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Dear Mike

Why did you have to be such an idiot? Do you know what
you've done to me? Do you know what I'm going through? Do
you know how much I miss you?

When Patti called me in Myrtle Beach and told me you were
dead, a part of me died. I didn't know what to do. I
couldn't believe it was true. It had to be a mistake. Right
there at the pay phone in the campground, my legs couldn't
hold me. I had to hang on to stay standing. I started to cry
and begged her to tell me it wasn't true. I've been crying
and wanting it not to be true ever since.

Three weeks before that when you left me a message saying
you wanted to die, I did everything I could to stop you. I
called Mom and Dad. I found you at Adele's shop. I chased
you to try to make you go home. I yelled at you. Mom and I
tried to calm you down. You were upset, you were mad, and I
didn't know what to do. When we got the police involved, I
thought it would be the right thing to do. They'd talk to
you. They'd get you to the hospital. I knew you were drunk,
who couldn't have known? I thought that's why you were
acting that way. So I wanted you to be someplace where they
could help you. I had such a headache, and I'm sorry I got
mad at you for bothering me. I'm sorry I was selfish and
only thought about the fact that I had gotten a shot the
night before, and now I was going to get my headache back.
I'm sorry I got so mad at you. I signed that 5-day
involuntary commitment paper, because I thought it would
make you get the help you so desperately needed. I didn't do
it to make you mad, or to have some sort of power over you.
I did it because I loved you. I did it because I wanted you
to live.

When they let you leave the hospital four hours later, I was
so mad. I couldn't believe they let you go. I couldn't
believe you talked them into just letting you walk out the
door. It was the only thing I knew to do to help you, and it
didn't work. The reason I was so mad at you after that, was
because you called me for help, and then didn't take the
only help I knew how to give. I thought you knew I loved
you. I thought you knew why I did what I did. We had talked
about that before. We had talked about so many things

I begged you, Mike. I begged you to never hurt me like that.
I begged you to promise me you would never take yourself
away from me. And you did promise. You looked me right in
the eye and promised me. You said you would think about how
much I loved you, and how much I needed you around, and you
would never hurt me like that. But you did it, anyway.

I know I was mad at you in those last three weeks. I was
stupid. I thought you were maybe just trying to get some
attention. I thought, since you seemed to be relatively fine
after that, that you acted the way you did because you were
drunk. And you said you wouldn't drink anymore when you were
upset. And then when you did, I got mad. You called and left
messages for me. Begging, pleading messages for me. I knew
you needed me, and I just stayed mad. I just wished you
would grow up and leave me alone. I ignored you. I mean, I
cried when I listened to the messages, but I thought you
would be okay. It didn't occur to me that I might have been
pushing you to the edge. I knew you thought of me as your
best friend. I knew you thought that even when you didn't
have anybody or anything else, you would still always have
me. Some best friend I turned out to be, huh? I'm sorry I
made you think you didn't have me anymore. You did, you
know. You always had me.

When I went to your house that last day, I just wanted to
leave your van keys there for you. You weren't home, so I
used my key and let myself in, and I wish now that I
wouldn't have. I had no idea I'd see that letter you left on
the table. I saw that letter, and got mad at you all over
again. I didn't know, Mike. I didn't know it was really a
suicide note. I thought you just wanted some attention. I
thought you just wanted somebody to feel sorry for you. I
mean, you asked me for your extra van keys, and when I saw
the note I sort of thought you planned for me to see it. I'm
sorry I left you such a nasty note in return. I'm so sorry,
Mike. I should have seen. I should have done something.
Instead I got mad, and said terrible things to you in the
letter I left you. God, if I could only take them back. I
just didn't know that would be the last thing I'd ever say
to you. I just didn't know. I should have stayed home then.
I should have been there. Instead, we left the next morning
for a vacation. And that night you killed yourself.

I wish I could take it all back, Mike. I wish you could have
known that I still loved you from the bottom of my soul. I
wish I wouldn't have let you down. I wish I had been a
better best friend.

Since I got the phone call from Patti, I've been a mess. The
drive home was so hard. I kept crying. I kept thinking there
must be a mistake. I kept wishing I'd get home, and find out
you had just played some kind of sick joke on me. I just
wanted you to be there.

It was so hard, making the arrangements for your funeral and
picking a burial plot. Patti, Joe and Aunt Cathy did most
of everything. I couldn't think. I couldn't not cry. I
couldn't stand it. I wanted to see you. I wanted to talk to
you. But by the time we had gotten home you had already been
cremated. Mom and Dad weren't back from their vacation yet,
they had gone further than we did. So Patti, Joe, Aunt Cathy
and I had to do all the arranging. They asked me questions,
they tried to include me. I just couldn't think. I couldn't
stop wanting to not be there doing those things. We had to
go to your house that day, and it was so hard. All of your
things were just how you'd left them, like you had just gone
somewhere and you'd be right back. But you left things there
that shouldn't have been there. You always wore your neck
chains, but they were on your dresser. You always wore your
ring, and it was on your dresser. You always had your
leather jacket, but it was hanging over the back of a chair
with you leather vest. Was I supposed to be grateful that
you left everything where we could find it easy? Well, I
wasn't. I wanted you, not your things. I put your ring on
that day, and I've worn it ever since. I gave your neck
chains to Adele, and she wears them everyday. I have your
vest and your jacket. Barry got your harmonica case and your
pool stick out of your van for me and I have those, too. I
tried to let John use your pool stick, but I couldn't
stand it. I tried to let Melissa wear your jacket, but I
couldn't. I need more time.

Did you know your funeral was on my birthday? Nobody planned
it that way, it's just how it happened. Joe cried for me
when he realized what day it was going to be. It was awful.
I had such a hard time getting through that day. Did you
know I put one of your harmonica's with you? And Beth played
one from the funeral home to the cemetary, and then gave it
to you. I wish I could hear you play again. I listen to the
CD, but it isn't the same. That day, I saw people react in a
way I had never seen before. And you would have been proud
of Shawn. He tried so hard to be there for us. But he was
sad because he didn't get to tell you goodbye. I know how he
feels. I'd give anything to be able to do that. I'd give
anything to be able to talk to you again. Everybody was so
great to me that day, but all I wanted was for you to be
there. You said we were going to spend my birthday together.
You said we were going to go out and have a really good
time. Instead, I spent that day burying you. I don't want to
remember my birthday, anymore.

I used to call your voice mail just to hear your voice. But
then they had to disconnect it. I can't drive past your
house. I couldn't go with the rest of the family when they
went to clean it out. I had to go there one day to get some
things from Barry after that, and it was so hard. I haven't
been past there since. Sometimes, without even thinking, I
press the number to call you on my speed dial. I don't even
really realize it, until I get the recording saying the
number's been disconnected. And then I cry. I tried to go
see MoJo play, and they were really good to me. I talked to
Rob a while, and the whole band was so nice. But I couldn't
stay. Chris and Selene were with me, and they knew they had
to get me out of there. I haven't tried to see them again. I
see Adele, but not as much as I'd like to. I know it upsets
her to see me, because of what we both lost. We both always
end up crying. But she begs me to come see her. We need to
be with each other, to feel closer to a part of you. So I'm
trying really hard, Mike, I really am. She cut my hair for
me a couple of weeks ago. And on your birthday we're going
to go to the cemetary together.

Joe's going to have your van, did you know? Patti was going
to sell it for some of the money you owed her for rent, but
Joe could really use it. It's been sitting at Patti's house
since that day you did what you did. John had to take it to
work and fix some things and inspect it for Joe, so it was
here at my house. I couldn't stand that. I hadn't really
seen it until then. I couldn't stop thinking about it being
in my driveway. I couldn't look. I didn't want to see it.
But I knew it was there. I knew that where you died was
sitting in my driveway. I tried, Mike, I really tried. I
thought maybe if I could just go sit in it, maybe I could
feel close to you again. But I couldn't even make myself
look at it. I didn't want it to be there, but in a way I
didn't want it to leave either. I don't think I'll ever be
able to go anywhere in it when Joe has it, and he
understands that. I want to go places in it with you. Like
we used to.

Well I don't know what else to tell you. I know what I'd
like to be able to ask. Why? Why did you take yourself away
from me? Why couldn't you see how much you were loved? Why
didn't you let me help you? Why didn't you know I would
always be there for you? Why did you break your promise? Why
did you have to be such an idiot?

Did you come to see me? I felt like you did. The day Dad was
having his back surgery and I was supposed to go watch the
kids for Mom. Were you here? I couldn't make myself get out
of bed to go. I had a headache, and I was trying to think of
some way to not have to go. But then I heard somebody say
get up. Nobody else was here besides me. I looked around the
house, and then I realized it was your voice I heard. It
kind of freaked me out. But I went to Mom's and stayed with
the kids, and I thought about you all day. And then a couple
days later, I felt like you were here and I talked to you. I
got such a feeling of you. Like you knew how much I miss
you. Like you still love me. Both of us used to sort of
laugh at people if they said anything like that. But I
swear, Mike, I know you were here. I could feel you. I wish
I could see you. I wish we could be the way we were. But if
this is all I can have, please don't take it away from me.
Please, Mike, stay with me. I lost you once already, and I
don't know how to deal with it. Please don't make me lose
you again. I need you with me. I need you just like I always
did. And I love you, just like I always did. That's
something that will never change. We used to argue, and I
used to get mad at you. But I always loved you. You were
always my friend and my big brother. We had so much fun
together. And we had such good talks. I wish we could do
that again. I know we can't. But please don't leave me.
Please don't take away that feeling of you. I need you
now more than ever. And I love you now, more than ever.

My life will never be the same. I wish you would have known
how important you were to me. What will always be the same
is how much I love you and miss you. Nothing will ever
change that.