On Death

My little sister, Brooke, who juniored me by 18 months, was in a tragic car accident with two other teens early in the morning of March 24, 2008. They were all three killed on impact.

This has been the single most defining event in my life. The lessons that this has taught me could not be understood in any other possible way, as harsh and awful as that seems. I am still learning these lessons everyday. But this is part of my soul’s polishing process- and it hurts.

The most precious human being that I ever had the pleasure to know was Melanie Brooke Dover. Silliness and beauty followed her like light follows the sun.

When the world was able to wipe her from it’s existence sending her onto her next adventure without my permission, my brain melted.

My heart froze.

I denied my soul.

Everything turned black.

For about two years, my anger churned and burned. I cursed God. I became reclusive. I grew apart from my family. My bad relationship got worse. I just didn’t understand.

This was never part of the plan.


I wanted answers.  I wanted to understand. I wanted to trade places.

She was the good one. Not me. She had plans. I never have.

I saw multiple psychologists and psychiatrists. I was diagnosed with more ailments and disorders than I can remember. I was switched from anti-depressant to anti-depressant from benzo to benzo. “Here is a pill to level you out daily. Here is a pill to help you sleep every night. And here is an extra pill for when you have panic attacks.”

None of that jazz really worked out for me.

There was one counselor who understood me and that helped me to learn to start loving myself again. She told me that time was all that would make it easier.

She was right.

By now the all that time has let some scar tissue form and the wounds are eight years old.

I still cry and it still hurts often. But somehow, I believe I am a better person because of it.

I consider the value of life more. I want to better the world and be a part of it in a way that I did not before. I no longer feel guilty to be happy. I have a desire to live and travel more than ever before. I don’t fear physical pain like I did before. I am gutsier and more honest. I feel like I have to make a difference in the world, because I know that she would have.

Don’t get me wrong, in her short 17 years, she touched more lives than I even know of. But if I can give back just a smidgen of the love and hope that she gave me, I will have lived well.




Did I know that it was last time?

My sister (see this post for more info) came to my house for a visit on a normal Thursday night, March 20, 2008. I lived on the westside of Jacksonville in an old, blue, asbestos-shingled shack. I cooked homemade chicken pot-pie for dinner, a Paula Dean recipe so you know it was gooood!

Afterwards, we drank two shots of cheap tequila and smoked a joint of dirt weed. To get away from my ever hovering high-school sweetheart, we moseyed to the front porch for a couple menthol cigs.

Her company was so genuine. She told me that my boyfriend was greedy with me (he was) and that I could find someone to treat me better (I have). She told me about the weekend ahead and how she was heading to Baxley, GA to see her boyfriend, Mallory and Liana, her best friend in town from Texas. She stayed for about three hours as we gossiped and chirped like chickens.

When it was time to go she kissed my cheek, told me she loved me and pranced towards her car, keys dangling in hand.

As I sat on the front the porch of that old dilapidated, asbestos-shingled house watching her walk away a knot rose in my throat that I could not swallow.  “What if something happened to her?” I thought to myself. I quickly paced to her open car door like the bossy, mother-type that I am swinging it further open.

“Brooke- are you sure that you are okay to drive? I mean, we had a nip of tequila and I know the weed was crap, but I would just die if anything were to happen…”

She cut me off, “I am fine, sister. And I love you very much. Call you soon.”

She gave me a quick peck on the lips, a one armed hug and she was gone.

Nothing could happen, right?

It didn’t.

But the dread never left the back of my mind and it was the last time that I laid eyes on my little sister alive.

She made it home that night, but died in a car accident on the way to take Liana back to the airport for Texas early Monday morning. Liana and her boyfriend, Joshua, were also killed in the accident on impact.  News Article Here

Brooke and Liana


I kept that bottle of cheap tequila and one of the cigarette butts with her pink lipstick print on it.

But it has been eight long, long years.

The liquor has started to evaporate, the butt has yellowed, and the lip print’s once glittery sparkles are long faded.

I never knew how much it could hurt.

I never thought that she could leave like that, never even considered it an option. I remember having nightmares as a child that she died. I would wake in a fury, put my hand under her nose to check her breathing (in the rare case that I couldn’t already hear her snoring) and hold her hand tight knowing that it could never happen to us. She had too many plans. She was going to go to college to be a teacher. And get married and have children of her own…

Then it happened to her.

To us.

To me.

And life has not ever been the same without her.

Easter Circa ’97


She and I prior to our last Victoria Secret shopping spree



What was once a glorious celebration of my little sister’s life is now a black hole on my calendar.

Chuck E. Cheese, roller skating rinks, and the zoo all hold memories of days gone by where loved ones surrounded my skinny, blonde haired and blue-eyed sister, singing “Happy Birthday” and showering her in kisses, laughter and gifts. There was always at least one gift tucked away in Brooke’s mountain of toys just for me.  “The good ole days” they call them.

On this particular day, similar to the last 7 years, I am throwing a pity party all for myself. I called out of work. I have been drunk(ish) since noon.  I told my professor that I was sick and wouldn’t make it to class.

That wasn’t a lie. I am sick… of this day, of this feeling, in the head, to my stomach…

My sister was 18 months younger than me.


She was the most beautiful person that I have ever known in real life. She brought light into a room when she entered it. She went out of her way to befriend the friendless. She had inside jokes with everyone. She was a cheerleading captain and the reigning Miss Junior at the local high school (not that beauty pageants mean shit to me, but so you understand how gorgeous this girl was).

In public, she was a lady. She woke up early every morning to make sure that every hair on her head was in place and that her make-up was flawless. She smiled and waved to all, like the queen she was. 👑

When we were alone though, she would secretly puff on one of my menthol cigarettes, cursing like a sailor as she babbled on about her latest grown-up adventure. That raw side of her was only meant for those of us from whom she never feared judgement, and there weren’t very many of us.

She was not born with rhythm so she practiced over and over in a mirror until she understood and conquered that. She had more determination in her pinky finger than I have in my whole body. She could have changed the world. 🌎

She died in a car accident on March 24th, 2008, about a month after her 17th birthday (Feb. 22).

Most days I accept it. I now love more freely, speak more honestly and live more happily. I don’t take moments for granted. I forgive quicker. It has made me a better person in some strange way.

But not today.

On the day she was born and on the day she died, I don’t have to pretend I am ok with it or hold back my tears. I allow myself these two days a year to mourn, cry, mope, and feel sorry for myself like I want to so often (while I hermit myself in my house with some liquor). I look at old pictures. I simultaneously want company and can’t handle the judgement. My anxiety is at its peak.

Cheers to another round! 🍻


Missing my Brookie forever ✨👼🏼👑 #MBD #143


– Am