Reflections of losing my twin brother to overdose

By Jill Cichowicz

When my mom asked me to read the reflection at Scott’s funeral, I thought to myself, “How can I sum up a relationship and a bond that I shared with him for 38 years in 3-5 minutes?”

Reflections from Scott’s Memorial Service

Luckily, you all had the pleasure of knowing Scott as well, he was obnoxiously obsessed with the Chicago Bears, could sell anything to anyone, argue about anything to anyone that would debate him, and had a charming way about him as well as dashing good looks.

They say you get in the biggest fights with the people you care about most because those are the relationships you’re willing to fight for. I think those that disagreed with Scott the most are having the hardest time letting go of him. I found this poem that I thought said it perfectly.

“When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room;
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little-but not too long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared.
Miss me-but let me go.
For this a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan,
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart,
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds
Miss me-but let me go.”

We all had a different relationship with Scott, but I can say ours was truly unique. A bond that began in my Mother’s womb, a connection I simply cannot put into words. I laugh thinking about when my Mom shared a memory of us in our crib together, how Scott would drink his bottle fast and ever so gently lay me down while stealing my bottle.

He always made sure that I was okay and never stopped looking out for me until the day he died. My head has been flooded with memories of our childhood from roadtripping in the station wagon to Ohio, hiding underneath my Mom’s desk waiting for Santa, to dislocating my thumb at a high school party where he wouldn’t let anyone touch my hand. They all have one thing in common, Scott protecting me always.

I remember when we were in middle school and Scott was kind of a nerd, never brushed his hair, and had a sweatsuit for every day of the week. I had just made cheerleading and was kind of embarrassed by him, but he told everyone we were twins! A young man in our class made a “not so nice” comment to me and Scott handed me his backpack and preceded to put this boy in a headlock and throw him into his locker. He was expelled for that, but he didn’t care because he said I shouldn’t be disrespected like that.

This carried on through adulthood and even after I got married. Scott would visit Marc and me at every duty station and even came to help me during deployments. He sent me anonymous flowers on birthdays and Mother’s Day. Even this past Christmas he stayed with the boys and me since Marc was out of town and he didn’t want me to be alone. He was concerned that I didn’t have my house alarm being monitored.

He played with the boys and showed Carter how to box and took Christian ziplining for the first time at the playground. Ironically, they both talk about how Uncle Scott showed them these things for the first time and remember it fondly. I choose to remember the good things that Scott did and will hold these memories close to my heart. I will speak about him daily and not let anyone forget him as he was truly unforgettable.

Scott always did good deeds, but never bragged about it. He often volunteered at homeless shelters and would give anybody the shirt off his back if needed. I remember talking to him on the phone not too long ago and he bought boxes of ice cream sandwiches and gave them to some homeless people on the street. He didn’t have much, but he always liked to pay it forward. He even gave away several pairs of Nike shoes a couple of days before he died, just laid them out on the lawn of the church where he volunteered and took the old ratty shoes back to his apartment because they weren’t good enough for the homeless.

I spoke to Mary, the lady he used to volunteer with at church, and she said everyone loved Scott and what a good boy he was, they had many deep conversations and she told me that he was such a beautiful and kind person… but a lost soul that she prayed for him daily.

After Scott died, several people reached out to me privately to let me know how he had impacted their lives whether it be through weight loss, a career path or just sending positive messages-he had changed many lives with a few words of kindness. A few of Scott’s friends that I had never met also reached out to me and said they felt like they knew our family since he spoke about us all, particularly his twin sister that he thought the world of. They asked if they could check in from time to time to see how we are all doing since they loved Scott so much.

Scott did acts of kindness always, but he battled a much darker demon than we can imagine. We are all flawed in one way or another, Scott was always very upfront and honest about his struggles. Ironically, I was always envious of how straightforward he was and told you exactly how he felt about things-you knew exactly where you stood with them him whether it be good or bad.

I never fully understood the pain he was in, even though I felt it when he was sad and had anxiety…I could feel it from 3,000 miles away…but I don’t think any of us truly knew how much he really suffered. He loved his family and always said, “Family is everything”…he loved his nieces and nephews very much and was particularly fond of his little “friends” in California. I prayed nightly for Scott and asked God to take something good from me in order to give him peace and happiness. And that is exactly what he has been given. So if I have to suffer and feel this pain in order for Scott to be relieved of it, I will take it.

Pain is like a stab wound to the heart, something I wish we could all do without. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air! So, every time I feel the cool breeze on my face, wind blowing in my hair, soft tones of the wind chime on my porch, I’ll close my eyes to feel the sunshine and know that you are there.

Scott, for once…you don’t have to protect me anymore. You are free from the pain and suffering…rest easy my sweet twin for we will all be reunited one day…love you always and forever…

One thought on “Reflections of losing my twin brother to overdose”

  1. Heartbreakingly beautiful. “Pain is like a stab wound to the heart”. This is Love and yes I meant to capitalize Love. When love is this strong of a bond. I don’t have any common or trite comments that we so often offer in our polite society. I will say instead how someone who has never met you or Scott is deeply touched and sends you both Love.

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