On October 15, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, I reflect on how my parents helped me to share the experience of our family’s grief at the loss of my baby brother, Brandon Joseph Achtman, who died when he was 7 months old.
I was only two-and-a-half years old when Brandon died. But, year after year, I continued to learn more about my brother’s brief life, his death, and that he remains forever my little brother.
Even now, as an adult, I grow in my relationship with this brother of mine. The fact Brandon existed continues to affect, influence, and rouse me – in many ways as ongoingly as the fact of my other brother, Evan, with whom I grew up all along and who is still alive today.
Below are some pages from the Special Care Baby Book in which my mom and I wrote and drew throughout my childhood to remember and cherish baby Brandon.
It’s been five years since the death of Shimon Peres on September 28, 2016. Today was my first time watching the address that Barack Obama delivered at his funeral.
It is a remarkable eulogy, and it is hard for me to think of other statesmen or leaders about whom such a tribute has or could be given.
Below is the full speech on Youtube and here is the link to the transcript:
On this date, in 1993, my little brother Brandon Joseph Achtman died.
Sometimes I remember being held by my father as I kissed Brandon’s cold forehead before helping to close his tiny casket.
Today marks the first anniversary of the death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant.
Much has been said and written about the faith of the family, and there is something that I find remarkably demonstrative of that faith in the speech Vanessa Bryant delivered at a memorial.
In her 20-minute speech about her husband and daughter, Vanessa Bryant alternated, in a subtle way that seemed very deliberate, sincere, and full of faith, between speaking in the past and present tense.
When I was ten years old and my maternal grandfather passed away, my family asked me to deliver some impromptu remarks.
I had completely forgotten about this until my parents sent me a video of my one-minute speech.