A lot of people who don’t know what it’s like to lose somebody just say “Forget about it” but it’s not that easy. It really hurts you on the inside. You really need to understand that losing someone is one of the hardest things in life. You have to learn that they’re watching over you and they’re always there.


Jessica, 13


Not wanting to talk about it
Sometimes you don’t want to talk about it and you just keep it to yourself. Sometimes it’s hard to talk with your family because they all get upset, so it’s easier to talk to someone else. At those times, it’s good to talk to friends who you can always turn to.

Lisa, 15


Things will not change
Some people say to us “Over time things will change.” No! Others say “I know how you feel.” No, you don’t.

Lisa, 15


I’ll just break down
My friends always ask me about my sister. They don’t ever ask in a bad way they are just curious, they ask. It depends on what mood I’m in. If I’m in a good mood, it’s easier to answer. Sometimes if it’s the wrong timing, I’ll just break down. Over time it gets easier to answer because I’m proud of who my sister was. People say, “Oh, do you mind talking about it?” No, she was my favorite person ever. Over time my friends just learn from that.

Lisa, 15


Family members can get annoying. They’re just like “She’s always here, she’s always here” and they just bring it up too much. You get kind of mad, like “Stop.”


Lisa, 15


How many siblings do you have?
One of the most difficult questions to answer is when someone asks me if I have any siblings. It is a deceivingly simple question. Just because my younger brother, Zach, passed away a year ago does not mean that he is not still my brother. He is a part of who I was, and am, and always will be. But if “yes” seems like an easy answer, I must also consider that a “yes” might lead to more questions. “Oh, really? How old are they?” Once again, a trick question. Is he fifteen, will he always be fifteen? Or is he sixteen, since we all honored his birthday four months following his death? Will people ask innocent questions as to why they have never met him? A question I feel no need to ponder is whether they will feel awkward when I explain the situation. A person asking something as innocent as, “Do you have any brothers or sisters?” is not expecting a sob story, with all the required consolations and condolences. So, the straightforward “yes” and “no” are both equally untrue answers when I am asked about my siblings. And even a one sentence explanation is horribly insufficient.

How do I explain how neat a kid Zach was? How funny? And that by funny, I mean cleverness second to none, not physical comedy or impressions, per se? For people who never got to know Zach, he is a series of generalizations. A brother, a son, a drummer, a liberal, a cancer victim; but no one is merely the sum of their labels.

If truth suffers from over-analysis, perhaps more people suffer from not being analyzed enough. Because one thing is certain: I learned more about life, love and courage from my kid brother than I ever expected to.

Jennie, 18