 180.
Keep writing girl, you are helping more than you probably know.
Thank you for writing this blog, I feel less alone knowing others have been through a similar thing. My sister got high on cannabis and committed suicide live on the phone to me during the 2020 COVID pandemic, I wasn’t able to talk her out of it or get emergency services quick enough. The feelings of depression, anger and guilt are overwhelming, but I’m hoping it will get easier to deal with in time.
I typed into google. Sibling grief suicide loss blog. The first page that came up was yours. And it popped out, not because so much because it was first on the search but because my brothers name was Bryan as well. My only older brother. I know your brother would be proud of you because I am and we have never even met. But from one sister to another I understand your pain. I see you! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! You are making a difference by doing so.