Letter to Brian: April 25, 2014


Dear Brian,

We went to see a comedy show last night. It was a comedian that I have known about and loved for years… but there was a good 5-10 minute section in the middle of the act about suicide.  The thing is, I know this comedian is very open about her own struggles with mental illness so I guess if anyone can joke about it like that it would be someone who “gets it.”  But man, it just hurt so badly.  There is something so surreal about sitting in a room hearing the word “suicide” over and over amidst a few thousand people laughing at it when all I could think about was you and the insurmountable amount of pain that led to you taking your life… and the last thing I felt like doing is laughing.

It never ceases to surprise me as to how often suicide is joked about.  I don’t know if it’s being joked about more often these days or if I just notice it more now that I’ve lost someone so close to me at their own hand; I’d venture to say it’s the latter.  I totally understand that part of the whole deal with comedy is laughing about things that happen to us in life and our ability to share our stories and relate to one another in a lighthearted way; but this is just something that I am not, nor do I think I’ll ever be, ready to laugh at… ever.

It was so strange– I was in a room full of so many people but as soon as that bit came into play I instantly felt all alone in there.  Things became so distorted and foggy. I could barely hear her anymore and the sounds of laughter faded into white noise in the background of my daydream.  I was transported to the last few minutes I ever spent with you– those minutes as we pulled up to the Minneapolis airport on July 5, 2010.  I will never forget the look of… well, there was an immense sadness in your eyes but also a look of complete emptiness; it makes sense to me now as I think your spirit had long departed and the brother I’d known just didn’t exist anymore.  I was suddenly trapped between that dream world existing in my head and the tangible world around me that consisted of strangers effortlessly laughing at something that brought me so much pain.  I desperately wanted to squeeze my sweetie’s hand hard enough as if to say to him, without words, “Please help me, please hold me, this is just too much for me to take right now.”  But that, again, is admitting to a weakness which I’m not always open to showing; particularly when I know it would take away from someone else’s enjoyment of a moment.  So I sat there, frozen, feeling alone in a crowded room, taking long, deep breaths and fighting the urge to burst out of my seat and run for the door in search of fresh air and the absence of laughter; I forced back the tears– painfully waiting for it all to go away.

I don’t know if this hypersensitivity will ever completely go away but I’m looking forward to a time when it doesn’t paralyze me like it does yet these days.

As always, thanks for listening dude.

Missing you,




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I lost my brother Brian, my only sibling, to suicide on October 13, 2010. I write about dealing with the loss as well as my own life-long struggle with depression and suicidal ideation.

8 thoughts on “Letter to Brian: April 25, 2014”

  1. I don’t think we will ever not be hypersensitive to our situation and the word “suicide”. Elections are getting ready hear so I’ve been reading a lot of clashing of opinions. One issue was of a truck purchased by our coroner. Many are outraged that it’s a truck and not something more suitable for hauling our loved ones. One of our commissioners responded to a post with “would you want to put a suicide victim that had been dead for days in your car?”. I wanted to comment back, I was horrified. Why did he have to use a suicide victim as an example? I HATE how the “word” is thrown around like it’s nothing. I don’t know that I would have been able to sit through the comedy show as my emotions are still way to raw. I feel alone in crowded rooms almost on a daily basis. I feel your pain!! Peace to you Laura!!

    In loving memory of (my only sibling) Rodger Jones,
    Tammy Fish

  2. You are so right! It is tossed around so carelessly and it never goes unnoticed for me. I may hide the hurt but each time I hear that word it’s like a dagger in the heart. Peace to you as well, Tammy. <3

    1. btw, I pre-ordered “four sisters”, I can’t wait to see it!! And as a reader posted below, thank you for having the courage to write. It helps me through my stuggles too.

  3. Laura, thank you for being so open to sharing your intimate thoughts and feelings. It is very deep, and moving. Peace to you my friend. HUGS.

  4. Laura,
    Yesterday I was thinking about the last time Brian and I spent quality time together – a day at the Minnesota State Fair. Every time I go back there I think of that day in 2010.
    Sorry for your pain and the things that bring it all back. Hopefully someday these memories won’t bring the immense saddness along with it.


  5. Laura,
    As I read your post – I could easily have put myself in your shoes – The word itself paralyzes me, never mind in a comedy show. I watch a movie and I fear for anyone to start going into a depression, of any kind. The word itself is something I will never be able to hear again without thinking of my own brother. He left us in moments of despair that will ring like a tuning a fork within me until the end of my days. I believe the harshness of the word may fade, but I do not think I will ever stop thinking of his last moments. How helpless he must have felt. How leaving this world was a better option than staying in it. I think of him each day, many times throughout the day.

    His birthday is next weekend. I still cannot believe that he will never call, text or be at another family gathering. We are still making it through “The Firsts”, August will make a year. Still so fresh and raw. So glad I connected with you.Stay Strong!

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