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Getting Through : In Remembrance

Farewell to a brother

from sarafina - Thursday, January 22, 2004
accessed 2413 times

As some of you may know my 17 yr old brother took his life November 16, 2003. He was a bit of a troubled kid and had been in and out of foster homes and was a ward of the state for the last three yrs till he ran away to CA. My Dad helped me get custody of him. He was living with me in CA and going to school till he decided he wanted to join the Army and be a soldier he thought this would be the only way he could win back the respect of our family (which is a very hard thing to do). he was just 17 and wasn't old enough to join in CA so he went back home to Duluth,MN where you can join w/parental permission at 17. He was working on taking the examines and had already passed his physical to join when one night changed all our lives forever.

I just wanted to say goodbye, say a few things on how I feel about what happened and dedicate a few songs to him.

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect.

Dear Jeremy,

It is only now that I dare to try and write about you. My hands tremble as I type with the thought of having to think about you once again. Not that I want to forget you but I have not felt strong enough to face you and what has happened. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I tell myself your not really gone just on a trip or back at home visiting our parents. I look at myself though and what is becoming of me by not facing the reality of it all. I just barely survive by keeping myself busy and surrounding myself with friends or chatting endlessly on line with anyone that will keep my mind distracted but at night if alone when thereís no escape I drink myself to sleep scared to face the night and the continual nightmares that haunt me like a broken record repeating every possible scenario of what happened that night. The want to know all that was said to you and to think of you standing in the snow alone contemplating your lifeís value with the opportunity given you to escape it all I sometimes wonder had the circumstances been the same if I would have made the same choice. I want to know what went threw your head that last moment when you pulled the trigger. It angers me that you felt as if you had no out no alternative as you know I was always just a phone call away. Iím also angry that you broke the pact you made with Heather and I.

I remember the last day you left my house just after hearing about our nephew Geneís passing and how you had to get on that bus the next day for a 28 hr ride to Dallas how hard it must have been for you to be left alone with your thoughts I thought you to be such a strong person for being able to do that. None of us ever had lost anyone before and had ever known death. Once it happens to you youíre never quite the same, itís an indescribable feeling. Worse then falling in love and being heartbroken cause there is no stronger feeling of love I realized then that I have for my brothers and sisters. To lose you was the hardest thing so far in my life. I can never explain the initial pain I felt when I heard. Itís like a iron fist clenching your heart and choking the breath from you and then not wanting to take the next.

Right now I canít even say Iím sad for you although there are times I feel I could drown in my tears. In fact I think Iím more sad for myself in truth I think your lucky and I envey you, just like in all you did in life you truly had no fear. Iím still so full of anger and hatred toward so many people because I know you did not truly want this. I know you only did it cause you loved us all and you did not want to hurt any of us any more. Few people would have done that for their family. I want you to know that I am just as proud of you now as I was before. I donít care what people say I know you and why you did what you did. It was the only way you knew to help our messed up family. Knowing you I know you truly thought about what was said. No one should ever be asked that. I wonder what we all would do having been asked toď Think about your life, do you want help? do you want to change and contribute and be part of this family? Or not? will you continue hurting those around you and be a burden? If so then why not just end it all now?Ē And then to do just that. You knew as well as I did that no matter how hard you try to be someone else or to be what others want you to be is just impossible. I think you explained it well in one of the songs you wanted to be played ..

My mind takes you to where you want to be.
Cure for your heartbreak to take away the pain
I could describe each mistake for you,
Tattooed on my tainted heart.

Can you still feel me or did I slip away
A sick man still broken today
I canít explain what happens to me
Caught in the game I always start
I could describe each mistake for you
Tattoo it on my tainted heart
Well I wonít ever change my ways
And I canít be strong
In a place I donít belong
And itís my own shame
I canít break away
Well I wonít ever change my ways

There was a time in my life when I was the same as you the only way I felt I could truly help was to leave you all so I moved. I was to chicken to make it permanent like you did. Just like you to always take everything as far as you could. I only wish I could have been there next to you, to stand by your side to have held you hand when you fell so that you could have been next to someone you knew loved you for who you were and who understood what you were doing. Iím glad you waited for Heather and I to say goodbye. I know how painful those last two days were and I know you just wanted to leave but it meant a lot that you waited and hung on till we could talk to you and kissed you goodbye. Iím sorry it took us so long to get there but we did as fast as we could. What I would give to hold you in my arms once again but not as you were that day but as I remember you. I didnít want to put you down as I knew the moment I did they would take you away for the last time and forever.

This song will always remind me of you Jer and I know we both loved this song its pretty much our story.

On a cobweb afternoon
No room for love and emptiness
By a freeway, I confess I was lost in the pages
Of a book, Full of death
Reading how we will die alone
And if we are good weíll lay to rest
Anywhere we want to go?
In your house, I long to be
Room by room, Patiently
Iíll wait for you there
Like a stone
Iíll wait for you there alone.

And on my death bead I will ďprayĒ
To the gods and the angels
To ANYONE who will take me to heaven
To a Place, I would recall
I was there so long ago
The sky was bruised
The wine was bled
And there you lead me on

And on I read, Till the day was gone
And I sat in regret, for all the things Iíve done
For all that was blessed and for all that Iíve wronged
In dreams till my death
I still wonder on.

In your house, I long to be
Room by room, patiently
Iíll wait for you there
Like a stone
Iíll wait for you there Alone, alone..

All those talks we had about ďlifeĒ and ďGodĒ and after life you now know all the answers to. You were never one to just accept things you always had to knowÖ.now you do.

I one read something that stuck out to me it said ďFaith is for those who wonít or canít handle the reality of lifeĒ People need something to escape to, they need the hope of ďsomething moreĒ a ďplanĒ an ďafter lifeĒ a ďreasonĒ Well you know. they need to WAKE UP sometimes there isnít one. There is no reason why things happen ..not always. I personally choose not to live in LA LA land where one day in the feature ď we will see them again , everything will be fineĒ I choose to live in the now, where life is unpredictable, nothing is ďsome GREAT planĒ I think everything you do matters, everyone you talk to you effect. Life is precious and short. I try to live each day as my last. Do as much as I can, Help as many as I can, and love each person I know as much as I can. Iím not counting on something that may not be there, but if it is well that will be an extra benefit. I think the problem with this world is to many people think ďthere will be a second chance, if I donít say something now or do something now , Iíll do it later or next time around and if I do something wrong or bad, I can always repent or be forgivenĒ Or when things happen or people die I think they are rob of feelings or love or sadness buy us thinking ďwell they are on to a better lifeĒ or ďIíll see them again in heaven or the after lifeĒ Itís selfish cause we only do it to help us cope and deal with their lost, by not wanting to face the reality they are gone and we may never see them again. You always thought a lot like me as you said similar things after Genes death.

I like to dedicate one of your favorite songs to you by Filter ďHey Man Nice ShotĒ As I'm proud of you standing up to everyone and to the world and not letting them shove it in your face any more.

I wish I would have met you
Now itís a little late
What you have taught me
I could have saved some face
They think that youíre early ending
Was all wrong
For the most part theyíre right
But look how they all got strong
Thatís why I say hey man nice shot
What a good shot man

Now that the smokes gone
And the air is clear
Those who were right there
Got a new kind of fear
Youíd fight and you were right
But they were just too strong
Theyíd stick it in your face
And let you know what THEY considered wrong
Thatís why I say hey man nice shot
What a good shot man.

In all Jer Iím happy for you. You have found peace far away from this life we are faced with. Iím glad at least I did for you what I could even though it wasnít much. I know during the time you spent with me that you at least felt there someone truly loved you. I was able to be your sister and your parent for a brief time in your life. Iím flattered that you thought I did well at both. Iím at least happy that I can say I have no regrets with you when it came time, as I truly believe in my heart I was one of the few people who stood up for you and fought for you and loved you and understood you. I feel mostly for those who turned you away, put you down and wouldnít take you in their home for fear you would mess up their ďperfect livesĒ They will have to live with that though wonít they? If only they could see what I saw in you. You were so talented. You could do anything you wanted . You played basket ball, You could draw amazingly so artistic! Oh and your songs I was always amazed at the way you could just adlib. Iíll never forget the time we watched the movie 8 miles and at the end they are showing all those clips of the rappers free styling and you were like ďwell itís really not hardĒ and you told me to pick a subject any subject and you proceeded to go off ! I couldnít believe how talented you were! I still want to know where you hid your song book and poetry book no one seems to know what happened to it. Then acting! Wow I still have that front page review you got of that movie you were in, even if it was just a small film you got the leading role! What a great review! Such potential you had if only..ahhh see I do have some regrets ..that I had time to enroll you in acting school .

Well Iím carrying on. No use now really. I really need to move on though as hard as it is. What Iím trying to say Jer is that I Love you, and Miss you greatly. I donít even know if you are there or not so maybe this is mostly for me. I havenít really had someone to talk to about all this as Iíve had to be strong for our family, friends and for our sis. I feel Iíve already lived a thousand lives and counting by every story of a lost that I have heard at least now I think I can understand my friends more and what they have gone threw as Iím not alone. If I never see you again Iím glad to have known you and to have you as a brother. If there is the possibility of seeing you again well..I would love that. I know this will be a long journey ahead and a ache in my heart for you that will be there for a long time to come but Iím trying to let it all go as you did. For now I have to leave you with a final song for you and for me in the different lives we now live.

Everyday is a new day
Iím thankful for every breath I take
I wonít take it for granted
So I learn from my mistakes
Itís beyond my control, sometimes its best to just let go
Whatever happens in this lifetime
So I trust in love
You have given me peace of mind

Sunshine upon my face
A new song for me to sing
Tell the world what I feel inside
Even though it cost me everything
Now that I know this, so beyond I canít hold this
I can never turn my back away
Now that Iíve seen you
I can never look away

I feel so alive, for the very first time
I canít deny you
I feel so alive, for the very first time
And I think I can fly
I feel so alive!

By Jermey

Reader's comments on this article

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from Oddman
Friday, November 17, 2006 - 17:57

I feel there is really nothing I can say that won't sound shallow or pointless. I never knew you or your brother, so I dare not claim to understand. I'm trying to say something but lost in all the letters and words in my mind, all I can think of is "I lost a sister too". Not in a bad way, it's just I feel like I share a little bit of what you are feeling. Like a guitar in front of an amp, I just felt an emotional vibration. It brought my sister back for a moment. My best wishes to you and all of your loved ones. May none cry these same tears again.
(reply to this comment)
From sarafina
Friday, November 17, 2006, 18:28

Thank you for your kinds words Oddman, Iím sorry to hear you lost your sister, . In truth I donít think there is a ďbad ď or ďgoodĒ way to go, going on your own terms seems a little better to me sometimes then a sudden death not of your choosing cause at least that way you are ready. Either way, Iím sure you do understand as I have lost my brother one way and my 8 yr old nephew was hit by a car, each carried similar feelings as Iím sure you feel for your sister. Itís nice to know others care and understand. (reply to this comment
from Samuel
Friday, November 17, 2006 - 17:46


Sarah, that was great. You should be a poet.

It's really sad to hear about what happened to your brother but now I think I understand why you're so strong. The memory of your brother gives you the drive to keep going and do what you know needs to be done.

I must say I especially liked the part in the middle of the poem when you wrote about life and God and after life, he knows all the answers now. I said something similar to Lauren the other day. That's the truth, we don't know what happens in the afterlife. I can only count on what I believe. Jeremy knows, Ricky knows, Danny knows. For us, it's a mystery.

Thinking of you, and wishing you peace.


(reply to this comment)

From sarafina
Friday, November 17, 2006, 18:39

Yes it has made me stronger and more determined not to allow it to happen again if there is anything that can be done, the problem is you just never know the future you just do what you can and hopefully you live without regrets.

The song you liked is called ďLike a StoneĒ by Audio Slave; I think youíd like them. The other song is ďDonít belongĒ by Cold might give them a try too. I wish I was a poet but am not very good so I use others to express my feelings.(reply to this comment
From Samuel
Friday, November 17, 2006, 19:03


There is nothing wrong with that, we can't all be great writers.

What was the name of that Metallica song they played at Ricky's Memorial? It sounded interesting, I'd like to listen to it. I only remember the end "So I dub thee unforgiven". So fitting for Maria and Peter. But on the other side of the coin, I don't really think they want our forgiveness so it's all good.

It's funny how the things that hurt the most are what makes us stronger.

(reply to this comment

From sarafina
Friday, November 17, 2006, 19:45

It's called "Unforgiven" He had asked for it to be played in the event of his death, it was one of his favorites, beautiful song. I'll always think of him when I hear it.(reply to this comment
From Samuel
Friday, November 17, 2006, 17:54

There I go, sticking my foot in my mouth again. Sorry, I didn't realize those were songs that someone else had written. I love poetry and songs, so I went for them first, and went back to read the rest.(reply to this comment
from sarafina
Friday, November 17, 2006 - 09:38

Well Jer, another year has passed since youíve been gone. I went over to see Heather last night (which we always do on your anniversary). On the way there one of your favorite songs came on by Filter ďHey Man Nice ShotĒ and I cried and laughed the whole way there remembering all the things we went through together. A day doesnít go by that you donít still pop into my mind and I wish we could turn back the hands of time and have you back.

I donít know what I wish for you when I think about where you are or could be, sometimes I want to believe there could be another place where youíll be waiting for us and other times I think like Ricky and just hope when you die itís all over once an for all. I miss you so much, and canít seem to get over how final your leaving was.

I love you so much, Love your big sister
(reply to this comment)
from sarafina
Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 09:49

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Dear Jeremy,

Itís been one year today that youíve been gone. Though the time has past it does not change the feeling of sadness I have whenever I try to understand that I will never see you again. Ever holiday or family gathering only reminds me that you are missing from our family. Last year was a horrible year for all of us but I can at least say we are all doing better now. I dare not jinx things but I have the feeling that we all might make it after all which I know was your wish. Thanks for all you have done. I love you dearly.

As I remember my brother today I also think about all of you who also have lost someone close and am saddened by so many lost. I hope you are doing well and find the strength to survive so that not all is in vain.
(reply to this comment)
From xhrisl
Tuesday, November 16, 2004, 23:47


My thoughts are with you, good friend.

(reply to this comment

From afflick
Friday, November 17, 2006, 16:03


Jeremy: You were a small child when I saw you last, still a child when you left.
For The Anniversary Of My Death

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveller
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what

W.S. Merwin (reply to this comment

from Nique
Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 16:02

Sarah, I just want you to know that you, Anaik, Angie, Chris, and Heather, especially, are all in my thoughts in this very difficult time as you continue to cope with this horrible tragedy. Your entire family means a lot to me and I can't even imagine the pain you must be feeling. I am so sorry for your loss. Above all else, I wish you peace. I hope this new year will be a time of recuperation and happier times ahead. Please let me know if there is ever anything I can do for you. Take Care, Dominique
(reply to this comment)
from frmrjoyish
Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 15:41


That was beautiful, Sara! It's amazing to see what an incredible woman you've become. From when we were kids playing in the sand in Hawaii, to goofing off in the PI, to more goofing off in Japan, to young women trying to cope and make it as adults in a strange new world, the changes in you are remarkable.

You have every reason to be proud of the life you made for your brother. You took on a responsiblity that was not yours and made life a little better for him. I admire you for that. Your love and concern for others over yourself is amazing. I'll never forget last thanksgiving when you called, you were more concerned about ruining my thanksgiving with the news than you were for yourself. I just want to let you know that even though we don't talk as much as I'd like, my thoughts are with you and your family in this difficult time.
(reply to this comment)

from Sonderval
Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 04:50


At times like this I always feel tongue tied, I always feel there's nothing I can say that will not be trite and meaningless, I just want you to know that I know some of what you're going through and my heart goes out to you and your family.


(reply to this comment)

from Nancy
Saturday, January 24, 2004 - 11:32

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

"...thoughts that lie too deep for human tears."

Sending you sympathy and love, Sarafina.
(reply to this comment)

from jo
Saturday, January 24, 2004 - 11:08


Dear Sarafina,

I can relate a lot to the things you said about what it's like to lose someone you love. One of my best friends died shortly before Christmas and I feel like my heart has been ripped out, there's such a void and suddenly the meaningless of life comes to the fore.

It was the 19th of December, the last day of term and I got a call from him at 2.15 he had just handed in his last piece of course work and we were gonna meet up for some lunch. I had just popped home to drop of some christmas shopping and met him half an hour later. We had lunch and then went for a few drinks, like you do, we discussed our plans for the future, we're only a few months away from graduation, so you know what's next - travelling, working, a Masters degree all that kinda stuff.

He had planned an xmas party at his house that night (there are six of them that share a student house, all on the same course as me) and we both went home to shower/change and meet up later. I went to my 'work do' first and acquired a pair of angel wings and a halo from someone who was going home. By the time I got the party it was already in full swing and I remember putting the halo on his head, we were all just joking and having a laugh. I left fairly early and according to his house mates he retired for the night not long after.

The next morning at about 11.00 I got a phone call from another friend saying that he had been found lifeless in bathroom earlier that morning. The police arrived and of course there were many questions as to the nature of the party and all that, they did tests on him and they all came up negative, so we were just left will many questions.

Nothing makes any sense to me and I go between feelings of sorrow, anger and numbness. You know how you can almost 'feel' a person enter the room before you see them? Well, I close my eyes sometimes and I know I can still feel him there. I don't believe in heaven as such, and as for religion, my personal belief is that apart from social control and perhaps shaping cultures (for better or worse) it's redundant. In a way it doesn't really help that I think I can feel him still there, I want him here, I miss him!

There are some people that you meet in your life that have a profound affect on you, you can connect with them and it all happens so naturally, the type of people that make the same random purchases as you at the same time whilst being many miles away. People who understand the way you think. We used to hang out in coffee shops discussing postmodernism, marxism and pretend to be art critiques, stuff that other people might find dry and dull we shared a passion for. I'd give him advice about his girlfriend and he would listen to me ramble on, as I do.

I just can't believe he's gone, or don't want to believe it, I don't know which one. Like you said, I keep thinking he's just away and he'll be back soon.

There were five of us that attended the funeral near his home in Norway. I remember watching the coffin being lowered and throwing in my rose, as I stood there I kept trying to say goodbye and I couldn't, I didn't want to say goodbye and I still don't. I don't know what happens when we die, deep down I know I'll never see him again, so I guess feeling his presence is the most I can hope for. The only thing I know for certain is that I miss him, so much. I drink and I don't get drunk, I close my eyes and I don't sleep, I eat although I'm not hungry, or forget to eat for days. I feel like my body is going through the motions, I take the kids to school, pick them up, and read to them and all the rest. I guess they're the only thing in my life that still gives me a purpose.

I find myself thinking a lot about what really matters to me, my friends, my family, those I really care about. I want to let all the people in my life that I care about know how much they mean to me and not waste time on those that don't. It's put a lot of things into perspective for me.

I guess when you hear about someone who lost a person they cared about in some far away place you feel for them, but when it happens to you, you wonder how you can ever go on.

I could never pretend to understand what you're going through, you've lost your baby brother and I can only imagine the grief you must be feeling. I only hope that with time the pain will lessen and that you will find strength to get through this difficult time.

Take care,

(reply to this comment)

from xhrisl
Saturday, January 24, 2004 - 06:21


Dear Sarafina,

I know how tough this is for you Sarafina, if there is anything I can do please let me know, there is nothing else I can say that would not seem trite, but if you need someone to listen I'm here.
(reply to this comment)

from Mydestinyismine
Saturday, January 24, 2004 - 01:41


The love you have for your brother is amazing. That age is tough and suicide was on my mind alot and I'm sure the same for alot of you at that age. I don't know him or anything about him, but our upbringing was probably the same. And it hurts when knowing that he could of been alot more had he been given a normal life. I'm sorry for your loss and that of your family and his friends.

(reply to this comment)

from Bella
Friday, January 23, 2004 - 23:41

Oh Sarah, I'm so sorry for your loss. I really do not know what to say but I just wanted to let you know that I'm terribly sorry about what happened to your brother and family. I know you were so close to him and that you are going through hell right now. Please feel free to call me or write me if you need someone to talk to. OK? Hang in there.
(reply to this comment)
From afflick
Tuesday, January 27, 2004, 18:44

I remember Jeremy as a small boy in Chicago, full of mischief and life. So sad.(reply to this comment

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