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My big brother.


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a little over a year ago my brother died in a car crash at 21, I was 19. I was out at a drag club that night and spent the night at my girlfriends. I remember around 1am I got this really bad feeling in my gut like something bad had happened but my girlfriend and friends assured me it was just nerves and gave me some whiskey. When I woke up at 6am to a phone call from my mom crying telling me to come home I was still intoxicated. I stumbled around trying to find my keys but couldn’t so my girlfriend drove me. The first thing I saw was the sheriffs car parked at my apartment complex and I knew it was something to do with my brother but I couldn’t imagine that I would walk in and be told he’s dead. I was really confused and entered into a state of dissosciation. I had only been dating my girlfriend for a month but she stayed by my side and held me through all of it. I kept thinking how glad I was that she was here to take care of me because I didn’t want to burden my parents with my grief because I knew they were hurting themselves. My girlfriend wasn’t a blessing though, she was quite he opposite. She took advantage of my emotional state and the relationship took a turn to being very abusive and manipulative. This went on for around 7 months and we lived together after my brother died so I was so far in it that I didn’t even realize how abusive it was. This was a distraction from the loss of my brother, I didn’t mourn him very much at all because she had a psychotic break and I was concerned with taking care of her. I ended the relationship after my mom saw how abusive it was and talked to me about it. She continues to harass and stalk me now 9 months later and I developed ptsd from the entire string of events. But during all of this I didn’t really have time to mourn my brother, I would have nightmare that I was in the car with him when he crashed and would wake up and immediately self medicate to numb the feelings of terror. Recently, about a week ago I was in class and found his obituary wedged in my notebook and since then I’ve been missing him more than ever. I keep thinking about how I’m about to turn 21, the same age he was when he died. Aging without him is a discomforting feeling. I’m an only child now besides older step siblings that are new to both sides of my family. Me and my brother were very close and loved a lot of the same things (nature, video games, music). My brother was a musician, as am I, but I never got serious about it like he did until he died. Now I find myself playing guitar all the time on his old electric as a wordless tribute. 

I recently moved for school to a place my brother and I always wanted to go. Being here has been wonderful but also incredible difficult. I’ve been hiking trails alone trying to find way to feel closer to him, like he’s still here.

What is hard for me is that I don’t believe in god or angels, I went to christian school I learned all about spirituality but that’s not what I believe. It feels very lonely sitting in a room with family who say things like “I know he’s watching over us in heaven” it makes me mad that I can’t belive that. I keep wishing I could believe because it would be so much easier but logically I just can’t. To me Dead is Dead. I believe his energy is within me but he isn’t here anymore, and he never will be. I miss him more than words can express and I don’t really talk about it with anyone, especially after getting out of the abusive relationship. I apologize if this is written with grammatical errors in an unorganized fashion, but I just had to tell my story somewhere. I’m tired of feeling alone in my pain.  

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Dear Emeek,

I'm so sorry that you're struggling.  For what it's worth, you are not alone in your pain.  I lost my only sibling/younger sister/best friend, too, and it hurts.  Badly.  It's been almost 18 years since she passed and, still, I see little things that remind me of her and I feel the intense sadness and physical pain across my chest all over again.  I was also raised Christian and am envious of people who can comfort themselves by the idea that their loved one is in heaven.  A reverend came to talk to me about God when Liz was sick and I told him that I don't believe in God but that if He does exist, he's definitely male and a sadistic asshole and I hate him.  I seriously meant it when I said it.   I'm an atheist now, partly because no loving God would let a child suffer like that, and partly because I'm scientific so I want proof and there is none.  I'm more of the mind, "Ashes to ashes and dust to dust."  I keep my sister's ashes in a jar.

What helps me is to imagine that my sister lives on through me.  Like I hold her essence in my heart.  To quote some cheesy pop music, the second time that you die is the last time that somebody mentions your name.  Forever and always, I will hold her in my heart and mention her name at every opportunity.  Those memories are filled with emotion, and often those emotions hurt, but I would never give up this pain because it reminds me of the loving and trusting relationship that I once had and gives me hope that I will build more and more loving relationships with people I have yet to meet.

I hope that you, too, can find comfort in knowing that you are not alone.



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