An Open Letter to My Brother’s Girlfriend, 27 Years Later

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This is an open letter to my brother’s girlfriend, 27 years after he died in a car accident on a straight Arizona highway. He was 27. I was 25. How old were you?

You lived in California with Bill and we’d never met. Bill told me about you—that you were pregnant. I’m sorry you lost your baby along with the man you loved.

To me, you were just one of his many girlfriends—the one who was driving when you went off the road, the car flipped, and my brother died. It was impossible for me during those days to not feel like—ok, you’re dismissed now. I didn’t want you punished, but I wanted you gone from my life as fast as you’d arrived. How fast were you driving? The fact that you were drinking isn’t for me to judge. Those were partying days and I’ve had my own.

What could be a worse punishment than losing your baby and your boyfriend? Maybe losing them, plus experiencing the guilt, then add in having to face his family who crossed arms more than opening them.

After all, you were just the girlfriend—not a wife, sister, mother, father, or even a stepparent. You were an outsider to us.

Yet, you were the one close to Bill. You lived with him, made love to him and created life with him.

But, I was his sister! And, my mother was crumbling before me. The picture in my mind placed you way in the background.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know—how it might have felt for you. Now, 27 years later, I have a clue, as the girlfriend of a suddenly deceased, fully alive, thought-we-had-tomorrow-in-the-bag man. Healthy! Happy! Gone.

I’m not so much apologizing as acknowledging how intensely challenging the entire ordeal must’ve been for you.

The love I shared with my boyfriend, Kevin Fire! Lentz, was extraordinary—better than any relationship I ever had. We were deeply in love and loving every minute of it.

You had to be in your late 20s when you had this life-erupting event. In hindsight, it’s likely you felt you found the love of your life with my brother and held tremendous hope for your future with him.

He was excited about the baby. He talked about you. I don’t remember the specifics, but he always spoke positively of you. Now, I consider that for where we were in our lives, that meant something. He didn’t talk much about his other girlfriends. They usually just showed up.

I’m sorry for the pain you endured and the scars Bill’s death must have left on you. I pray you’ve found peace, joy and light and your journey has smoothed.

Sincerely,

Bill’s Little Sister

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