The Unexpected

purple sunset

I thought long and hard about whether or not I should write this post, but in the end, I knew I had to let this out. Three weeks ago, my youngest brother passed away in a drowning accident.

To be honest, it still doesn’t feel real. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity as we planned services and events to commemorate his life. We also had family come to visit from all over; our house was overflowing with people. His memorial service was last weekend and the majority of our visitors have returned home, so things are finally starting to settle down.

Over the weeks, my family has received such an outpouring of love from friends and from our local community here in California, and I’m so grateful for that. People have sent me flowers, called, and sent messages. Even though I haven’t been able to respond to them all, I’ve read every single one and it does help.

People have sent their condolences and many have said, “I don’t know what to say.” I completely understand. I don’t know what to say either. I’m still home in California and I just want to spend as much time as I can with my family before I have to go back to New York.

Different emotions come and go. Planning his services kept me busy so I felt ok for a bit. Sometimes though, it feels like there’s a vice gripping my chest, squeezing until I can’t breathe anymore. Sometimes I feel an overwhelming sadness when I think about how young he was (15), and all of the life that he had yet to experience.

They say to take it one day at a time and that’s what I’m trying to do. Being here with my family helps the most- I don’t remember the last time we were able to spend this much time together. I’m also falling back on the little things that make me happy: escaping into a book, painting my nails, and continuing my Friends marathon.

Who know what’s going to happen on this space in the future, but thank you for letting me pour out a little bit of my heart here today. This is going to sound cliché, but maybe you can do me this one little favor- hold your loved ones tight every chance you get.

(image via)

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I’m Nnenna and this is my online journal where I write about the books I can’t put down, my personal style, the places I’ve traveled to, the products I love, my favorite spots in NYC, and more!

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  1. Caiti wrote:

    Oh, gosh, Nnenna, I’m so, so sorry for your loss. I have no words and tears in my eyes for you and your family. I remember watching your sibling Christmas tag video and thinking that your brother had such a bright and wonderful spirit. <3 Sending my love and thoughts to you and your family. XX.

    Posted 7.31.15 Reply
  2. sartorialsidelines wrote:

    I feel really strange leaving this as a blog comment but I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am for your loss. My husband’s father passed away 4 weeks ago at the age of 57 and I know it’s even close to being the same thing but I have a small idea of how hard/emotional/saddening it can all be. I really am sorry and am sending you all the positive thoughts I can.

    Courtney ~ Sartorial Sidelines

    Posted 7.31.15 Reply
  3. Kat wrote:

    Im so sorry to hear this nnenna! Words cannot express what ur going through. All I want to say is that big hugs and prayers coming ur way! Xoxo

    Posted 7.31.15 Reply
  4. Lynecia wrote:

    I didn’t know your brother but I burst into tears reading this. My deepest condolences to you and your family during this time.

    Posted 7.31.15 Reply
  5. Jenmarie wrote:

    Oh my goodness. I am so very sorry my friend. Of course I will be thinking and praying for you and your family. You’re very brave to post about your loss and I truly believe this bravery of yours is going to pull you through. *hugs*

    Posted 7.31.15 Reply
  6. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family for your loss. It can’t be an easy time for you all right now a tragic event like this will probably never make sense. Take care and I hope you find a way to heal Nnnenna. Sending hugs and love your way.

    Posted 7.31.15 Reply
  7. effusionsofwit wrote:

    Nnenna, I am so sorry for your loss. This is a tragedy, he was way too young! I was *just* thinking about you yesterday, wondering where you were. I’m sending lots of love to you and your family. I’m glad you can be with them right now… if anything helps, it’s surrounding yourself with people who understand. <3 <3 I'm sure you have a lot of good friends to listen, but if you ever need an extra ear, I'm around.

    Posted 7.31.15 Reply
  8. Oh my god, Nnenna, I’m so sorry to hear this. I teared up reading this. Sending happy thoughts your way to you and your family. I’m only a half hour away from NYC by train, so when you get back if you need someone to talk to and take your mind off things for even a minute by getting coffee I’m here for you. My email:

    Posted 7.31.15 Reply
  9. Lyddiegal wrote:

    I wish I knew the right words Nnenna. I’m so sorry for your loss. Family is so precious and more often than not, we take the fact that they will always be there for granted. I can imagine how twisted up inside you must be feeling, and how despite all the pain, there is still joy and love while being home with your family. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family. Sending lots of love, and strength your way.

    Posted 8.2.15 Reply
  10. Kimberlee wrote:

    OH NO I’m soooo sorry *hugs* Send my love and thoughts to you and your family :(

    Posted 8.4.15 Reply
  11. ShenDove wrote:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Nnenna. Praying for you and your family during this difficult time.

    Posted 8.6.15 Reply
  12. Jessica wrote:

    Nnenna you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry for your loss.

    Posted 8.12.15 Reply
  13. I am so sorry Nnenna, from the bottom of my heart, I’m sending you and your family love and prayers.

    Posted 8.13.15 Reply
  14. Elena wrote:

    I am so sorry about your loss. I know there are no words in this world that can relieve you and your family from the pain you are feeling right now. My first baby was stillborn in 2014 and I felt the pain when you wrote about thinking about all the things that he will never experience. Just give yourself time to grieve, don’t push the sadness away and let it build up inside you. I will be praying for you and your family.

    Posted 8.18.15 Reply
  15. bknyfinest1 wrote:

    I’m truly sorry for your loss.

    Posted 8.18.15 Reply
  16. Clara Giebel wrote:

    Oh, my goodness. I just started watching your booktube channel, and you certainly don’t know me, but I am so sorry this happened. Praying for your family.

    Posted 8.19.15 Reply