Friday, February 26, 2016

The Pain Never Goes Away

I haven't blogged in a really long time, not because I don't miss my brother, or that I feel like I've recovered. Quite the opposite - the more time that passes, the more lifecycle events that occur, the more I feel his absence.

My oldest nephew had his bar mitzvah a few weeks ago. It was a happy, momentous occasion but I couldn't help but wonder how much more wonderful it would have been with Eytan by my side.

As my son, Ronen, grows older I remember Eytan with my older nephews, and what an amazing uncle he was. An uncle Ronen will never know.

The pain never goes away. I wish I had a chance to tell Eytan that before he died. I don't if it would have made a difference, knowing what a hole is was going to leave. He was obviously in a very dark place.

Last weekend I received an email from someone I have never met, who read about me in an article, found my contact info, and told me he was planning his suicide. He just needed to know how to minimize pain to his family before he did it.

After a flurry of phone calls with amazing friends and colleagues, I responded and spoke with him that evening. I told him my honest story, and how the best way for him to minimize pain to his family to be alive for them. He hadn't realized the pain didn't go away - and maybe I saved his life by sharing my story with him.

If there is anyone out there who is struggling and thinks their family will be better of without them - take it from me, you are wrong. I will never recover from the loss of my brother, there will be a hole in my life forever because he is gone. Believe me when I tell you, the pain never goes away.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

3 Years

I hate this time of year.

It will be 3 years in a few weeks.

3 years. It seems impossible that so much time has passed since I lost my brother.

I've been spending a lot of time being angry lately. Angry that my brother could do this to our family. Angry that I didn't know something was wrong. Angry for all the time wasted and time lost with him.

When does it get easier? When do I get to a point where I don't flash back to the call from my dad telling me my brother was dead? That I don't feel myself there, at the funeral, watching his casket lowered into the ground and his friends throwing dirt onto his grave?

I'm so angry at him, at me, at God, that it has to be this way. Why me? Why did I have to lose my brother? Why do all of my friends get to keep and enjoy their siblings and I had to lose mine?

I'm tired of being angry. I'm tired of being sad.

I just want him back.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

On Confusion, Anger, & Time

Aside from the anniversary of my brother's death, I think the High Holidays are the hardest time of year for me.

I want so badly to make sense of what happened. I don’t know how I can process things otherwise.

So here's how my making sense of this goes.

I believe that God is at His heart benevolent. In that case, there must be some reason for all of this to happen. Something we did to deserve this. And that guilt is heavy.

But how could we possibly have done something so terrible as to deserve this? I know me, and I know my family. Eytan's death was NOT our fault. We don't have to accept that guilt. We are not to blame.

Then who or what is?

If I believe God or some higher power oversees the world, then God must be the cause in some way, and if He's the cause then He is a malevolent God, even though in my heart I know that's not true.

Or there is no sense to the world, no God, no order, things just happen.

But I believe there IS logic and order to the world. I don't believe things just happen.

So if God is benevolent and I believe there is order in this world, then there must be a reason for this...

I'm caught in this circular argument with myself.

I couldn't bring myself to speak to God over Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year). I didn't set foot in shul (synagogue). I couldn't. I'm so angry, I don't have anything but anger for Him. I think (hope) He understands.

Everything was so much easier before I understood how fleeting life is. How temporal we all are. Our vulnerabilities, our limits, our mortality. How we don't know what we've got until suddenly it's gone forever and we are left wondering why we wasted so much time. I wasted so much time that I could have spent with Eytan. And now there isn't any time left.

I feel like his death has since passed me by but the wake of his death is still churning and I'm caught in it, just treading water, gasping for air. I can't extricate myself because even though Eytan's death is behind me I'm still so caught up in the aftermath. Just when I think I've moved forward I find myself right back in those churning waters. That place where it hurts as much as it did the day my Dad called me with the news, the day we laid my brother in the ground.

How do you look forward to a new year when you feel stuck in the past, and all you can think about is rewinding time?

Monday, September 10, 2012

On Judgement

According to Jewish tradition, every year God weighs our merits and our transgressions, and our fate for life or death is written on Rosh HaShana and sealed on Yom Kippur.

What does it mean to be judged? What merits and transgressions weigh more heavily than others?

I used to think that living a life where I give more than I take and I try to make the world a better place meant that I was living righteously, and that I would surely be written for life. Now, I just don't know. How do we know if we're living in a way that our merits will outweigh our transgressions?

My brother wasn't perfect, but he was a kind, funny, loving, and wonderful person. He lived life righteously. How could God have sealed his fate for death?

I don't understand. I don't know how to understand.

What I wouldn't give for just one more day with him.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

May His Memory Be for a Blessing

Tonight is my brother's yartzheit (Hebrew calendar anniversary of his death). In the Jewish tradition, it is customary to say "may his/her memory be for a blessing" after the death of a loved one. This is especially important to me because I lost my brother to suicide, and I want to believe that something good can come of his death.

Please help my brother's memory be for a blessing by making a donation in his honor.

Make a donation to the Eytan Kaplowitz Memorial Fund
Make a donation to the House of Ruth
Make a donation to American Jewish World Service

Or make a donation to any organization whose mission you believe in.

May we all be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I can't believe it will be two years on June 14th. Two years since I got the most terrible, unimaginable call from my dad. Two years since this huge hole was ripped into my life. Two years of tears and pain and anger. Two years without him.

Sometimes it seems like he's been gone so long, other times it hurts like it just happened yesterday. I feel like there are so many broken pieces of my heart to knit back together, but I'm getting there. I'm no closer to comprehending my brother's suicide, and although I have found a place where I can come to terms with it and move forward with my life, I'll grapple with all of the unanswered questions forever.

I miss you so much, little brother.

Friday, February 17, 2012


I had a dream about my brother last night. This certainly isn't the first time, but it has been a while. I didn't remember the dream at first, but it all came back to me in a flash as I stepped out of the shower this morning.

I only remember bits and pieces of the dream. I wish I could remember more. It was so real.

We were walking hand in hand, and I could feel that his hand was dry and chapped.

I remarked he looked haggard and thin, and he laughed it off saying something I can't remember. I wish I could remember.

At some point, looking at him, it crossed my mind that I must be dreaming since he's gone and I can't talk to him anymore, but I pushed the thought aside. I didn't want to let my consciousness overtake these few precious moments, however unreal they were, away from me.

It hurts so much that he's gone. It hurts more to see him in my dreams and then wake up and know he's not here. I wish he were here.