Coinciding with the July 2012 Ultimate Blog Challenge, I have decided to also participate in the 30 Day Letter Challenge in which I will write 30 letters to various folks who have touched my life directly as well as inadvertently. The letter for Day Four is to be written to my sibling. Today’s letter is to my brother Kevin. We lost him to suicide on October 24, 1998.
To my “big” little brother Kevin,
There are no words to describe how angry I was with you. How could you possibly have found a reason to leave this life and all of us who love you so much? How could you not have come to me with whatever was hurting you so badly?
It has now been 13 years and eight months since you died, and my anger has worn itself out. These days when I think about you my feelings are more mixed up. I am comforted thinking of our happy memories and so regretful over the happy memories we will not make. There was so much we didn’t say and do and no way to say or do them now.
I wish you were here to share all the news with me. Did you know that our cousin Kerrie got married last month? She married Brad; you probably remember him from trips to Mexico with the family. She looked so beautiful and the photographers got some great photos of the Cleveland family. There was a big gaping hole where you should have been. Did you know that Dad got his ears pierced? Crazy, I know! You know how he’d wanted to do that forever. Did you know that mom got her PhD? All those years of having us playing in the back of her college lecture halls led to her success. You would have been so proud to see her get that diploma.
I miss you now most in the little ways. When I go shopping I want you and your honest opinion in the dressing room with me. You would have been able to help mom when she picked out my dress for Kerrie’s wedding, but I think you would have approved of what we got. When dad and I are out to dinner at the brewery I want you and your laugh there too. We’ve tried a hundred different microbrews that you would have loved. I wonder who your favorite baseball team would have been, although I suspect it would be the Diamondbacks since you’re an Arizona boy. Most of all I miss you when we are in Rocky Point. Those are some of my favorite memories of you and I know how much you loved it there. It breaks my heart to know that you will never sit on that beach with a Corona again. It’s such a shame.
If I stop being selfish and think of the bright side of things, I know that you don’t hurt anymore. This world can be so tough to manage and there are so many things that have the ability to bring you down. God knows I’ve been there. I know that you don’t fight any more internal battles or feel alone. I know that your bright eyes and beautiful smile live on. I don’t know if there’s a heaven or if I will ever see you again, but I do have hopes.
Losing you to suicide was the hardest thing I have ever experienced, but I am trying to make the best of what has happened. I am serving on the board of the Arizona chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and have walked two half-marathons to raise money for the EMPACT Survivors of Suicide group that helped support us in those early days after we lost you. It is my wish that nobody ever feel the pain of losing a loved one to suicide.
I miss you every day, and some days are much harder than others. Now that so many years have passed there are fewer people in my life who had the pleasure of knowing you. When I meet new people and they become an important part of my life I tell them about you and how wonderfully kind you were. Those friends who knew you still send our family notes and good wishes on your birthday. (Just so you know, I always have Chinese food on your birthday and order you an extra fortune cookie. I even add “in bed” to the fortune, although yours always come out so much funnier than mine do).
I wish for you nothing but peace, and I wish for me nothing more than to have you by my side. Since you cannot physically be here, I am counting on the fact that you are still with me in spirit.
I love you very, very much.