dear connor letter

An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, March 2017

Hey Connor,

Today marks exactly eight-and-a-half years since the day you died, just over a week before your 22nd birthday. I’ve been thinking about you a lot these past couple of weeks. Google says you lived about 75 days shy of 5,000, or about 7.1 million minutes. Each year since you left is a smidge easier than the last, but the loss of you will always ache. I’ve cried for days writing this letter. (more…)

An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, April 2016

Dear Connor,

As I drove home from work this past Monday, I began to reflect on a photograph shown on the news last weekend of a small child hugging his father’s gravestone. I imagined what it would feel like to try to explain to my office manager every September 23rd that I would be unable to come into work because I was visiting your grave… except for the part about how we did not bury you. (more…)

An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, December 2015

Dear Connor,

These letters are always draining to write and often come after nights of ruminating and self-reflection. The days when I forget you’re dead are few and far between, and they leave a bittersweet aftertaste when reality sinks back in. I’m somewhere between happy and content on most days, but the ache of your memory is a residue that’s always present in the back of my emotional psyche, whether I remember to realize it or not.

The other day, I started thinking about the implicit guilt that accompanies grieving and realized that part of the guilt over your death of which I haven’t been able to let go is because of a conversation we had. (more…)

An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, September 2015

Today marks the 7th anniversary of the worst day of my life — the day you made me an only child. I have not forgiven you.

I feel like I’ve coped adequately, but some days are a lot harder than others… not that I’ve ever minded a tearful drive home from work, but still.

It’s odd; I would have thought I’d be more sad on your deathday each year than your birthday, but that got me thinking. Your deathday reminds me only of death, but your birthday reminds me of the life you lived and surrendered. Your birthday feels much more morose because it leaves an ache in me, a longing to celebrate your existence with you, not simply of your memory. (more…)

An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, June 2015

Dear Connor,

I had another dream about you last night, this time that I pushed you against the upstairs banister, causing you to fall through the bars, face first down to ground level. You were dead, it was all my fault, and you looked a lot like you did when I found your unconscious, damp body in real life. I woke up shaking and wide-eyed. Needless to say, it was a rough morning.

Mom just vividly described Gran’s gaudy, pink-nightmare of a casket to Aaron and, in doing so, reminded me that she and Dad couldn’t bear to put your ashes in the ground. Your cremated remains are held in a polished, wooden, latched box in your room. (more…)

An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, April 2015

Dear Connor,

The first of April has come and gone, so happy 20th birthday, little brother. When I had originally drafted this piece on February 23, and it had been exactly six years and five months since you died. Google says that’s about 2,344 days — or, as you would prefer, 202,490,275,166,666,688 nanoseconds. Sounds like a long time, right? Some days, it feels like it. Other days, it feels more like just a week has passed.

I’m still mad you’re gone, but over the past few years, my anger and frustration have started to feel more… empty.

(more…)

An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, February 2013

Dead Connor,

I was thinking about you this morning. And afternoon. I think about you a lot these days, a lot more than I used to. (more…)

An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, September 2012

Dear Connor,

Today is one of the few days of the year for which I cry hardest over you, and it amazes me that it has only been four years since I came home and found you dead.

(more…)

An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, September 2013

Dear Connor,

It’s yet another somber day in our household as we each take a couple moments to remember how you left us five years ago today. (more…)