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I have three siblings. One is in Heaven

Since July 13, 2018, I haven’t seen my little brother’s face. Today is January 12, 2019.

On the afternoon of July 13, my 16-year-old brother was shot and killed in my front yard in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

The last text my brother sent me was, “Goodbye, I love you all” in a group text with my two sisters. I was in New York. They were in Minnesota.

I have never read old texts between us because I am terrified to.

I have never read a single news article about him.

I have never looked at a picture of him since. I’m incapable of looking through the pictures on my phone or laptop in fear that I will see a picture of us together at Bethany Beach, DE. The last place I was with him. One week before he went to heaven.

I have never looked at his social media. I haven’t been on any social media since July 13, 2018, to ensure I never see any pictures.

I never cry. But I am right now.

I wrote my baby brother’s obituary.

I put a letter in his casket along with his favorite dingy lacrosse stick. He always took the head off of the stick and taped the stick up with athletic tape 24/7. 9 times out of 10 the head was detached from the stick. So of course, I made sure he had them forever, detached.

I think I am still in denial.

Not the type of denial where I don’t believe this event happened. Rather the type of denial where I deny that I am having a difficult time or that I am deeply affected by this loss.

My brother was a “mini me”. The only one of my siblings that I saw myself in. He worked so hard at everything he did. And damn, that kid was so creative. He cared deeply about those around him. His family came first 100% of the time. If I ever needed a ride, he was there. Since he was able to talk, he always loved giving Christmas gifts more than he liked receiving them. He would get so excited about wrapping them and labeling them. One time he gave me a scarf and he was smiling ear to ear as he watched me open it. The only reason I remember this scarf is because of how happy he was giving it to me.

He was the most popular kid at Minnetonka High School. He was this loud-mouth assertive athlete, but he loved being there for the kids he knew were struggling. He knew because he was struggling too.

My brother is the love of my life. There hasn’t been 5 minutes since the day he physically left this earth that I haven’t thought about him. That’s the thing with loss. No one understands that I may be laughing about something, but at the same time, I’m thinking about something else. My mind works double time now.

Thank you, God, for giving me the ability to write. Through my writing this morning, I am trying to talk about him because talking about this scares the shit out of me and confuses me.

Archer, thank you for always loving me. I am never alone because you’re next to me, 100% of the time. Protecting me like you always have. I love you forever.

5 comments on “I have three siblings. One is in Heaven

  1. Addi, I have followed this tragedy since the day it happened. We don’t know each other, but my heart has been hurting and my thoughts have frequently turned to the horrible loss you and your family have suffered. From what I have learned about your amazing brother, his early departure from this earth is truly a great loss for all. I don’t mean to make you sad, but instead to sympathize and encourage you to use your power of writing to help Archer, his legacy, and the desperate need for mental health intervention and support matter. I mean really matter. Not to be cliche, but the story of your family and of Archer is an amazing tale. I believe that you could tell it in a way that might make a difference and could provide some insight into those silently hurting, clues to look for in seemingly happy people. I know it might be really hard for you, but you must bring Archer’s story and images out into the open. Share. Grieve. Love. Appreciate. Celebrate. It’s ok to cry. The world will join in crying with you. Trust me, this is a story that needs to be shared from your perspective because, as you mentioned, Archer was your “mini me”. It isn’t a story that should throw blame at anyone. Nobody wanted this to happen and no one is better for it. Help Archer help others from Heaven so he can live in forever as the Angel he truly IS. Write this story Addi and save others. Thank you for writing today. I’ve been watching your blog waiting for you to be ready to speak about your brother. Be strong and know that YOU have support out there too.


  2. Andrew Thomas. Archers Uncle

    I AM Archers uncle. I miss him very much. The pain that this has caused is simply unimaginable. I hurt daily for Archer s mother my sister. Archers father and his sisters. Addison’s thank you for sharing you feelings it helped me.


  3. Don Amorosi

    I agree with ten other commenter, your writing is a beautiful writing ability to tell Archer’s story for others to learn from and be inspired.
    -Love Dad


  4. Barrie-Lee Cole

    Hi, takes a writer like you to give voice to loss and grief with such poignant honesty. Having a dear best friend who recently lost her 23 year old son, it is staggering to know she feels similarly to you. No sense did it make when reading her script of her voicemail when she called to me to tell me he son died alone, on the streets of a city far away from his family. It makes no sense to lose a brother, son, sister so early and senselessly. I wish she could find your blog, but she is not approachable right at this time. Someday, maybe, she will find your blog and read your words and not feel so terribly alone. In the time being, I will continue to read your inspiring words. Thank you for having the grace and courage to write for us who cannot know what you know.


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