Letter To My Brother, A Murderer

8655428106_1f26bf2ccb_zToday is your 17th birthday. I can’t believe it. Looking back at old pictures of you as a little boy, your face is just the same. Only now, your eyes are sadder.

I’m sorry I haven’t written you back. I’ve been desperately searching for the right words, but I don’t think they exist. Please forgive me if I say something stupid.

I too wish that we could go back to the day of my wedding and the dance we shared. It is one of my favorite photos. It reminds me of how much fun we used to have when we were younger. Do you remember the songs and poems you used to write and recite for us? Or when you used to try and break dance? You were such a goof, always making us laugh. Your eyes sparkled, your smile beautiful.

I love you so much. I’ve always cared about you so much, worried about you, wanted to help you. Did you know? Did you know that I loved you all this time? It used to hurt me to see your social media posts about how absolutely no one cared about you. Because I did. And I thought I had made that clear. But it always felt like you just wanted to push me away. I felt like I would stick my neck out for you, or try to help you or love you and you didn’t care. Or it didn’t matter. And I wonder now if you even knew. Or if I went about it the wrong way.

I wish you had trusted me enough to let me in. I wish we knew each other better.

I won’t lie to you: I’m angry. I’m beyond angry with you for what you did, what has happened. I’m angry with our parents too, for both what they did and what they didn’t do. I’m mad at myself for not having had the answers to everything, for not knowing how to help or make things better, and for not being a better sister. I won’t be angry at you forever. But I am now.

I wonder if you can have any idea of the ripple effects of the decisions you’ve made. I wonder if you’ll ever fully know. How you affected her family and friends and friends of her family, how you’ve impacted our family and friends. How it’s affected me, my relationship with my husband, my work, how I relate to people in general.

But mostly I wonder why. WHY? Maybe you don’t even know the answer yourself. Maybe why doesn’t even matter. But the question haunts me.

What do you think lead you up to this point? I could certainly make some guesses, but I want to hear what you think. What were the things that lead you here?

No matter what, I am your sister. And I will love you. I hope you know that your life is not over. The life you knew is over, yes. But your life still has purpose, even if most or all of it is lived in prison. So don’t give up.

Happy birthday, baby brother. You’re not alone.

I hope to hear from you.

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Bloody Mess

So there we were. Everything was perfect. Too perfect, maybe?

Do you ever get suspicious when everything seems to be going well? Like at any moment I’m going to rip a deafening fart in front of a lot of people in a quiet room or I’m going to be humming along having a great day and get a TEXT message that says- totally unexpected- “your sister-in-law is dead” (yes, that happened).  I’m always suspicious of any span of time that seems a little too happy-go-lucky. But I think I have justification to be the total paranoid freak that I am.

Anyway – there we were, my husband and I. We were on vacation in Key West, back when we were only dating. We were young, hot, care-free, and enjoying some serious rays out on a motor boat in the ocean. We were on a little parasailing excursion with about 10 other people. It was very relaxing as we waited not too long for our turn to fly. Then, up we went. Oh, this is so fun! Oh, the wind feels so nice! Oh, this is a lot more fun than the last time when I went parasailing and fell through the restraints that hadn’t been properly put on me and was hanging on for dear life!

Then, they reeled us in. They did that fun little thing where they have you float all the way down and hit the water splashing and pop back up before they pull you on board. So we’re dripping wet when we get back on the boat. Oh yeah – important plot point – I was wearing nothing but a tiny white bikini. I had no other clothes with me out on that boat nor a towel. But no biggie, it felt nice – I’ll air dry.

We reclaimed a seat on the padded white cushions along the perimeter of the boat as the next couple got up to fly. As we were instructed, the remaining 8 of us scooch over so that we’re rotating our position allowing for whoever is next to be seated right next to the parasail equipment. As I slid, I noticed something awful.

BLOOD. Whaaaaaaaaaat? I look down, alarmed, and realize that yes, this is my life. My period has begun full force. As I scoot, I’m leaving behind a watery blood puddle on the white cushions from my white bikini for others to scoot onto. Is this a nightmare? Sadly, no. I begin to panic. I look around frantically trying to see if anyone else has noticed my situation. I see some eyes darting away from mine. I’m paranoid. Everyone knows.

It’s time to scooch again. I lean over to my then-boyfriend, and command him to grab the tiny little half-towel that is also WHITE that I spot under someone’s seat across the boat. He gives me a quizzical look – he hasn’t noticed yet. I give him the “don’t ask questions just freaking do it” look and he gets up to grab it. Some more people notice this strange activity as he is likely grabbing a fellow passenger’s teeny towel – was it a freaking wash cloth? So I snatch it out of his hands, ball it up, soak up the existing blood trail, and stick it underneath me. AWKWARD. I’m now straddling this white (ish) towel between my legs outside of my white bikini on my white cushion. And when we scoot, I have to scoot in this very intense, purposeful way so as to not have to move the towel with my hand and bring more attention to it.

I went into this “zone” that didn’t allow me to fully comprehend what was happening – the humiliation- to protect me from imploding. I was focused on getting off that damn boat and on to the bigger sail boat where I had no change of clothes, but at least a normal-sized towel to wrap around my shame.

Finally, it was over. I had to carry my bloody mess of a towel that I STOLE with me off of the boat for all to gawk at. But it was over.

I regaled my cooky coworkers with this story some time after, and they were horrified for me. They said that they really didn’t think the situation could have been any worse than that.

But you know I disagree.

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