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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  • Alysha June 4, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    I’m so very sorry. Hold your family close, leave yourself open to support, share as feel able to do so and know that even here, we support you through this too.

  • G. June 4, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Hug. =(

  • Naomi June 4, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Heartbreaking. I am sorry you are having to go through this painful and tragic experience. your letter was a beautiful tribute. Condolences to you and your family.

  • Jeanne June 4, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    I’m so terribly sorry for the loss of your brother. I wish I could say more to ease your pain. Please know that others are thinking of you.

  • Dee June 5, 2014 at 12:02 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Jenna.

  • Jen June 5, 2014 at 12:20 am

    Jenna, I too am very sorry. From another designer (Seattle) mom of two, I’ve followed your stories for some time and often find comfort and truth in your words.
    Please know that so many are thinking of you and your family …

  • Carolyn June 5, 2014 at 12:28 am

    No words for this. I don’t often pray but you and your family are in my thoughts, and prayers, tonight.

  • Kris June 5, 2014 at 1:14 am

    I’m so sorry to hear this sad news. My deepest condolences.

  • Hannah June 5, 2014 at 5:27 am

    I’m so sad and sorry for the loss of your brother Jenna. Thinking of you x

  • Helen June 5, 2014 at 9:00 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for several years now, and I just want to say how sorry I am. My condolences to you and your family.

  • Jhope June 5, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Heartbreaking. I’m so sorry, Jenna.

  • Lulu June 5, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I am so sorry for you loss. My prayers to your family.

  • blandine June 5, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Jenna, this is a terrible loss for your family, I am so sorry. Take care.

  • ty June 5, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now and I just wanted to say, I’m so very sorry to read this. Thinking of you and your family.

  • Karyn June 5, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    I am like so many of your readers so very sorry for you and your family’s loss.

  • gizella June 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    so many virtual hugs to you right now. That picture killed me.

  • Suzette June 5, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. I wish we could do something to make it better. All we can do is be here for you…and we are.

  • Diane June 6, 2014 at 12:14 am

    I’m so truly sorry for your loss. If a reader’s hugs help, I am sending them. Be gentle with yourself.

  • Louise June 6, 2014 at 1:30 am


  • Laura June 6, 2014 at 2:30 am

    I am so sorry. It is an unimaginable loss.

  • Sarah June 6, 2014 at 4:50 am

    Jenna, so sorry for you and your family’s loss. Heartbreaking xoxoxo

  • Mafalda June 6, 2014 at 6:38 am

    So very sorry for your loss.
    Thinking of all your family

  • jessica June 6, 2014 at 8:57 am

    condolences to you and your family, jenna. thinking and praying for you.

  • Cadence June 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. My heart broke when I read… I’m praying for you.

  • Lesley June 6, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Dear Jenna
    Please know that you are loved too, from afar and by someone whom you have not met. Heartfelt thoughts to you and your family x

  • Stephanie June 6, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. I am the older sister of a little brother too- and reading this made my heart hurt for you. Sending many warm hugs and thoughts your way.

  • Karen June 6, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Jenna, I am so sorry about your brother. Your letter to him was beautiful and heartfelt, and it made me grab my family a little tighter after reading it. Many condolences to you and your family.

  • Vanessa June 6, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Jenna, I’m so sorry to hear the heartbreaking news about your brother. My thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  • TB June 7, 2014 at 7:12 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few years and this letter made me cry. I really feel sorry for you Jenna.

  • Patty June 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Oh, Jenna. I’m so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • CG June 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    What words are good enough to offer comfort from afar? You’ve never met me but I’ve been reading your blog for years now. You have a knack for voicing so beautifully all the things that float in my head, and an even cannier knck for posting them as I’m feeling them. All that to say, I’m sorry to hear about your brother. You’ve written a touching letter to him and in posting it, honoring him and allowing us to honor him with you. Sending you and your family strength.

  • Anne-Marie June 9, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Dear Jenna – I’m so terribly sorry. I wondered why you hadn’t posted anything for so long, and wish so much it was for some other, more tivial reason. Words seem really useless at the moment, too clumsy to express how terrible this is. Thinking of you and hoping that you are managing somehow.

  • betty June 9, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss Jenna, condolences to you and your family. Stay strong.

    From a fellow Park Sloper who has been following your blog.

  • Stephanie June 9, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    So sorry for you and your family…

  • Pawan June 9, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    There are no words. I’m so SO sorry. My heart breaks for you. You and your family are in my thoughts… xo

  • Brenda June 10, 2014 at 1:57 am

    Dearest Jenna,
    I’m so very sorry.

    Much love and support,

  • Audrie June 10, 2014 at 2:57 am

    My sisters are 6 years younger than me too, and if anything happened to them, I’d be beside myself. I’m so, so sorry for your loss and unimaginable grief. You and your family are in my thoughts xx

  • wolfie June 10, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I’m sorry, I know your grief. My sister took her life almost 10 years ago. You are in my thoughts during your this time. You will feel better again.

  • Michelle June 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Jenna, I’m so very sorry for your loss. May peace be with you and your family, and the hurts heal over time.

  • xj June 10, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Stay strong.

  • Jessica June 11, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Will be thinking of you and your family during this trying time.

  • Joya June 11, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I so sorry for your loss, and for your entire family I offer up my thoughts and prayers for peace and comfort. Your letter to your brother is touching and heartfelt.


  • judy June 11, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    sending warmth and strength to you and your family from across the states here in la… thank you for sharing your life with us.

  • Jen June 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Sending you and your family lots of love.

  • dervla June 12, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Jenna, i’m thinking of you and want you to know how truly sorry i am for your loss. Your tribute to your brother was wonderful – he is loved.

  • Mefi June 12, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss.

  • Sherrie June 12, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Jenna-
    My deepest condolences for your loss. I understand the pain that comes with losing a loved one. I believe we crossed paths today in Soho. I wanted to run and give you a hug when I recognized you but then quickly realized how uncomfortable and weird that might have been for you.

    My thoughts are with you and your family during this very difficult time.

    Sending my best,

  • ruth June 13, 2014 at 10:29 am

    i’m so sorry for your loss. thinking about you and your family.

  • kim June 16, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your tribute to your brother is moving. It has made me think of my brother in a different light. How much our siblings are part of us, held in our shared childhoods.

  • Gina June 16, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    They say the passing of a sibling is harder than a parent. Parents are older and expected to pass, it’s thought about every so often by every child… but kids never really think of a sibling passing. Siblings are a true witness to your life – they were parented by the same people as you; grew up in the same household circumstances and generational split from your parents. It sounds like you were very close and we wish you all the warmth you need to keep living until it feel authentic again.

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