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To My Brother: If I Could See You Again, What Would I Say?

Since losing you, my 16-year-old brother, all I think about is how badly I want to see you again. I think about what I would do or give just to have five minutes with you again. But if miraculously I was to see you again, what would I actually say to you?

Firstly, I’d tell you how much we all miss you. I’d tell you about the big, aching hole in our family now that you’re gone. I’d tell you I know you wouldn’t want us to cry or hurt, but we do. So much. I’d tell you nothing could ever come close to the happiness we would feel if we were somehow able to turn back time and stop that car from hitting you. No amount of money, success or dreams coming true would even compare to the miracle of having you back with us where you belong. I’d tell you nothing is the same without you; how could it ever be?

I’d tell you how proud we all are of you. You were growing up to become such a kind, hard-working and beautiful young man. I’d go on to tell you we were all so sure you’d go on to do great things. Maybe your YouTube channel would’ve made it big and you’d be making people laugh and smile all over the world, just like you made us do every single day. I’d tell you we miss your smile just as much as we miss you making us laugh. I’d tell you there is not a single thing about you we would change. I’d tell you we are all so immensely grateful for being able to have you in our lives, even though it was for such an unfairly painful short amount of time.

I’d let you know your memory will never, ever fade. Even though we’ve moved house, you still have your own room. It’s filled with your belongings, bedding and a wardrobe full of clothes that instantly smells of you when we open it. You are everywhere. You’re in the rings we wear containing your ashes. You’re in the tattoos we got so proudly. And you’re in so many photos and conversations. Although we physically have to live without you, that will never actually be the case. You will live with us no matter what.

Then I’d ask if you are OK. Are you somewhere with Grandad? Are you around us all of the time? Do you even realize you’ve gone or are you just as shocked as we are? I’d tell you that although I can never know for sure, I feel you with me sometimes. Like when I’m getting upset or anxious and “Pass Out” comes on the radio station I’m listening to. Or when the pain starts to squeeze and rinse my heart until it feels like there’s nothing left anymore, and I can practically hear your voice asking, “What’s up with Fart?” somehow getting me through the day.

I’d make sure you know I’m doing all I can for Mum. How could she ever be the same again now that one half of her world has been taken from her? But I’m doing everything in my power to make sure I, the other half, keep her going. Seeing her pain only multiplies my own even more, but I try to keep her laughing, and I make sure she knows how much I love her every single day.

I’d want you to know I’m trying. I’m trying to live, for you. I’m trying to live for Mum, and all the family who I know would hurt even more (which seems unimaginable) if I was to go, too. I’m trying to resist the thoughts that come into my mind. I’m trying to fight my own head and get through another 10 minutes, another hour, and eventually another day for you. I’ve tried to get that old version of myself back — the happy, motivated and fun version you would probably refuse to admit just how much you loved deep down. But I’m failing. So instead, I’m trying to understand this new version of myself. The version of myself without you. I am trying every second, I promise.

And of course, I’d tell you I know how much you loved me really. Despite all the nicknames and how repulsed you acted at the thought of hugging me, deep down I know you loved me. I know it was always hard for you to show your emotions, but I knew they were there. Our relationship was only just becoming more than just being siblings. We were becoming good friends, and I hate that time was taken away from us. I have no doubt we would have used that time valuably. You’d have been smiling in the photos with me at my graduation, I’d have been taxi-ing you to and from bars and nightclubs listening to your slurred words, you’d have walked me down the aisle one day and I’d have been able to see you with your first girlfriend. I can only imagine how perfect it all would’ve and should’ve been.

I’d tell you about all the things you’ve missed, all the things that just aren’t right now that there’s a massive missing piece from them all. I’d tell you how my graduation was tinged with sadness knowing you weren’t there. I’d tell you how empty and wrong it feels going to food shows and afternoon tea without you. And I’d tell you about all the good stuff we’ve been doing too, all because of you.

I’d tell you about the charity fundraising days and events in your name. I’d tell you we are desperate for your name to live on by creating something positive from your legacy.

And finally, I’d tell you that you are on our minds every single minute of the day. We love you so much, and we hate it without you, but we’re trying — for you, Lew x.

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock image by arda savaşcıoğulları