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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  • Kelly June 2, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    I’m an only child and won’t even pretend to understand to know what you’re feeling, what you and your family are going through. Just please know that you’ve all been in my thoughts since last week and that I’m wishing you as much comfort and peace as possible. xo

  • Emm June 2, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Oh. This is so sad and honest and full of love. I am sorry you lost your brother.
    I read everything you write on this blog, and I always find it to be candid, eloquent, and true. Today, as always.

  • cindy June 2, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    I am truly so sorry for your loss. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family during this extremely difficult time. But thank you for sharing, as you always do – so honestly and open without knowing your readership in full detail. I may not reply much on your posts, but yours are one of the few I look forward to reading quite often. I hope you will be encouraged to write and share funny or serious moments of/with your brother over time as you remember them. Memories may not bring your brother back. but will hopefully bring a smile and hearty laugh to your soul. Thinking of you…

  • Myla June 2, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    The sad news of your brother passing really broke my heart. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a younger sibling, or a son in your parents’ case. In some ways, we take for granted the natural chronological order of things — that we’ll die before the younger ones in our family. I wish you strength, courage and peace in the tough days ahead.

  • Payal June 2, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Joy June 2, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    My heart is with you in your grief. I lost my sister 35 years ago and I think of her every day.

  • Amanda June 2, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    I’m so very sorry. My heart is aching for you.

  • Liz June 2, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Prayed for you that you might know the God who cares and comforts during this painful time of grief.

  • Sarah Ko June 2, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing such intimate news. Your family’s loss is heartbreaking. Hope your family can find peace and comfort during this difficult time. God bless.

  • Madeline June 2, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    I am very sorry for your loss. I hope you find strength in your family and friends during this tough time. All the best.

  • Marlena June 2, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    I am so sorry to read this. Words from a stranger on the internet might not help, but please know that I am sending you and your family the warmest of thoughts and healing.

  • Marlene June 2, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    My heart breaks for your family. I’m so sorry.

  • Nancy June 2, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Like the commenter above, I can’t pretend to
    know how you feel but I can imagine. My deepest condolences to you and yours. May your brother’s memory be a blessing.

  • Ellen June 2, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I wish you and your family love and light.

  • Ronnie June 2, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Oh Jenna, I am so sorry for your loss….
    Please pass my heartfelt condolences to your parents and the rest of your family.
    Thinking of you all the way from Sydney during this devastating time.
    Ronnie xo

  • Karen June 2, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Dear Jenna

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time.

    Karen x

  • Cathy June 2, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    I am so, so sorry for your loss. It’s a bit of a one-sided relationship to follow someone’s blog. I feel like I know you somewhat, even though you don’t know me at all. Anyway, it makes it all the more poignant to hear your sad news. I’m not sure how comforting virtual wishes are, but I am sending some very sincere ones your way–for the numbness to give way to a healing grieving when you are ready, for peace, for comfort, to not feel alone, for strength to continue to live a life celebrating the little joys that make it all worthwhile. And for the the ability to keep on being your very honest, authentic self that is so unique in the virtual world.

  • Martha June 2, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    my heart is breaking for you and your family Jenna. You are in my thoughts.

  • Renita June 2, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    I am very sorry for your loss

  • Rachel June 2, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    I am so sorry for you loss.

  • Jen June 2, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    This is probably nothing of significance, but please know that at this moment you have two strangers from Seattle feeling nothing but love for you, Eddie, and your family. I wish you courage and peace.

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag June 2, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Jenna, I’m so sorry. I have a brother 7 yrs younger than me and we haven’t spoken in 6 months. Your loss has given me a lot to think about. I’m truly sorry. xo

  • nole June 2, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    Jenna – words really aren’t enough, but I’m just so very sorry for your loss. I wish you and your family peace and comfort during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your story, and your brother’s story, with us.

  • Liv June 3, 2014 at 12:05 am

    I am so very sorry for your loss, Jenna. You and your family will be in my thoughts. Thank you for sharing this moving tribute to your brother with us.

  • jen June 3, 2014 at 12:08 am

    jenna, i am so sorry to hear this. condolences to you and your family.

  • Chau June 3, 2014 at 12:24 am


    So sorry about your loss. Thank you for sharing your memories of your brother with us. Wishing your family peace and comfort.

  • Naomi June 3, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Jenna, I’m so sorry for you loss. Condolences to you and your family. Thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

  • Judith June 3, 2014 at 2:30 am

    Some things are beyond comprehension. Heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Grieving is hard work.

  • Kiana June 3, 2014 at 3:50 am

    Jenna, I’m so so sorry. My little sister took her own life 8 years ago and I could so relate to everything you said here. I talked to her the night before she died and she seemed fine and happy. For the rest of my life, I’ll remember that conversation, I’ll remember the last time I saw her at Thanksgiving, my dad’s voice when he called me to tell me what happened. I was obsessed with her MySpace page and checked it all the time, I listened to her outgoing message on her voicemail all the time. I felt like I couldn’t escape her. I remember going to the mall one day and just standing there as people rushed all around me and I felt so out of place and alone.
    I know it’s impossible to think this right now, but though the pain will never go away and you will always have these memories, it gets easier. There’ll come a day when you can hear his name and smile.
    But I’m so sorry dear.

  • Cindy June 3, 2014 at 5:24 am

    Jenna, my heart breaks for you and your family. I am so very sorry for your loss. Strength, love and light to you all in this dark time.

  • V June 3, 2014 at 6:41 am

    It’s hard to find the right words, but yours are beautiful. I’m so sorry.
    I wish you courage.

  • Bianca June 3, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Dear Jenna. I’m feeling quite tearful after reading of your terribly sad news. I’m very sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and sending you a big hug. Bianca xo

  • Bess June 3, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Jenna, I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you and your family. I hope that you are able to find some comfort in your family and friends. My thoughts are with you.

  • onirical June 3, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Oh Jenna, I am so sorry… Thinking of you and sending much love from England. xxx

  • Nicole June 3, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Jenna, I am so sorry for your loss. May the memories bring you and your family comfort at this difficult time.

  • Carol June 3, 2014 at 8:13 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Magda June 3, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I am so sorry for your loss, Jenna. Hold on to all those memories. I wish you much strength.

  • karen June 3, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Truly sorry for your loss.

  • Kika June 3, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Oh my, such sad news. Much love from Berlin.

  • Nina June 3, 2014 at 9:05 am

    My deepest, deepest sympathies. We are all in this together. I hope you are strengthened by knowing that we’re all thinking of you and feeling your sadness.

  • Alejandra June 3, 2014 at 9:15 am

    So sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and your family.

  • Katie June 3, 2014 at 9:21 am

    I know sometimes you question why you blog. I hope at this time you are reminded why. We are all people and all love to connect with others. At this time many around the world are with you In your time of grief.

    Keep his memory alive by talking about him. Especially to his children. May they, and you, always feel connected to him.

  • MCC June 3, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Echoing what so many have said, I am so saddened to hear of this loss. Sending your family strength to grieve and heal. You will be in this reader’s thoughts and prayers here in Boston. Peace.

  • Mieke Zamora-Mackay June 3, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Jenna, I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my family’s sincere condolences. I pray for your family’s peace of mind and heart in the days to come.

  • Michelle June 3, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Some things will be with us always, will grow and deepen with time. And the love and memories you have for your brother will continue to be there, and will illuminate all other things you love. I wish you peace and comfort.

  • Ellen Patton June 3, 2014 at 10:35 am

    My brother (13 months older than me) died 15 years ago. I miss him every day.

  • cantaloupe June 3, 2014 at 10:43 am

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

  • karen June 3, 2014 at 10:58 am

    I am so terribly sorry for your loss, I cannot imagine how you feel or the depth of grief that is in your heart. I lost my mom 16 years ago and I still miss her. Btw I’ve read your blog for years and love your honesty.

  • Katie June 3, 2014 at 11:20 am

    I will cry a few tears for you. for your parents, for his children, for you. so sorry. so so sorry.

  • Alice June 3, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I’m so sorry xxx

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