Letter to Brian: September 8, 2015

Dear Brian,

Back home in Red Wing today was the first day back at school for all the kids. I’ve been seeing so many great pictures in my feed of all my friends’ kiddos in their back-to-school garb… all smiles and full of hope for the coming school year. It’s bringing back so many memories of you and me.

I have pictures of the two of us from every single year all the way up through high school graduation. I recall some years more than others but you should know that I was always so glad you were in the same school; it felt good knowing that you were close by. I vividly remember you driving us to high school in that old, red ’84 Camaro and blasting Metallica, Pantera, White Zombie and a plethora of others that got you pumped up for your day and I loved hearing you attempt to “sing” along. Occasionally, you’d let me put in a CD of my choosing and you’d begrudgingly listen to me sing along with Harry Connick, Jr. I took away from those trips a love of metal and I think my varied musical tastes rubbed off on you, too, though you might not have admitted it often.

I’ve also been sitting here at my desk snacking on string cheese… and again am flooded with more memories of you.  I recall every time Grandma and Grandpa would come visit us on a Sunday he would volunteer to go pick up the chicken from Hager Heights Drive-In; he’d take the two of us with him, stop in at Harbor Bar for drinks and to play pull-tabs while you and I snacked on string cheese, Kit-Kats and sipped on Shirley Temples.  (And lie, of course, when asked if we had spoiled our dinner by snacking.)  Every single time I eat string cheese I think about those Sunday afternoons with Grandpa… we always looked forward to riding along with him.  I miss that.

I was just telling a friend the other day how Mom told me about a day shortly after I first started preschool and began making new friends.  Up until that point, you and I did absolutely everything together… we were best friends.  She said the first time I had some other girls to the house over you came running downstairs and sobbed to her, “I’m a boy, I’m a boy.”  We had apparently slammed the door in your face and wouldn’t let you into my room because you were “a boy” and now there were no boys allowed.  I was obviously too young to have any memory of that day on my own but I have thought about it often after hearing about it from Mom.  It makes me sad that I made you cry and that you felt neglected.  It’s not as though I think you harbored any deep-seated angst over that day… but I still hate to think of any moments when you were in pain; particularly caused by me.

I’ve been feeling extra nostalgic about those kinds of things lately. I’ve had a really rough week and am dealing with a lot of sadness right now; thinking about you and our happier times can be helpful.  And it is not lost on me that the 5 year anniversary of your suicide is only a month away.  It breaks my heart again and again to know that I can’t make any new memories with you, Brian.  But I am grateful for all the years of friendship that we shared… because I realize not all siblings really care for one another as much as we did.

Anyhow, I didn’t have much to say today but wanted you to know I was thinking about 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.

2 thoughts on “Letter to Brian: September 8, 2015”

  1. Dear Laura,

    There is so much I’d like to say. But I’ll try keeping it short and sweet. Thank you for sharing your story, for allowing me to read your personal letters, and join you on this emotional journey. You are an amazing sister, one that I look up to, a role model of sorts. You’ve given me a new perspective on sisterhood. I am a sister, who’s never dealt with death, but when I do you make me believe and give me hope that I’ll survive it, that I’ll overcome it and possible turn the pain into something beautiful and positive as you’ve done.
    You are an inspiration to me. I wish you all the best, take care.
    -from one loving sister to another.

  2. Laura,
    I too lost my only sibling. My younger brother committed suicide in 2011. He was the last person in the world anyone would have thought would take his life but he did. I have done the what/if game 1000x in my mind. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I can only tell you that it is much easier to be 4 years away from the worst thing that ever happened to me in my life. It was as if in that moment that someone had ripped my arm from my body and I had to just go on. It was brutal and raw and unbearable at times but I live on for both of us. People have asked me if I’ll ever “get over” my brother dying and I always answer,” I’ll never get over it but I will get through it” and I believe I have and hope you do too.

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