I’ve always loved the holidays. I’m not religious, but I love the family tradition.

The last few years, we’ve had a new tradition — all of the siblings (and spouses) go out and do something fun together. We decided on indoor go-karts the first year, and have kept that going every year since. It was always a ton of fun and everyone was kind of competitive, except me — I don’t mind coming in last, I was just having a great time!

Sibling go-karting fun

All of the Christmas music, the lights and decorations — they all remind me that this time of…


It’s kind of weird, at the surface: on my wedding anniversary this past Wednesday, I was really feeling my grief for my brother. Meaning the waves of grief were at high tide, and I was getting hit pretty hard.

I woke up that morning, thinking “it’s our anniversary!”. I opened Facebook to look at memories of the day, and thought rather bitterly “well at least I won’t be seeing any photos of John, he didn’t come to my wedding”. That struck a nerve, and I cried most of the morning getting ready for work.

Just one person missing…

I think I was appalled with…


Saturday, I got the linework done on the memorial tattoo for my brother. It’s my 14th tattoo, covering up my very first one. And by far my biggest tattoo. It’s a walleye, his nickname, with a stupid hat he wore in the last photo we have of him — the photo on my desk right now. His stupid American flag hat and matching swim trunks, just trying to make people laugh. I had to immortalize it — it’s just quintessential John.

The wording is “A piece of my heart now turned to ash”. I came up with this phrase…


We were invited to two separate weddings yesterday — a friend of my husband’s, and my husband’s cousin. We decided to go to my husband’s friend’s wedding reception first, so we could close out the night with family.

It wasn’t until we got to the second wedding reception that I started to feel that pull of grief.

Watching the newlyweds do their thing, the traditions around what happens at the reception, I inevitably start thinking about my brother.

How he’ll never get married. Hell, he may not have if he had lived, but he certainly won’t now.

I was sitting…


I’ve been meaning to write more here. More about my grief and loss and how much I miss my brother. I need to process more, to face more.

Most days, I don’t want to write about anything. I want to go back to my old ways and just push everything down, and pretend it’s all ok.

I saw this comic today and it hit me pretty hard. I realized that, just after my brother passed, when people would ask how I was, I would say “I’m alright”, kind of slow. …


I’m getting a memorial tattoo at the end of this month, designed to honor my brother. It will be awesome and kind of ridiculous, but that will be another post when it’s done.

some of these are incredibly striking! https://www.lockedinart.com/glass-cremation-memorial-jewelry/guardian-sterling-silver-pendant-ashes-necklace

At the funeral home, they have an assortment of memorial keepsakes you can get. They will get a fingerprint for you, and then you can get some jewelry with it like these. If they’re cremated, you can get glass jewelry made from their ashes like these and these and these. …


Of course it’s difficult when I see a picture of my brother, at any age. But I think what is more difficult, most days, is when I see what could have been my brother.

For instance, in the grocery store. I see a guy of his build, not quite as majestic a beard as my brother, but decent, mid-30s or so. In the checkout line. With his kids.

Some random dude, just living his life. And I look at him and I see something that could have been for my brother, but won’t ever be. …


I’m in Wisconsin for a conference, and used my favorite Find Me Gluten Free app to find a restaurant for dinner (I have Celiac). I found a place under 10 miles away that had great ratings.

The restaurant was the Driftless Glen Distillery, right on the Baraboo river. It’s a beautiful modern minimal kind of feel. Maybe a bit pretentious, for some.

I’m seated and look over the menu. There are several things marked “GF” and those are the ones I focus on. The waitress comes over, and when I tell her I’m gluten free, she suggest the nachos (I…


This morning, I tweeted the following:

Today was a hard day. Facebook reminding me “It’s John’s birthday! We made you this video to share with him!”. All of the posts I’d made for the twins birthday right there in my memories.

Finding a greeting card for my brother Paul was not easy. It’s his birthday, today too, after all. There’s no section for “Birthday For Him (Recent Loss of Twin)”. I ended up with a dumb card, because I couldn’t read anything that was more serious. Or even “To my brother, from your sister”.

I’m angry at John. I’m…


Everyone experiences grief differently, for sure. And each death is different, as well. I’ve experienced both sets of grandparents and my great grandmother dying. All of those were inevitable, the kind where you say your last goodbyes in a hospital or nursing home, knowing that you’ll hear soon of their passing.

That grieving is very different than what I experienced when my brother died.

I found this poem(?) and it resonated with me 100%: https://secondfirsts.com/2015/07/you-are-not-crazy-you-are-grieving/

But it was missing something.

In all of the TV shows and movies where someone close to the main character dies, they gloss over a…

Hilary Weaver-Robb

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