I Was A Sister Once:: The Anniversary of My Brother’s Death

People don’t talk much about how you live your life once you lose your sibling. There aren’t books on how to deal with being the one  who had to decide to stop his life support as a freshman in college. I suppose no one wants to talk about that. That is too hard to face. I am still trying to figure out what that is. My brother was life. He walked into a room and people turned their heads. We laughed. We laughed loud and often. Our ragtag family was far from perfect, but we loved each other in a way that always held us together regardless of the storm we faced.














Today is the anniversary of my brother’s death. Some people say death is like a spiral and as you pull away from the center of the experience it gets less and less difficult to deal with. You still deal with it, but they say that the pain comes around less and less often.

Not for me.

When people ask me how many siblings I have, I have a hard time answering. If I explain that I did have two then I have to explain why I don’t anymore. But if I answer that I have one my soul screams out and I feel counterfeit for denying the existence of someone so amazing. Somedays, though… I just don’t want to explain. With the “I did have a brother, but he died” line people want to know why and how. What kind of Leukemia? When did you know? What all happened? Then there are times that I do feel like sharing and people don’t really know how to react or look at me after the fact. I walk away feeling like I just vomited on the floor in front of them and now we are all walking around it trying hard to pretend it never happened.

I have experienced so much in my short life that sometimes my stories seem so unbelievable, even to me.

Today I have deep sadness that resonates from my chest. I miss my brother. I sometimes feel angry at my son for not letting me forget him. My son’s smile and his hand gestures stun me at times. I stand transfixed and quiet for a moment. Isaiah, my son, skips off to play completely clueless that he has just motioned with his hands in the exact way his Uncle Isaiah used to. I hold the dish towel close to my heart and tense all my muscles in an effort not to lose it. For tiny moments I feel like am in Isaiah’s (my brother) presence in the form of my son. Or when I hold my son’s hand. Even his finger nails are the chewed and stubby replicas of my brother’s hands.These moments are soothing and painful in the most confusing kind of juxtaposition. I feel superstitious and nescient in these moments. I know he is gone.


But sometimes my mind and heart want desperately to believe he has left parts of himself in places.

My brother


My son










Today I am writing this and crying. I don’t know how to say I used to be a sister. I don’t know how to make peace with something that seems so wrong. Losing Isaiah was never supposed to happen. Not that  way.  Today I am trying hard to inhale deeply and find some measure of grace. It is okay to cry today. It is okay to cry today. It is okay to cry.

Because he is gone.


  1. Oh Jasmine… ::sigh:: I’m sending you love, prayers, and memories of your brother that will warm your soul. I know we talked about this at NonCon, and how I loved hearing your thoughts because my son will one day be an adult, wondering how his life would be different with his brother that he never knew. I adore you…

  2. On November 8 of this year, we will remember the seventh anniversary of the day my brother was killed in an auto accident. I know and feel your pain. It is a hurt you never get over and it hits you smack in the face when you least expect it. I’ll be praying for you today.

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ll be thinking of you & sending all sorts of love your way today.

  4. If I had a big enough car I would drive over there and give you a big hug.
    It is ok to cry.
    I love you.

  5. Oh sweet friend. Sending love to you. Thanks for sharing those pictures. They are treasures. Allow yourself time and space to cry. XO

  6. It is absolutely OK to cry. And to share and to not know exactly what it is you’re sharing or experiencing. And you ARE still a sister, as long as he is in your memory. Take care of yourself!

  7. Wow, I have the same feelings when someone asks about my brothers. I have begin saying “I grew up with 3 brothers”, instead is saying “I had 3, but now I have 2″. Too many questions and I don’t like the answers I have to give to those questions. It’s good you still see him in your little one, it helps to never forgot those tiny little details :). I’d hug ya if I could!

    • Thanks Wop. I am so sorry for your loss, also I think you are amazing.

  8. Thoughts with you today…and yes you are a sister and always will be.I do believe pieces of Isaiah are with us so that we can be comforted in some way and because he was such a good brother son and friend I love you very much.

  9. Squeeze your brother’s sweet nephew extra hard today. Sending love and thoughts your way.

  10. You’re STILL a sister. You can’t hold him in your arms anymore, but you’re still holding him in your heart. xoxo

  11. Having a little brother myself, knowing the pain you must be dealing with is hard for me to even process. Sending thoughts of love and strength your way.

      • Whenever I read your blog, my heart beats harder and my chest tightens. While I have not experienced the loss of a sibling and the vast emptiness it must leave, I can hurt for you and pray that you will feel that presence. You are an amazing woman, mother, wife, writer AND sister. Hold baby Isaiah’s had a little tighter today.

  12. Jasmine I am closing my eyes and sending you love, hugs and calming vibes!

  13. Piercing words, Jasmine. You are such a terrific writer; we can nearly FEEL what you are feeling. Well, of course not really, but it’s a beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing it. So sorry for your continued loss.

  14. I am sorry and sad to hear of your brother’s loss.

  15. Oh, Jazz. I came over here for something related to work and you’ve made me cry {again}. :) I don’t pretend to know your beliefs but I believe with all my heart that there are pieces of your brother still with you – in your son, in your memories, in the little things that stop your heart and remind you of him, IN YOU. It is 100% ok to cry. Never let anyone tell you different.

    • Thanks Jodi, you are so kind and open. I really appreciate knowing you.

Leave a comment get a hug!