The annoying reminder that my brother is dead

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Photo by Goby on Unsplash

One of my “mom hacks” is to pack up the kids in our SUV and head to my parents’ house for a visit in the early evening. If I play my cards right, my mom will insist we stay for dinner, and thus I forgo my maternal cooking duties for the night.

I’m careful not to overuse this tactic, for fear my parents will catch on to my embarrassing habit. I try to save it for days when I’m coming off shift, since I’m usually running on little to no sleep; days when the task of preparing food for my…


But not for everyone…

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Christmas Eve 2004

When I was a little girl around 10 or 11 years old, I looked forward to receiving Christmas cards in the mail. We would hang our cards and letters from beaded garland in the hallway; a tradition I have since carried on in my own home.

There was a particular letter I anxiously awaited each year from a certain friend-of-the-family who will remain anonymous. Don’t worry it’s not you, and no, you don’t know them.

I’m not sure why they even sent us a Christmas card, as we lost touch decades ago. It seemed to me, as young as I…


An open letter to my husband on our seventh wedding anniversary

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This Is Us | Photo by Jennifer Lutz

Today we celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary, and fourteen years together. The proverbial high school sweethearts. Our senior superlative was, “Most Likely to Stay Together Forever.”

Just like most relationships that start out young and fresh, we have grown up together and endured our share of trials and hardships. We are the couple we are today because we have experienced heartache and came out on the other side, happier and stronger because of it.

The last two years are testament of that. So it’s no coincidence that I find myself growing increasingly unhappy on this infamous anniversary.

But not with…


A grieving sisters depiction of Overdose Awareness Day and the significance to its unlucky celebrants

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Michael in 2011 | Photo by Krystle Miller

August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. A day I never imagined I’d be celebrating.

You won’t get a Facebook notification reminding you of this day. But you do when it’s National Kissing Day [insert eye-rolling emoji]. August 31st is also Love Litigating Lawyers Day, Trail Mix Day, and We Love Memoirs Day. You can’t make this shit up.

I’m not sure anyone actually refers to Overdose Awareness Day as a holiday per se. That would insinuate the day to be joyful and triumphant when, in fact, it is anything but that. Hallmark doesn’t sell any $5 cards for this…

Whitney O'Brien

Full-time mom and wife, part-time nurse, wannabe writer.

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