With Love

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)


About a year after I met the devil my brother died. After everything I’d been through, and everything I was still enduring, why? I had quit smoking weed, quit drinking, quit cursing (for the most part) and was trying to live a good Christian life, and this is how God repaid me. Did he even care? Had I been blotted out of his book? Was he going to let the devil have his way with both me and my family? Halloween was just two days away the night my world collapsed.

Kirk was a force to be reckoned with, and while the good memories do exist, the bad seem to take the forefront. I can’t count the number of times we received a collect call from the Harris County Jail, or the number of wrecked cars, court appearances, rehab stints, screaming matches, drug overdoses, broken windows and fists through walls, sleepless nights, anger, fear, chaos and destruction – how is this going to end?

The good memories exist. We both loved exploring the great outdoors, and with Kirk, there was never a dull moment. Never. I remember when I was working at Yellowstone National Park, he came up to visit, and we were looking for a good spot to hike. We came across these white signs that read “Bear frequenting area. Hike at your own risk,” and while I turned back towards the car, Kirk ventured ahead, his backpack bobbing up and down and his pace steadfast. I jogged to catch up pleading my case as we hiked further into bear country. He promised, as he always did, that he would never let anything happen to me. He was a protective older brother, and although we were three years apart in age, people often mistook us for twins. He was my only sibling, and now, now it’s just me. How on earth do I cope with that?

My brother struggled with addiction up until the day he died. Alcohol, cocaine, pills – it was a never-ending roller-coaster not only for him, but also for the entire family. The night he died we found him unresponsive in his bed, an empty bottle of Xanax on his dresser and the bible I’d bought him for Christmas on his nightstand. The paramedics were called as my mom performed CPR on her only son. The police officers who arrived on the scene unofficially ruled his death to be a suicide via drug overdose. He was 42. As if adding salt to our wounds, we were told that the person conducting the autopsy was named, Jaren. I mean, honestly, how many “Jaren’s” do you know? Kirk and I only knew one, my sexually-abusive step-father whom Kirk had vowed to kill more than once. It was as if the devil had left his handprint on, not only my brother’s life, but also his death.

I’ve never cried like that before. Heavy heaves of weeping, unable to catch my breath – No, No, No, I cried over and over again. A few days later as we drove to the church for his funeral, I noticed a sign posted on someone’s back fence that read, “Absolutely NO NO NO Trespassing.” I felt like I was being mocked by the powers that be. On our drive home, a white sports car zipped past us with vanity plates that read, No No No. It’s the little things that can drive us over the edge. My brother had been looking for a job prior to his death and was offered a position as a sales rep for a funeral home. He quit the next day when a couple came in needing a casket for a baby. The little things. About a week or two before his death he went online for a tarot reading and was given the Death Card. The little things. About a week or two after his death I opened up my bible and looked down to see the words printed in red, “Thy brother shall rise again.” The big things.

Through it all, my brother never lost his faith in God and Jesus Christ. His life was a constant struggle, and some of the things he did and said, well, let’s just say his works most definitely did not land him a spot in heaven. That being said, I know exactly where my brother is, and I know I’ll see him again someday. Faith. It’s that simple. It’s that big.


Author: Lindsay Niemann

Writer | Graphic Artist