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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  • Courtney June 3, 2014 at 11:45 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Jenna. I lost my dad recently and spent those days doing the same thing you are–crying, looking through old pictures, listening to his voicemails, and replaying his last moments in my head. You will be in my thoughts. Take care.

  • Mina June 3, 2014 at 11:56 am

    May God comfort you and your family during this extremely difficult time.

  • Linda June 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Candace June 3, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    So sorry for your loss, Jenna. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself amble time to grieve and honor his memory.

  • Deepika June 3, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    I saw your IG post last week and my heart sank. I know I don’t know you but I read your blog and feel a connection to you. I hope you and your family find peace and comfort in your memories of him.

  • Sora June 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Wishing you some small part of peace and comfort, Jenna. Thank you for sharing your letter to your brother with your readers. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  • Whitney June 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm


    There is nothing like a sudden loss. My heart grieves for you and your family. I’m thinking and praying for you.

  • Lakshmi June 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Sending you strength, blessings, prayers…

  • Sandy June 3, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    This made me cry. I lost my mother in a tragic way. My brother is all I have left. Heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

  • Rachel June 3, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    So sad to hear about this, Jenna…my only other sibling is a brother four years younger than myself, and I don’t know what I’d do if I lost him. I hope you are able to find comfort in memories and the love of your family right now. Sending you thoughts of peace and healing from Minnesota.

  • Barbara June 3, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    So sorry for you and your family– life is so bittersweet, hold your memories close and the love in your heart, xx

  • Christina June 3, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    So sad to hear this terrible news. I am sorry you are having to go through this painful time. Condolences to you and your family.

  • Jeanie June 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    This broke my heart to read this. I am so very sorry to you and your family for your loss. What a beautiful letter. Please take care of yourself. Sending lots of love to you. Jeanie

  • janine June 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Oh I’m so sorry Jenna. I hope you and your family find some peace. Much love from England, I’ll be thinking of you. x

  • Liza H June 3, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss Jenna!

  • Barbara June 3, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    All I know about your brother is that he was loved, a lot. And that, speaks volumes. Thank you for sharing this, Jenna. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  • Deanna June 3, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Dear Jenna,
    I am so sorry for your loss and for your family. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Dinah June 3, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    So sorry to hear this, Jenna. What a shock… heartbreaking. I’ll be thinking of you.

  • Theresa June 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Beautiful letter. I’m so so sorry for your loss. Like others have said, the sadness and loss doesn’t go away but it will get easier with time.

  • Nan June 3, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    So sorry, Jenna — am a regular reader and always enjoy your thoughtful posts — oh, gosh, just know that so many people whom you aren’t even aware of are thinking of you and your whole family with love & prayers. May your beloved brother rest in peace and sweet memories of him comfort you.

  • Nina June 3, 2014 at 6:36 pm

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

  • Rebecca June 3, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Your blog is testament to the fact that you don’t need to know someone personally to have a meaningful connection with them. Looking at these comments, it’s clear you’ve given so much light over the years to so many people you don’t know. I only hope that, though it may be of little consequence, you can feel a little light coming back to you now in this difficult time. Thinking of you and your family.

  • Lara June 3, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss Jenna, this must be such a hard thing to go through.
    Lots of love from right here in Brooklyn,

  • Annie June 3, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss and wish you and your family peace and comfort.

  • Lisa June 3, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Oh, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Indeed your brother is so very loved, and clearly your life was so enriched because of him, and his because of you as well. He is always with you. Sending you comfort, light and love…

  • Victoria Smith June 3, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    i’m just loving you from afar, jenna. i am so very sorry, and i hope these happier, beautiful memories you’ve shared soon overshadow the sorrow. love, victoria xoxo

  • LM June 3, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    So incredibly sorry for your loss, Jenna. “Death is to lose the earth you know for greater knowing; to lose the life you have for greater life; to leave the friends you love for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth”

    Hope you find comfort in these collective words the way yours comfort countless people every day.

  • Rain June 3, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    heartbreaking. jesus. i am so very sorry. sigh. a million hugs to you.

  • Jen June 3, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, Jenna. I almost lost my younger brother a few years ago – only luck kept him with us – and still think about what it would have been like if he’d succeeded in dying. I hope you find comfort in your grief, and allow yourself the time and space to heal.

  • Gower June 3, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Jenna, I am very sorry for your loss. I lost my own mother 13 years ago, and I can relate to the grief you and your family are experiencing. Sending much love to you and yours.

  • Lyndsay June 4, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Jenna… I’m heartbroken for you and your family. I’m so sorry to hear this. Sending prayers and love.

  • Deepa June 4, 2014 at 1:01 am

    So, so sorry to read about your big loss. You and he look so lovely together in that photo. May his wife and kids, your mum and dad and you have the strength to bear this in the coming days, weeks and years. My prayers and peaceful thoughts your way.

  • cath w June 4, 2014 at 4:11 am

    ‘…..Our time in the hands of others, And too brief for words.’ Sending love.

  • Helle (Helen) June 4, 2014 at 4:50 am

    So very sorry to hear this. All my best wishes to you and your family.

  • Joo June 4, 2014 at 5:50 am

    Oh no, so shocked and sad to hear this… thinking of you and your lovely family at what must be one of the most difficult times of your lives… Sending lots of hugs…

  • annton June 4, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Having returned only yesterday from my father’s funeral, I am so sorry to read about your post. It is a weird or rather non describable state one finds oneself shortly after loosing a loved one. Somewhere in between pain, good memories and the fact, that we don’t understand. Actually not at all. Sending lots of love and a little smile of comfort.

  • Celina June 4, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Time That Wasn’t Lost

    One doesn’t count illusions
    nor bitter realizations,
    no measure exists to count
    what couldn’t happen for us,
    what circled like a bumblebee,
    without our not noticing
    what we were losing.

    To lose until we lose our life
    is to live our life and our death,
    and nothing that passes on exists
    that doesn’t give constant proof
    of the continuous emptiness of all,
    the silence into which everything falls,
    and, finally, we fall.

    O! what came so close
    that we were never able to know.

    O! what was never able to be
    that maybe could have been.

    So many wings flew around
    the mountains of sorrow
    and so many wheels beat
    the highway of our destiny,
    we had nothing left to lose.

    And our weeping ended.

    – Pablo Neruda, translated by William O’Daly

  • Celina June 4, 2014 at 9:24 am

    The poem above by Neruda was one that helped me when my friend Bob passed away too young. Sending you and your family good thoughts!

  • Vicki in Michigan June 4, 2014 at 10:08 am

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Micaela June 4, 2014 at 10:52 am

    I am so sorry for your loss, Jenna. Sending love to you and your family during this difficult time.

  • Stacy June 4, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Hi Jenna, I just want to tell you that I’m reading your posts and feeling your heartache and thinking of you and your family.

  • cindy June 4, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    So heart breaking… I’m sorry for your loss.

  • susan June 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Absolutely gut wrenching Jenna…there are no words. Just know I’m thinking of you, and this community is thinking of you.I’m so very sorry. xo

  • Rami Schandall June 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss Jenna. May you have comfort and love around you as you grieve.

  • Haewon June 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    It’s really heart breaking to hear what happened. As a working NYC designer mom of two girls, I’ve been coming here to relate, to be comforted, and to admire your family, work, life. So sorry for your loss. Sending love and hugs…

  • Josephine June 4, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Oh Jenna. Strength to you and your family, now and in the future. I can’t imagine what the last week has been like. Thank you for sharing this letter.
    Best wishes from sydney, Australia.

  • Chandra June 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm


    You’re in my thoughts. I’m deeply sorry for your loss, if would be false to pretend that I know exactly how you feel. I know you’re surrounded by lots of love and support during this difficult time.

    I have a compelling feeling to tell you now, how much your writing over the years have really left a lasting impression on me. It has convinced me that we’re all going through a lot and been so reassuring. I can relate a lot to your struggles, very similar to mine. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas/thoughts/etc it makes it feel like we’re not so alone in this big world.

    I appreciate your posts more than you’ll ever know.

  • ScentualSoundtracks June 4, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    My heart goes out to you and your family. Take all the time you need to grieve. It’s been over a year since I experienced the death of a very close relative, and it’s definitely taken time to experience life more fully again, though the loss is still felt. Everyone is different. Continue to honor your process, whatever it may be. xxx

  • claudia June 4, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    I am so sorry and I hope that sharing the pain is of some comfort.

  • Victoria June 4, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Jenna, I’m so very sorry.

    Nearly three years ago I lost my brother Michael. He lived 3 hours drive away and we had to leave on the morning suddenly to get to him. I remember the drive so vividly as it was such a perfect day. We had time with him but he passed the next morning. I left straight away, couldn’t stay, and it was yet another perfect day. I stopped on the way and cried at the loss and the view. I wondered how the sun could still shine, how was it possible that everything looked the same when the world had changed so completely for us? I wanted to scream and wail of my loss, cover the windows and stop the clocks. I understand your need to remember Eddie here and I’m glad you did. Life will never be the same, but having your girls, Mark, stay close to them, breathe and go on xxx

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