Letter to Brian: December 31, 2013

Dear Brian,

It’s about to become the year 2014.  This is my 3rd New Year’s Eve without you and each time the world continues to move on to the next calendar year I have an immense pain in my heart.

I know many people who read this won’t understand… but also know that anyone who has lost someone as close as you were to me will know exactly what I’m talking about.  I remember so vividly clinging to the year 2010 because you were here with us for the majority of that year and I desperately did not want to move into 2011 without you.  I think of that each New Year’s Eve– that I have endured yet another (and am about to endure one more) year without you.  And each time I find a penny you leave for me I immediately look at what year it is; as silly as it seems, I find myself feeling heartbroken if it’s a penny from 2011 or later– I only want pennies from the years you were with me.

So many things have happened since you gave up, Brian.  So many things I wish I could have shared with you– both good and bad.  My marriage had been struggling long, long before we moved away to Texas and deep down I always knew you never truly connected with Mark and knew that he wasn’t the man for me.  We decided to separate only 8 months after you died and were officially divorced shortly after the one-year anniversary of your death.  To some a divorce might be a traumatic event but for me it was such a wonderful blessing as I was unhappy for so long and finally felt some relief; I knew I was free to find the person with whom I was really meant to be with forever.  I then went through a confusing and tumultuous year-long relationship… again, the end of a relationship that turned out to be a beautiful blessing to me as it brought me to the place where I met my sweetie.  He has graciously let me into his life with all my quirks and complexity and has allowed you to remain a part of my life with him.  He’s there to provide hugs and a shoulder to cry on… and he’s been so willing to participate in the little “ceremonial” things I do to remember you– watching your favorite movies with me, listening to my stories about you and asking to know more about you.  I know without a doubt that you would think he is a wonderful partner for me.

Then there is my amazing friend, Leashya.  I’m so grateful to have met her, Brian.  She has been the most constant and consistently supportive and trustworthy person in my life here in Austin.  We understand each other in a way that only convinces me further that we are kindred spirits and I was undoubtedly supposed to meet her– she has become my family, my sister.  Though she feels that she knows you already (from how much I speak about you) she really wishes she could have met you and I wish you’d have had the opportunity to know her, too.

There are so many others whom I’ve met as a direct result of your suicide. Through seeking help and having others reach out to me for help, I’ve met some beautiful people.  It’s so bittersweet; while I’m heartbroken for the reason we came together, I’m also grateful that we did.  I met people early on who were further along in their grief process who were able to offer up a truly understanding ear and heartfelt advice.  And now, 3 years later, I’m finding I’ve been given the opportunity to turn around and offer that same kind of guidance to others.  It’s a devastating but loving community I’ve found and I’m grateful for both the opportunity to learn from others and to also be able to teach some of what I’ve learned about life and myself in this process.

I began this blog in 2013– it has been nearly a year since my very first public post.  While I’ve received so much wonderful feedback from others who are grieving, I’ve found that it has been immeasurably helpful to me, personally.  First, for the opportunity to get out so many thoughts and feelings I have inside… but also to be able to go back and read previous posts.  I am amazed at how raw some of them are! I’m proud of the resilience I never knew I had and also of my own willingness to be so open with the world… it has brought many wonderful people into my life as a result.

This coming February I will be traveling to Washington, D.C. as I was selected by the Central Texas Chapter of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to receive a scholarship to attend their Annual Advocacy Forum on Capital Hill.  I’ll be able to meet with lawmakers about issues surrounding mental health and suicide awareness and prevention.  I know you’ll be there beside me giving me the strength to share your story and mine.  I’m determined to make changes where I can this coming year, Brian, and I know you’ll be supporting me all the way.

Love Always,

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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: December 31, 2013”

  1. Laura, I am so proud of you and the amazing beauty you have found and created in the aftermath of your heartbreaking tragedy. I am so grateful for you and all that you bring into my life. May 2014 be a year of continued healing and courageous new experiences for you. I love you, my dear friend. I know Brian does too.

    1. Thank you, Miss Leashya! You are my dear sister!! You’ve been a big part of me finding the words to talk about all this stuff and you’ve encouraged me to write! Love you so much!! 🙂

  2. Dear Laura,   I don’t know if I reply directly, if this reaches you?  Let me know if it does 🙂   This is so beautiful, and touching. And I now Bian is so, so proud of you.  You are helping so many, and I hope finding some peace for yourself.  I always hold you close and keep you in my prayers. That you are finding happiness in your days, comfort when you need it, and lauging more than crying (you have the best laugh!).   I totally, totally get what you said about New Year’s Eve. 3 years ago this past July I lost a dear, dear friend to cancer. Everything was so raw, especailly that 1st year, but I nearly came undone on New Year’s eve, realizing in a few hours this new space in time would not have him in it at all. It still makes me cry to think of it. So I will pray extra for you today as your cross into the New Year.   Love and Hugs to you!   Jenny Donovan  


    1. Jenny, thank you so much for your kind words!! I thing it is amazing you said I have the best laugh… that’s what I always said about my brother so it is nice to hear. 🙂 I’m sorry for the loss of your friend. I think of you often and miss seeing you! Love, Laura 🙂

  3. Laura, I loved reading this post. It is full of such positive energy, and that’s what I love about being around you. Congratulations on your scholarship. There will be no better advocate and spokesperson. I know I’ll always look back on this year as the worst in my life, but meeting you is on the top of my list of good things about 2013.

    1. Suzann, thank you!! I so enjoy being around you, too. And like I said– the circumstances that allowed us to meet are unfortunate to say the least… but I’m so glad you are in my life. Looking forward to our first wine-toast to our dear brothers in 2014. I’m grateful for you! 🙂

  4. Foo, you are so amazingly strong! I know you may not always feel that way but it sure shines through to the rest of us. So very proud of you. Keep hanging tough! 😉

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