Letter to Brian: July 24, 2015

Dear Brian,

Five years ago tomorrow you were composing an email to me that began like this:

Dear Laura,

I’m very, very sorry to need to let you know this way, but if you’re reading this then that means that I’ve made the decision to end it all and it should be over and too late right now.  I scheduled this email to be sent with a time-delay and I left plenty of time.  I’m sorry that you had to find out like this, but I didn’t know what else to do.

The next paragraph included your address and the phone number for your local police department followed by this:

“My front door will be unlocked.”

It’s really difficult for me to grasp that it’s been five years and I remember it all as clearly as though it is happening today.

So much has happened, and is happening now, that I wish you were here to share with me.  This year was a bit stressful for me going through the most painful breakup of my life, moving 3 times, struggling so much with my depression and now, after 43 years, Mom and Dad are finally divorcing.  You know they’ve been talking about it for as long as either one of us can remember.  I have a very clear memory of dad asking us for “advice” about what to do about their relationship when we were pretty young and then proceeding to ask us, “If Mommy and Daddy divorce, who would you want to live with? Would you want to live with me?”  Or telling us as young children, “Your mother won’t even let me touch her, kids.  What should I do?”  As if a 7 year old was in a position to offer advice on the matter… or should even be put in a position to be asked that question regarding her own parents.

I’m not struggling a great deal with the divorce because it honestly should have happened so very long ago.  If it had, perhaps both of them could have gone on to live happier lives and things may have been different for all of us.  I guess the only thing I’m struggling with is that it just feels like one more “loss” to pile on, you know?

Today is the funeral for a good friend of mine, as well.  You remember Auntie Anne, Grandma Mary’s sister?  She passed away a week ago.  We saw her so rarely growing up that we never really knew her well.  However, I started spending my Saturday mornings with her after she broke her hip and while it began as me going to help her out with things around the house, it blossomed into a lovely friendship and we’d just sit and chat, bake cookies or I’d take her shopping.  She was such a tough personality– very assertive and incredibly sassy and you always knew where you stood with her as she never let an opportunity to tell you pass by… even if it was hurtful.  But for whatever reason, we really clicked and enjoyed spending time together.

I remember when I had to tell her that I was moving away to Texas in 2009.  She was so sad, Brian.  And each time I’d come home to visit I’d go and see her and she would ask me, “When are you moving back home, kiddo?  I miss you.”  It broke my heart that up until 6 months ago she was still asking me when I was going to move back.  Her memory had really started to go so during our last conversation on the phone she told me how sad she was that she hadn’t seen me in six years… I feel awful that she had forgotten all of those times I came back to visit her and that she was feeling neglected by me.  I hope deep down some part of her did remember that I came to see her and that I did love her very much.

I will say that during times of loss, like after you passed away and after the breakup, I found out just how many wonderful people I have in my life and how truly valued I am by my friends.  I had so many of them reach out to me and remind me, when I had forgotten myself, that I’m a good person, that I’m beautiful and caring and that they truly respect and love me and want genuine happiness for me.  That felt pretty dang good.  The outpouring of support has been so appreciated.

Well… I have an awful lot more on my mind but for whatever reason the words just aren’t coming easily today.  I think I’ll write more later when things are clearer.

I will say that I’m feeling a little abandoned by you… and that is really, really hard for me to say to you.  But this stuff with Mom and dad… well, it just makes it harder not having you here to shoulder some of that alongside me.

I miss 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.

5 thoughts on “Letter to Brian: July 24, 2015”

  1. Hi Laura. Looking forward to seeing you in September. Much in life we have no control over. We do have the power to make choices that are right for us and to alter our perception and learn acceptance. See you soon.

  2. Your letters to your brother always make me think of my daughter and how very difficult it is to have lost the one person you’ve shared your entire life with….and with whom you were meant to share all the good and bad stuff that happens. Learning to live life without your only sibling is an ongoing process and requires constant adjustments. I’m sure your brother never meant to abandon you, although your feeling of abandonment is completely understandable.

    1. Thank you for continuing to read my blog and for your support. I’m glad we connected and I still think of your daughter often. Sending love your way. -Laura

  3. Dear Laura,

    Thank you from the depths of my heart for sharing your letters to your beloved Brother. It has been three years in July since my only Brother made and carried out the decision to end his life. I, too, wish I could say it was a surprise…but it was not. Because of the immense chasm this has left behind it is disorienting at times. Yes, some days it feels like it just happened and I just received the news. And at other times it could have been one thousand years ago. We were so close, 17 months apart, Best Friends, he was my Memory as I learned the coping skill of blocking out the awful in our family as a child, without him, my memory is in shards.

    So I know what your emptiness and hurt is about…it is endless. We must try to get through each day like we aren’t less than we were when our Brothers were here. Society expects us to be moving on…when in fact I often feel like I am right there leaning against a steel pillar of the bridge my Brother jumped from. I haven’t moved a single muscle away from his death. I just try to “act right” and genuinely have great compassion for all people that are suffering, I try to move a little bit more slowly and have zero judgment about others. If someone seeks advice from me, I wait to get back to them until I have the kindest most thoughtful compassionate answers for them. Because I truly know my words have power.

    My Brother embraced the Buddhist Religion and taught me that all things spring from intention. Let’s hold onto the unquestionable fact that they did not do this to intentionally cause us this level of grief and pain. It was about them and removing their existence from a cruel and judgmental world that truly could never be worthy of our Brother’s gentle, generous hearts and their beautifully bright white lights!

    Blessings Sweet Sister,

    1. Anne, I didn’t see this comment until this week so I’m terribly sorry for the much-delayed response!

      I’m sorry for the loss of your brother, too. You two were close in age like Brian and I and that creates a special bond, I think.

      And you are absolutely right… the world wasn’t worthy of them; I’ve found that to be the common thread among all of these suicide losses– they were gentle, kind, generous and fragile. I hope they are both at peace now.

      Sending love your way!


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