To Anyone Hesitant to Share Photos of My Brother After His Suicide


“Really missing this guy. Not meant to bring anyone down. Just feels better to remember him with others and not alone.” — a photo post on July 4, 2016, from one of my brother’s best friends

author's brother in a photo with his friend on the subway
Dave’s friend gave the perfect caption for this photo of my brother (left): “DL leading the way.”

I certainly don’t wish to speak for everyone who has lost someone to suicide — or in any other way, for that matter.

But as far as I’m concerned, keep the memories and the photos coming!

There is no better feeling than scrolling through Facebook and seeing an unexpected photo of my brother in my newsfeed. It’s happened twice this week — friends have posted pictures of Dave from happier times, and it has made my heart soar to see his face and realize others miss him too.

Does it cause my heart to ache to have these memories surface? Of course. But it was aching anyway.

Far better, in my book, to share our ongoing love for a man who made our lives ever so much richer than to pretend he was never there.

Since losing my brother to suicide in January and my mother-in-law to cancer in June, some have asked me if it hurts too much to talk about them. Short answer: Yes and no. But mostly no. It’s far more painful for me to think — but never speak — of those I’ve loved and lost.

Others just seem uncomfortable at the mention of their names. That hurts more — feeling like talking about my brother is somehow a burden to those around me. It makes me feel beyond insensitive for all the times I reacted in the same way to a friend’s loss, before I truly understood.

There is no guidebook for helping a friend or loved one through the death of someone special. I sadly have experience in the subject, but by no means claim to be an expert.

But here is my advice, for what it’s worth: If you have a memory, a photo, or just a kind word to share — do it! It may take time for the family to respond, but there is no doubt they will take comfort in knowing you remember and care.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. 

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255


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