An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, September 2012

Dear Connor,

Today is one of the few days of the year for which I cry hardest over you, and it amazes me that it has only been four years since I came home and found you dead.

You surprised us all on that one. No warning, no note… Not even one of your emotion graphs? Damn.

Watching Mom and Dad cry every morning of my senior year before I went to school – the same school of kids you’d apparently rather be dead than face every day – was almost as traumatic as trying to breathe air into your lifeless, bluing, damp body while Mom wailed uncontrollably outside.

I’m sorry you were only able to cope with the first thirteen years of your life, despite Mom and Dad’s best efforts. I’m also sorry that the suicide prevention bandwagon focuses solely on LGBT folk, war veterans, and depressed college kids. Even in death, you’re still being ostracized for not fitting the norm. But, I’m most sorry that your peers – the same kids who will never know or care how greatly they hurt you and our forever-scarred family – felt the need to publicly alienate you on a daily basis to feel better about themselves. Most of us spend those schooling years trying to find our place within the cruel, unbalanced, and superficial social hierarchy instead of learning to know and like ourselves and challenging dumb social norms.

It’s a lie, by the way. No one had their shit together; they just faked it better than you did. Turns out there’s a lot of power to be had in fitting whatever is deemed normal.

We found the Back to School Night information sheet (dated for the day after you died) in your backpack. Mom and Dad would not have been upset with your geometry marks. Geometry’s hard, even for a kid teaching himself calculus on the side.

And that time you cried in Latin class during your presentation? Your teacher was a douchebag and had no right to publicly humiliate you. She should have known better.

And that math placement test you took? You were only supposed to get a few correct to get into the club, not the entire page. The asshat proctors should have told you that and spared you a nervous breakdown.

And that time you got in-school suspension for getting beaten up in seventh grade? F**k “Zero Tolerance”, and f**k the public school system. We can only hope that kid gets a raging venereal disease. Same to the soulless administrators who allowed a gym of more than 60 kids go unattended that afternoon.

Growing up is difficult. Nobody tells you everything, and it probably wouldn’t make a difference at the time if they did.

Believe it or not, I miss having you around back home. I don’t believe in an afterlife, but I find solace in knowing that you’re no longer suffering.

Love, your sister.

P.S. — Thanks for not hauntingly tossing all the clothes I stowed in your room over the summer into my toilet like you always said you’d do. I owe you one, kid.

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