Dear Brian,

There are still so many days I reach for the phone wishing I could talk to you and hear your voice again.  I no longer have that direct connection to you and it makes me so jealous of those who can just hit “speed dial #1” and their brother is instantly on the other end of the line.  I admittedly took that for granted while you were here.

I know there are many people out there who think it is slightly less-than-sensible to believe that there is something out “there” after we die.  Regardless, I believe there is and have always believed that there is.  I don’t believe in God, but I do believe that something happens to our energy and our spirit after we die.  I believed it long before you were gone but am even more protective of that belief now because it is the only thing that allows me to also believe that there is a chance you can still communicate with me from time to time and that I will, indeed, see you again someday.  Insensible or not… it gives me hope.

I’ve just had to adapt to this new and distant way of communicating with you and I’ve learned to watch for the signs.  While others might get a card in the mail from their brother, I might spot a 2-door Red Saturn with a guy in a purple baseball hat at the stoplight next to me and be reminded of you.  Someone might get a phone call from their brother to say, “Hey, how’s it going?” For me, it is you leaving me a 1975 penny in a place where there was not a penny just moments earlier.  Others have the joy of sitting and looking at a photo album with their brother and reminiscing about happier times… but I have the experience of a photo of you I never knew existed suddenly popping up or a favorite song or movie of ours will immediately come on the radio or TV as you cross my mind.

I know many people can easily dismiss these things as mere coincidences and feel I am naïve and foolish for believing there is any sort of cosmic meaning to them and I can completely understand why.  But for me, these little things are the only ways I have left to relate to you for the rest of my existence– they are all I have. I guess I think of it as I think about any religion, really; as long as it brings me some comfort and I’m not hurting anyone, what’s the harm in believing that you’re still out there somewhere and that you reach out to me, letting me know you miss me and that you are now healing from your painful life on earth?

You are still in my contact list in my phone and I don’t plan on ever taking you out of that list.  The number was long ago disconnected but I still dial it from time to time because for a mere second, after dialing but before the message from the operator comes on, I can hope that this time will be different and that this will all have been a bad dream and you’ll answer the phone.

Missing you more than ever,

brian vikings  image-14-for-chile-miners-rescue-gallery-126389526

Dear Brian,

Today marks 3 years since I got the call that changed my life– I was told you were found dead in your home after taking your own life.

There was something else happening that very same day. On October 13, 2010, the entire world watched with bated breath as 33 Chilean miners were being rescued and brought to the surface after spending nearly 70 days trapped 700 meters below the earth in a collapsed mine.  The symbolic parallel of that event was absolutely not lost on me.

Upon being freed, one of the miners was quoted as saying, “From the first moment, I thought they would rescue us.  I never lost hope… I never lost faith.”  I couldn’t help but recognize that while those 33 men were desperately clinging to hope and to life itself you were purposefully letting go of those very same things.  As they were reaching for the light at the surface, you were allowing yourself to slip into the darkness.  As their families were rejoicing in being reunited with their loved ones their horror came to an end… mine was just beginning.  For those 70 days, they knew their loved ones were in serious danger and prayed for their safe return.  During that same time, I also knew you were in danger– you were trapped in a very dangerous place of your own.  They made it out alive, but you did not.

That same miner also was also quoted as having said, “I’ve been married for 32 years and rarely told my wife I loved her.  I just wanted to tell her how much I loved her.”  While I’m so glad that he has been given a second chance to change that, I’m also quite envious of him. You and I were never very good about saying “I love you” to one another… that’s just not how our family was.  I so wish I had done things differently.  I’d have been more open with my feelings with you while you were still here.  I’d have done more to try and keep you safe from the world and from yourself.

There are days it feels as if these past 3 years have flown by because it still feels as fresh as though it just happened yesterday. But most days drag on because you still are on my mind literally ever moment of every single day.   I’m saddened by the fact that I’ll quite likely have to live more years without you than I was allowed to live with you.

I’m going to be honest, Brian.  Today is the first day in a very long time that I’d had the urge to cut again.  I haven’t… and I won’t because I’ve done a lot of hard work on myself over the past few years to get past those urges.  But I really want to.  There is so much pain inside me today as I remember every single, awful detail of the events of October 13, 2010.  It’s like a horror movie that keeps playing over and over and over in my head and I keep foolishly wishing for a different ending.  I’m spending the day alone today. Not by choice, really… just sort of worked out that way.  But truth be told… I can’t say I’d blame anyone for not wanting to spend a hard-earned Sunday off around a moping, sulking, sobbing, listless ragdoll of a human being.  Besides, I’m so good at not wanting to “put anyone out” by sharing my agony with them that I rarely have the gumption to just say, “Hey, I really don’t want to be alone today.  I want to talk about my brother and remember him and I don’t want to suffer through this by myself.”  I sometimes feel as though I’m just not worth the effort that others would need to put forth to spend a day like today with me… so I just don’t ask.  Besides, the compassion that was extended towards me when it was only 3 days… 3 weeks…. 3 months…. well, it just isn’t there anymore 3 years later.  I completely realize that the world feels my grieving time should have come and gone by now… I should be in a better, stronger place.  Well, I’m not.  I’m certainly better than I was 3 years ago… but have a very long, long way to go.

It rained here last night, dude.  Really, really hard.  I don’t think it has rained that hard since I moved here to Austin 4 years ago.  But I’m so grateful for it.  Not just because we needed the rain so badly… but because I was so desperately craving for the world around me to mirror what I’ve been feeling inside these past few days leading up to this heartbreaking anniversary.  (Yet another symbolic parallel of which I am achingly aware.)  I sat alone out on the porch in the dark, drinking way too much wine and I watched as the skies lit up with frequent bursts of lightning and leashed a torrent of water that was too much for the ground to handle so it overflowed into rivers spilling all over the yard.  It was so freeing and comforting; it was as though Mother Nature was showing me that it was OK to let out all the pain and tears I’ve been suppressing for a while now… even if it gets a little messy.  I’m grateful that she raged and cried right alongside me… made me feel a little less alone.

I love you and miss you more than ever, Brian.


Dear Brian,

I’m really struggling today.  By piecing together the last known contact with you and what the Medical Examiner said upon examining you, we figure you likely died on the 7th or 8th of October… 5 or 6 whole days before you were found.

I hate that I don’t know… that I have this “5 or 6 day window.”  I’m not entirely sure why it should matter to me, but it does.  Those 5 or 6 days passed without me trying to contact you at all and I knew that you needed me.

You know, it looks like this is going to be the shortest letter I’ve written to you as I feel there are so many things I want and need to say to you… but I’m absolutely all out of words today. It just hurts so much and I desperately hate that it has been 3 fucking years since you left me.

I guess that’s all I am capable of saying right now.

I miss you, Brian.


Dear Brian,

During my recent trip home to Minnesota I went to visit your boys, Maximus and Marcus.  I can’t begin to tell you how much those cats mean to me, dude!  I know how much you loved them and you knew how much I loved them too as you told me in your last letter that you knew I’d do right by them after you were gone.  You should know that they are happy and healthy and very loved by their new family and are living only a few miles away from Mom and Dad!

To me Maximus and Marcus aren’t just cats… they are living, breathing extensions of you, Brian!  And as crazy as it sounds, I feel like they carry a piece of you with them as they were with you in your last moments and watched over you for a week after you died before you were found.  I can’t imagine what those days were like for them– to see you lying there but not able to respond to them.  To anyone that doesn’t believe that animals are loving, feeling beings with souls this probably sounds like a bunch of gibberish… but I’ve never doubted for a moment what amazing creatures they are.

So now I’m going to share something very personal with you that a lot of people would question or reject.  A beautiful soul whom I’d never met did an intuitive reading on Maximus and Marcus for me just before they were moved to their wonderful forever home a year ago after spending almost 2 years with a man who took them in shortly after you passed away.  What she said brought me to absolute tears… in my heart it felt very real and so very true so I want to share with you what she said:

“I checked in with the boys and got some very interesting information.  People may think that their major trauma was being left behind by their dad, but both cats were fully aware that he was going to leave them before it happened.  Although they were upset that no one came for awhile afterward, they knew what he was going to do.  While they were prepared for his passing, they were still pretty angry with him about it.  The three of them were so closely linked energetically (and they still are- they still have access to him, but more on that in a minute).  He broke the contract he had with the cats when he committed suicide.  He just wasn’t strong enough to deal with the reality of life on the physical plane.  He is much happier and freer as spirit energy, even though he is sad to have left those who loved him in pain.   He just kept shaking his head and holding out his hands and saying “I just wasn’t strong enough.”  The cats were supposed to teach him about strength, but they didn’t get the chance.  Maximus is CONVINCED that the reason he was not able to help his Dad was because he was declawed and didn’t have the power to shred the inner demons his dad fought with.  Maximus was certain if he had his claws, things could have turned out differently.  Marcus jumped on that bandwagon too, but more as a follower.  The convictions of Marcus are not as deep, more of a “yeah, what he said” kind of thing.  I worked with both cats to let go of the guilt trip over not being able to do more because of the lack of  claws.

I did a soul retrieval for them and their power came back as we did the retrieval on the claws.  Also, because of the bond shared by the three of them, their hearts were all entangled, and I was able to separate and  retrieve their ability to bond and love and give it back to each of them (Dad included- the entanglement was keeping him tethered, although he was not really “stuck” in the sense of not moving on toward the light, the tethers were keeping him from progressing through his spirit journey- he is now free to do this).  It is a good thing the cats were in a temporary home- they have not really had the ability to bond to a new person fully because their Dad took their love with him when he left.  This was another soul piece that came back to each of them.  Maximus’s love was a beautiful spring green light, and for Marcus, it showed up as magenta.  Your brother’s was a brilliant cobalt blue.  The cats are now both ready to move into a permanent home and bond with and love a new person.  Your brother released them to move on.  There was also some energy around Maximus’ eyesight that came back to him.  I don’t know for sure what that really was, but it was a bright yellow light.  As I was doing the soul retrieval, something kind of unusual happened.  I came back into my body and was not sure how long I had been gone.  I evidently went into the subconscious to do some clearing and healing.  I have no idea what I did, but I came out of it with the sense of things being set right.  I got the image of clearing out cobwebs, and it might have just been really freeing the three of them of their heavy, heavy grief.  Energetically, that grief was fuzzy and gray, like a sweater over everyone’s aura.  The sweater was gone when I came back out of it, so I assume I took care of that somehow= cleared out the gunk.

Messages for Laura- both cats are very, very happy that you are looking out for them.  They trust that you will do the right thing by them and find them the right place.  They are now ready to bond with a new human, as long as they are never separated, they will be fine.  The new bond will take awhile to form, but they have the ability to do it now. 

Your brother  knows he has to come back and try this life as  a human thing again.  He  has been in a kind of limbo of his own choosing.  He is extremely sensitive and just didn’t have a thick enough skin to keep going through this life.  He does want you to know that no one is to blame for what he did- he takes complete responsibility for checking out.  It is so much easier for him to be energy.  He is accessible to you and can hear you when you talk to him, so please don’t stop talking, even if you are mad at him.  He is strong enough to handle anything you can toss his way now- you no longer need to protect him, and he wants to be given the chance to protect you energetically.  He will always be a part of your life.  He has tremendous love for you.”

Every word rang true in my heart and brought me a great deal of peace.  I had been so worried about them with all the changes and trauma they’d been through and it all seemed to work out just as it was supposed to; they were only supposed to stay at that first home for a while until they had healed and were ready to bond with their forever family.  And the way she described their personalities was spot-on… so very much like how they really are and how you often described them to me.

You can rest easy knowing they are doing well and are very happy.  And it feels wonderful that they totally seem to remember me and I still feel very connected to them.

(A VERY special thank you goes out to Kay Anderson of Soul to Soul Connections for providing me with that wonderful reading!

boys 2

I found this video about a year ago… I can only hear your voice in there a few times but I can see your hand as you are petting a very affectionate Marcus.  I watch it over and over just to hear your voice saying, “Kitty, Kitty…”  It might seem so small to others… but to me, it means the world.


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