A Letter to my brother

June 2, 2014 |  Category:   family favorite posts life

Dear Eddie,
You’ve been gone now for a week. When I got the news at first, I didn’t feel anything. I couldn’t cry and I kept asking myself, why am I not crying? Maybe because I had been preparing myself all day for…what, I wasn’t sure, but I knew something was wrong. They say that twins have a powerful connection and know things about each other, like some kind of empathic telepathy. Well, we’re not twins–I’m your older sister by 6 years, but I knew something was not right. I keep thinking about how I called you on your birthday last Monday while we were driving to have dinner with mom and dad and the girls sang happy birthday to you on speaker phone from the back seat. Did you ever hear that message? That message we left you haunts me. You didn’t pick up the phone. I was on pins and needles all day Tuesday when I still hadn’t heard from you.


All last week people were paying their respects and posting public tributes to Massimo Vignelli and Maya Angelou and it felt weird because I kept seeing all these RIP posts and messages everywhere on the internet while I was in my own private grief state. Dad told me that he had to put away all photos of you from the house that night because he couldn’t bear seeing pictures of you right now. I understand why he did it, but it felt like we were scrubbing you from our memories. Maybe this is why I’m writing this letter and posting it here…for who to read? I don’t know, but I felt like I needed to do something so that your life–and death–was acknowledged.
I still keep replaying that night over and over, having to call mom to tell her that you were gone. How do you break that kind of news to a mother? The morning after, I ushered the kids downstairs to our neighbor’s house to be walked to school and I haven’t really left the house much since then. I’ve cried, looked at old photos of us when we were kids, retraced through our last texts and phone calls, and thought about what your last day might have been like. We had only spoken to each other 2 days before.
We really miss you, but I hope you are at peace now. This is the only thing that comforts me. That and thinking about some of our childhood memories. Remember how we were both super obsessed with watching the weather forecasts on the news? Or how we watched the movie Aliens a billion times and memorized all the lines to Spinal Tap? How you, me and cousin Jeanie felt some weird guilt about not going to church when we were left in the house while mom and grandma went, so we conducted our own “church service” just to make sure we didn’t go to hell? I think about the suspenders that mom used to make you wear or your favorite orange wooden block; how you were obsessed with the Dukes of Hazzard and how we used to threaten you with “No Dukes!” when you didn’t do what we wanted. It feels weird to think that I might be an only child now. What does that even mean? I still have a brother; you’re just not with us anymore, the same way that mom and dad still have a son and your kids still have a father. I hope you know that a lot of people are missing you right now. You were loved. You ARE loved.
Love, Jennie

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  • Karen June 17, 2014 at 6:16 am

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my brother when I was a little girl and that loss never goes away but the pain does lessen as time goes on. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Kendra B June 17, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Alison June 17, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    I am so very sorry about your loss. Sending light and love your way, from a dedicated reader. You are very much in my thoughts right now.

  • Elizabeth June 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Oh Jenna, I am so very sorry to hear the incredibly sad news about your brother. Your post was so moving and heartfelt. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

  • Yolande June 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I’m very sorry for your loss.

  • Drina June 23, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for years, and I really feel your loss. Thank you for being so brave and so open to share your personal grief on this space. If anything you have definitely inspired me to treasure my loved ones more and to think of them more. On days you feel too heavy, perhaps you can pen down your thoughts here. Plenty of listening ears for you :) hope knowing this makes you feel a tiny bit better, hugs

    from sunny Singapore

  • Heidi June 23, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Dear Jenna,
    I just wanted to reach out and share my condolences. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  • Rita June 27, 2014 at 1:47 am

    I was a classmate of Ed’s at Cornell. I will always remember him as a kind and deeply compassionate person.
    When we were in clinics, we had overnight shifts called T1’s and T2’s where we had to do the treatments, after hours, on the hospitalized patients. T1 was the 7p- 1a shift and T2 was the 1a- 7a shift. Ed and I had a T2 together in the Large Animal Clinic. I was taking care of a colicky mare, had just finished giving her medications and was preparing to take off her lead rope and leave the stall when she suddenly became very agitated. She managed to get herself between me and and the stall door and was trying to squish me up against a wall. I grabbed her lead, which is always connected to the left side of the horse, and began to lead her in a circle, hoping to calm her down enough to make an escape. Having her by the lead enabled me to protect myself from being stomped, but she kept trying to push into me and knock me over. We went round in circles in that stall, me leaning into her, her leaning into me. Since I was on her left side, every time we passed by the stall door, I was on the side opposite the door and I couldn’t cross in front of her without her rearing up. At 3 am, with no one around, I’m thinking that this was a really bad situation. After a couple of minutes I was getting really tired, her being 1500 lbs and all. Up to that point, I had been kind of quietly calling out for some assistance, afraid of upsetting her further, but I realized nothing I’d done up to then had done much good. So I yelled, loudly, for help. The Large Animal Clinic is huge and I didn’t think anyone was going to be close enough to hear me. Ed came running out of nowhere and without hesitation came right into the stall, quietly enough so as not to startle her too much but forcefully enough for her to know he meant business. He grabbed the lead rope and lead her a few steps away from me so that I could slip out, and then managed to back her off of himself for a second so he could get out, too. As soon as he was through that stall door, she threw herself into it.
    I know Ed saved me from, at the very least, some pretty serious injury that night. I was shaking so bad I could only just say thanks, and he just put his arm around me and acted like it was no big deal. I had intended to e-mail Lisa with the story so that when she spoke at Ed’s memorial, she could let his family know what he had done for me. I didn’t get the chance as I lost my Mom two weeks ago and the days just kind of got away from me.
    I am so sorry for your loss and I hope it helps in some small way to know that Ed made a big impact on a lot of people and a lot of animals in the short time he was here. He will be dearly missed.

  • KP July 10, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    I am really saddened by your loss Jenna, I understand that feeling of just knowing something isn’t right and I believe we have a great connection to our siblings.

    Having just read Rita’s story of your brother helping her, Ed sounds like a wonderful person, willing to put others before himself. Always remember that.

    Much love from Queensland, Australia.

  • Daniel August 24, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Dearest Jenna
    I am an old friend of Eddie. I had the chance to visit your parents today after not seeing them in over 20 years. I heard about your tragic loss a few weeks back and have finally been able to keep the promise i made to your mom to come by the house.
    I am very very sorry for your loss. I regret losing touch with eddie shortly after high school ,but was happy to reconnect with him via facebook a few years ago. We were able to get back in touch, and catch up on what was currently happening in our lives. I only wish i had another chance to see him face to face and tell him what a fantastic friend he was to me.
    I see eddie has touched many lives, and it’s only fair to say he touched mine as well. I had also told your mom that when i first moved to the neighborhood in 1985, i left behind all the friends I had made in my old neighborhood. I was alone, i was sad, and wasn’t sure if i’d ever have any friends like the ones i had back in Jackson Heights. Between eddie and a two other guys in my class , they accepted me, and helped fill the void that was in my life at the time. As time went on we were all inseparable. Eddie was smart, artistic, funny, and just a great friend. In life and in death he was one of the most dynamic people i ever had the honor of meeting. If i had one more chance i wish i could tell him this. I wish i could thank him for being the great friend that he was.
    i send to you and your family my deepest condolences. I also do hope that he is at peace and I know the day will come when i am able to see him again and say all the things i needed to say.

    thank you for sharing this beautiful letter to eddie. I do hope that in time that you are able to heal as well, and celebrate eddies life.

  • brooklyntobrussels September 22, 2014 at 6:13 am

    I am so sorry for your heartbreaking loss. What a beautiful remembrance.

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