sibling suicide

An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, September 2017

Hey Connor,

It’s been a while.

I was perusing the three Facebook groups that were made in the wake of your death earlier tonight. Rumor has it you were electrocuted at age five, and it caused you to have an abnormally high voice. Less creative was the rumor that you died in your bedroom closet of a drug overdose. I forget sometimes how vicious thirteen-year-olds’ imaginations can be.

At peak novelty, the most popular of those groups had over 1,000 members. Now, their membership count is down to sixteen, six, and five. Funny how bandwagons work. (more…)

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…)

That Time You Wanted to Kill Yourself

As I prepare for a lengthy and fulfilling career as a psychotherapist, one of my greatest fears is how I will help suicidal clients. My thirteen-year-old brother killed himself a week before I turned seventeen, and although his suicide is a topic which regularly invades my mind and which I openly discuss with anyone who asks, I am concerned that in a professional setting, I may not be able to maintain the sufficient emotional composure which my client-therapist relationships will require. Suicide may always be too “close to home” of a topic, despite the time which has passed since Connor’s death. But even as angry, disappointed, and frustrated as I am with Connor for killing himself, his suicide forced me to reconsider my views on the subject. (more…)