Today would have been my little brother's thirty-first birthday, if he had lived past nineteen. It's incredibly hard to write this, I don't know how to say what I need to say, so I'll be blunt: he killed himself. Suicide. What an awful, awful word, to match the act I guess.
After I left home for college, I wasn't great about staying in touch, and I didn't worry too much about him. Despite struggling with dyslexia, he did okay in school, and even though he was chubby and not the most popular kid, he had friends and people liked him. He showed some talent working with his hands, and I always thought he would go into construction or maybe something creative like pottery. It was a shock, needless to say, and there's always the huge, unanswered "Why?" But I think I've come to a sort of understanding over the years. I think about him every day, loving thoughts, but on days like today, and certain other anniversaries, it hurts.
I imagined him married to some quiet, pretty girl, maybe the daughter of a family friend, repairing appliances or running heavy equipment for a living, having a couple of kids and worrying about how he would pay their tuition. I imagined spending the holidays with him, maybe taking vacations together. I always thought that he would be okay, that things would work out, despite knowing that he'd witnessed some terrible things and might have been abused himself. I was wrong. And although when I was young I bravely told myself, "No regrets!" I think they're inevitable. There are just some things you can't avoid and will regret even if you don't want to. I regret that I didn't pay more attention to my little brother when he was growing up, that I didn't recognize the pain he was in, that I didn't do absolutely everything in my power to make sure he made it out of my mother's household safely. I feel I could have protected him, but I didn't.
I love you, Edward, and I miss you. My wish is that where ever you are, you're safe and happy.