Letter to Brian: June 12, 2014

Dear Brian,

I couldn’t sleep at all last night.  I’ve really been missing you so I found myself going through old pictures and messages on Facebook. I began to feverishly search for the “very last comment” you ever wrote to me. As if reading it over again would provide some kind of insight that I had missed back then– some indication that only 5 days after that message you would kill yourself. I found nothing.

I guess I don’t know what I was looking for, really.  After all, I’d known for 5 months before your death that you were suicidal, anyway.  I tried making appointments for you. I tried sharing my own experiences with you thinking it might give you a little bit of hope. I texted you nearly every single day.  I called you often.  You usually didn’t answer.  I tried to get you to promise to always answer your phone so I’d know you were OK.  You said you couldn’t promise that.  I also asked you to promise me that you wouldn’t hurt yourself… you told me that wasn’t possible, either.  I hated that you didn’t take my calls because that gave you more power in the situation and took all of mine away… well any “perceived” power I had, at least. Until you answered the phone, I was in limbo wondering if you were OK and I resented that because I was at your mercy.  Until I heard your voice again… I couldn’t relax.  I hated feeling that dependent upon you answering your phone because it sounds silly and needy.  However, it felt as though with each unanswered ring that the chances that your phone was lying next to your cold, motionless body became more and more likely.  To hear you say, “Hey dude” on the other end gave me my peace of mind back… for a little while.

I also looked back to any times (before I knew that you were suffering) when I didn’t feel like talking so I just let it go to voicemail.  I regret each and every one of those.  Each call I passed up was one less time I had the opportunity to hear your voice.  To hear your laugh.  To tell you that you meant the world to me.  I’ll never get those chances back.  I will never stop regretting that I didn’t get to say goodbye to you.  I had neglected to call you for over a week before the day you died.  Maybe– just maybe–if I’d heard your voice I’d have felt you leaving and would have had the opportunity to say goodbye in some way.  If only to let you know that I understand… and that I forgive you.

I am not sure what pulled this agony out of the woodwork this week, but it’s here and I just needed to talk to you about it the only way I can now… by writing you these letters.  I miss you so much it hurts.  I hope it is OK that I’ve learned to move on and even find myself laughing a lot these days.  It often feels as though I’m betraying you… leaving you behind.  I’m still trying to navigate those feelings of guilt for being OK most days now.  Ironically writing this letter today made me very much not OK.  Did you ever cry so hard that you started throwing up and choking and gasping for air?  Seems I do that each time I’m missing you like this.  But when I do have a good day… when I do find myself laughing… well, I really need you to know that it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten you, Brian. I’ll never, ever forget.

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.

5 thoughts on “Letter to Brian: June 12, 2014”

  1. Laura – thank you for continuing to be open and raw about your experience with Brian’s death. I am going to be brave and finally ask you a question that I have continued to wonder a lot about since all of this happened, particularly because I have continued to see you struggle so much with the grief and loss of your brother. Aren’t you angry with Brian for having caused so much pain for you with this? His pain and struggles ended but it was just the beginning for you and it’s been years. My question by no means diminishes the appreciation I had for your brother – I hope you understand that. I have always wondered, so decided to ask.

    1. Jen, I’m really glad you asked that. 🙂 And I know so many in my position experience so much anger at their loved one when they take their own life. I guess what makes it different for me is my own depression and that I know what it is like to feel desperate to make the pain end. I believe depression is as much of an illness as cancer… so while yes, he made a choice, I still believe we lost him to a disease.

      I’ve found my anger has always been directed at the disease and the fact that he’s just not here anymore… but while it doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, I fully understand his choice.

      Hopefully that explains it a little bit better. But I’m completely happy to answer questions like that anytime. Aside from giving me an outlet to “talk” to Brian the blog has been good for keeping an open dialogue about depression and suicide. <3

  2. Laura, I was crying as I read this post. As you know, I am living the same pain. So many points in this post rang true for me, also. The answering machine messages listened to and not returned right away, or the texts checking in. How he promised that he would never hurt himself, how he was suffering so badly etc. I, too have had better days, stronger ones – Feeling guilty during the good times – Still cry myself to sleep thinking of him on the bad ones – Always knowing he will be with me each and every day moving forward – Never being forgotten, the pain lessening but never going away – I am learning to live with this limp, that not many can see. Great Post!

  3. There is so much pain and love in this post. It’s beautiful and haunting.

    I’m so glad you are doing this. You are giving a face to the aftermath of suicide which could be a comfort to so many people.

  4. Laura, you are so brave and courageous to share this personal and painful journey with others. I have to say that your blog has helped me so much in the last few months. I have posted and commented before and everytime I learn something about myself that helps me get through. I lost my only sibling, my baby sister back in February. It seems so long ago, and like yesterday at the same time. Trying to deal with a consuming grief that some people seem to think I’m not entitled to has been so hard. I have been reading a book called ‘Forgotten Mourners’ that deals with being a sibling survivor. It’s title is so true to life! It feels
    Like everyone is watching me drown but thinks I’m just swimming. I gain strength from reading your letters to your brother and I am so grateful to have found this blog just shortly after my sister left us.

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