I don’t know what to say other than, it’s in the papers, so I might as well tell you.

I don’t know where to start.

I should start at the beginning, but I have no idea where that is.

What I know, is that in the paper, there is this:

“IOWA CITY — An Iowa City man arrested Thursday night following a robbery has confessed to a series of other robberies stretching across Eastern Iowa, according to Iowa City police.

Jay M. Harkless, 23, was arrested after Rent-a-Center, 1214 S. Gilbert St., was robbed at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

During a search of Harkless’ residence at 840 Maggard St. Apt. 10, officers found items they believed linked him to 10 bank and credit union robberies in Iowa City, North Liberty, Cedar Falls, Waterloo and Muscatine, according to a news release.

Harkless confessed to all 11 of the robberies, police said.”

You may recognize the person in that picture from this one:

Christmas at Mom's - Christmas Eve

Although, the one picture I haven’t been able to get out of my head for the last two days is this one:

Uncle Jay and Emma

I don’t know why, but that one is what sticks with me.  It’s the image that keeps me from sleeping at night, and stops me from being able to make sense of any of this.

Jay M. Harkless is my little brother.  It’s Jay Michael, actually.

They say he robbed 11 banks.  They say, too, things like “25 to 50″ and “best case scenario” and lots of other things that end with the word “years”.  Years.  She’s going to be five years old in March, the same month that he will be 24.  Years.  I wonder now how many years will separate them.

I got the first call Thursday night.  But we didn’t know anything then.  I got the next call Friday morning, and still we had no idea.  I went to the hair salon and got my haircut.  I spent $175 on a haircut and hair products and a facial mask and some other trivial shit that’s sitting in a plastic bag on the floor of my car right now.  I walked out of the hair salon and got the next call.  While I was spending $175 in a hair salon, my little brother was being charged with robbing banks.

Robbing banks.

I’d have given him every last dime I had, if only he had asked.

At 11:45, we booked a ticket for me to fly home on a 2:15 flight.  By 4:20 in the afternoon, I was freezing my ass off outside an airport in Iowa.  I’m freezing in Iowa, and it’s snowing in Florida right now.  How strange is that?

I don’t know why I flew home.  There’s nothing for me to do here.  There’s nothing for me to fix.  There’s no mess that I can clean up or anything for me to organize before getting on a return flight home.  There’s no point, really.  But the only coherent thought I could recognize in the fog after those phone calls was, “I want to go home.”

family pictures

You see, we are one body, the four of us.  My mom, me, Jay, and Creed.  We are One.  And I felt as if part of our body was hemorrhaging somewhere, and all I knew to do was gather up the remaining three pieces.  Besides, yesterday was Creed’s 21st birthday.

My mom and her husband picked me up at the airport.  I told her she looked ten years old.  “Fuck, I knew you were going to say that.  And all I could think was, you’re going to put this on the blog as ‘my mom looked ten years older’.”  To be fair, I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it until she said that.

We laughed most of the way home.  Laughed.  Hard.  As if the world wasn’t falling apart, as if there would be answers waiting for us at the end of the two hour drive.  As if me being there made a difference.  We laughed so hard she peed her pants half way home.  And then we laughed harder because, well, she peed her pants.

Erin met us at Mom’s house.  She brought Tequila, just in case.  She couldn’t fix anything any more than I could, but she sat with us.  Laughed with us.  Cried with us.  Held us when there was nothing to do but hold us.

I talk to Jared when I can.  I wish he was here with me, for his sake, for my sake, for all of our sakes.  His heart is just as broken as the rest of ours.  It’s killing him to be miles away and not be able to lend more than a voice.  I ached for the comfort of his arms last night when I went to bed.

In the dark, with my eyes closed, I tried to reach out to God.  Dear God… I started.  But I didn’t know how to go on.  I don’t even know what to ask for.  Peace?  Love?  A miraculous loophole that makes this all go away and gives me back my brother?  I thought about the emails and texts from people who promised they were praying for us.

Are you really? I wondered.  Is that just something people say, or do they really stop and send up some small offering to God?  And if they do, what are they praying for?  Can someone please tell me what to ask God for?  I woke up and everything was still the same, still 180 degrees different than how it was the morning before, and I knew the only prayer I could muster had been unanswered.

At least he’s alive, people keep telling me.  He’s alive, they say.  He’s alive.

But it feels like death here.  The loss is so big and stretches out before us for as far as my feeble mind can imagine.

And then I remember about change.  I remember the one thing I said I learned in 2009.  That nothing is permanent.  That change is inevitable, for better or for worse.  And that’s the only thing I know to cling to right now.  Change.

The headlines in the paper will change.  People who have time to read and comment on the faces of a man they won’t know will have something new to read and comment on in due time.  That change I can predict, at least.

The rest… I don’t know.  I cannot even begin to foresee what the next change will be.  I can’t tell you if it will be for the better, I assume it will be for the worst.  But this, right here, will not be forever.

The only permanent change is death.  And he is, at the very least, alive.

Get More Inspiration & Encouragement

Sign up to get my weekly(ish) email with personal stories, practical tips & links to recent blog posts. You'll also have access to exclusive discounts on products & events and a handful of freebies I've made just for you.

I save my best stuff for subscribers! Join us.

Your email will never be sold or shared, because I aspire to not be a jerk.

  1. Tiffany says:

    I’m so sorry. And I am praying, real prayers, that you and your family will find your way to peace in this new reality.

  2. DutchBitch says:

    Wow… Britt.. that is SOME stuff to deal with. I wish you and your family all the strength you need for this and more.

  3. VDog says:

    I’m so sorry hon. Sending hugs. I will tell Adam how we can help if needed.

  4. Tracy says:

    Awww, Britt, I’m so sorry. Keeping your family in my thoughts, wish ing you the strength and courage to get through this.

  5. avitable says:

    I wish there was more that I, and everyone, could do to help all of you at this time. But you and your mom and Creed give each other strength, and I think that’s amazing.

  6. Cecily says:

    Oh,honey, that’s such a lot to cope with. I’m so sorry.

  7. Bre says:

    I’m glad you’re here.
    I’m learning that togetherness dulls the numbness.
    I love him with my whole heart, you know that. And I love all of you. I’m grateful for all of you.
    None of us can fix anything but we are Jay’s army, fighting this war with him and loving him unconditionally.
    Thank you for everything.

  8. *pixie* says:

    So sorry for you and your family. Many hugs to all of you.

  9. I’m so so sorry you have to go through this with your mom & brothers & the rest of your family & friends.

  10. Dawn says:

    Man. Oh Man.

    When you get to see him, smack him upside the head and give him a big hug. In whichever order you choose. xoxo

  11. And I don’t know what to say other than I love you and in loving you, love your family. Give each other strength. And I’ll do the same from down here in Georgia.

    Much love, hon.

  12. Sodapop says:

    What a difficult and heartbreaking thing for your family to deal with. This may not be fixable, but it shows how close and loving your family is.

    I pray for peace, love and courage to get through whatever is in store for your brother. No matter the outcome, I pray there is wisdom and strength and that he finds peace with himself.

    Stay strong for your family and know that you and your family are loved.

  13. trishk says:

    Like everyone else has said, we are praying for you and your family. The strength you have as a group and as individuals will see you through this. You are family…ALL of you..{{hugs}}

  14. Mandi Bone says:

    I am glad you can be in Iowa. Hugs.

  15. Hockeymandad says:

    I’m sorry to hear of the news Britt. The strength and love in your family will carry you through this time. You have our prayers and best wishes during this time.

  16. Andrea says:

    So sorry you’re dealing with this. Wish I had more to offer.

  17. I’m sorry, honey. I can’t imagine what a throat punch this must be for you and your family. I honestly hope some kind of miracle just makes it all go away.

  18. I’m so sorry for all of this, your family seems incredible. I know that even with all that’s going on, your brother must know that he is loved.

    I am praying today, for your family. For you, your family, for your brother and for the future.

  19. fidget says:

    when I say I’m praying for you, I am praying right that moment. I am praying that god brings a sense of peace into your heart even when things are difficult. I pray that everyone you know will surround you with love, support, & comfort. I pray that in these hard times that you are not alone and that you feel loved rather then isolated.

    I’m praying for you Britt. I’m praying for your family and I’m praying for your brother.

  20. Charlie says:

    Cecily’s husband here, first-time posting. I’ve had several friends who’ve served time, one currently. I don’t know the details of your brother’s situation and I am not a spiritual person, so I’m just going to say I hope he has solid representation. A good attorney can work wonders. Extending good thoughts to you and your family.

  21. Dave2 says:

    I was so very sorry to hear this. Take care of yourself. Take care of each other.

  22. I’m not surprised that you jumped on a plane. You guys are FAMILY in every way.

    I promise you that I will pray for all of you. Healing, peace and the strength to handle whatever is going to come of this.

  23. Nyt says:

    What do well-wishers pray for? Well, we pray that the pain dulls to an ache, that strength can be sent through thought, that support comes without the cost of blame and recrimination. We pray that the long-haul isn’t as long as it looks from here. We pray that somehow the children will be insulated from the madness, that the roller-coaster that is the legal system will be kind rather than cruel. We pray..

  24. Erin says:

    awww honey. big hugs. very big hugs.

  25. anymommy says:

    I’m so sorry that your family is going through this. I’ll hope for peace of mind, for fair, wise government officials.

  26. Britt,

    I’m so very, very sorry honey.
    no words can bring you comfort but, my prayers and my love are with you and your family right now.

  27. Corina says:

    Brit: I am thinking of you and hoping you find peace. I hope that you and your family find strength, find hope, find resolution. Much love to you and your family.

  28. Janelle says:

    I prayed that you and your family have a sense of peace throughout all this. A sense of hope. Some sort of feeling of comfort that can’t be explained.

    I pray that people understand that your brother isn’t defined by what he was arrested for… like with every other human being, there is a story and a complex history that causes us to do one thing versus another. None of us, including your brother, should ever be defined by one headline… we are all so much more. I pray the people in your hometown understand that and don’t judge, but instead offer comfort and understanding.

  29. lettergirl says:

    Keep loving him with the fierceness of a tigress, Britt. The people who matter will, too. I will pray, for growth in the midst of this. For grace. For strength.

  30. Mary Jo says:

    I’m sorry. It’s good though that you are there, helping your mom and Creed with your love and support. I will say a prayer for you all, for God to give you strength.

  31. Bridget says:

    I’ve never commented here before, but I wanted to say that I do pray. And when I tell you I’m going to pray, I write it down. And I pray when I read it, and I pray when I think of you during the day. And when I wake up in the middle of the night with someone on my mind. And I mean it. And when I don’t know what to pray, I just say a name over and over like a mantra. Britt. Britt. Britt. Britt. Jay. Britt. Jay. Britt. Jay. Her mom. Britt. Creed. Britt. Jay. Jay. Jay. It may sound stupid, but when I don’t know what to say or what to do, repetition is what I cling to. God knows. You don’t need words to talk to God.

  32. I am so sorry, Britt. I remember those robberies..in the last year I’ve lived in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines. Charlie is right..a good lawyer can help. I’m praying that it will all be alright. I’m praying that you all will find strength and peace as you go through this. I wish I could take it all away for you, I wish I could fix it. Much love, S

  33. Jessica says:

    I’m going to pass a few very important, yet powerful words, especially since you mention “change” quite frequently. I pray this helps you and your family find peace within the storm Britt, and when you find it hard to pray, just continue to repeat these words and then you WILL find the strength to pray, so simple but powerful: “Prayer changes things” !.. Hugs to you from a former parish parishoner of St. Pat’s in Iowa… May you feel the warmth of those who care about you while your heart feels cold and sad…

  34. Hilly says:

    I think we pray for you to find those moments of laughter, to revel in your togetherness and/or anything else that might help you all get through the shock and pain.

    I wish I could be there with you all and offer some sort of comfort or laughter but know that I will be here when you get back for whatever you need.

  35. Miss Grace says:

    Ohmy but I’m sorry sweetness.

  36. Oh, Britt. Oh, God. I’m so sorry. I’m just so sorry.

    My love to you and your family.

  37. Kim says:

    I’m sorry Britt. Nothing I can do or say will change anything, just know that I’m here, and I’m keeping you, your brother and the rest of your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  38. My heart goes out to you and your family, especially your sweet Mom. May you find the strength to get through this. Everything you’re feeling though? Totally normal. Love you.

  39. martymankins says:

    Britt, so sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with you and your family at this time.

  40. Chibi Jeebs says:

    Yes, really. I’ve never been much for praying, but this past year – all of you amazing people I’ve gotten to “know” – has changed my mindset: if me taking 2 minutes out of my day to offer up some kind of prayer stands the slightest chance of helping, of making a difference, I’ll do it. And I’ll keep doing it.

    You ARE all in my thoughts and prayers, and you’ll stay there. Love you.

  41. Melissa says:

    i’m sure some people say “i’ll pray” and never do and other say it and other say it and do. i prayed for you, Jared, Devin, and Emma this morning before reading this..and now i am including your mom, Creed, and Jay.

    this not a situation with “normal” words of empathy…so it is hard to know what to say and what to pray.

    know that your brother’s actions run deeper than “needing money”…maybe the first time was out of desperation, but my meager understanding is it becomes more of an adrenaline type of rush. just because he made bad decisions doesn’t mean he is a bad person.

    you can be pissed at him…frustrated at him…but in the end you will still love him…and he loves you.

    i’m sorry this is happening to you and your family.

  42. I did say a prayer. For strength, and peace through your chaos. And I will continue to pray for you and your family, for whatever it’s worth.

    And I hope that everything settles. Eventually.

  43. angi says:

    my heart breaks for you. We will pray. Pray for strength, peace, and love to get you to a better place. Pray for understanding and comfort to return to your lives. It won’t happen soon, but it will happen. It’s as you said, this change is not permanent.

  44. Poppy says:

    It’s going to be ok.

    Probably not today, but it will be.

    And at least now he has stopped and is still safe.

  45. I’m so sorry Britt.

    I am praying for peace and strength for your family.

    I second what Janelle said. So true.

    Much love to you and yours.

  46. Muskrat says:

    What awful news to get…I’m sure the feeling of being powerless to fix it is among the most troubling of the emotions y’all are having now.
    I too think most people say one thing and do another when they claim to be thinking and praying for a friend, but that’s not the case for me ( with you or Anissa, anyway…as for the rest of the Internets…).
    Incidentally, I do know an atty in Iowa I could call for y’all if need be.

  47. I am so sorry to hear this! You’ve had so much strength over the past year! Hugs to you and your family.

    This is going to sound trivial right now, but I know how you feel. I was 29, when I found out my older sister was arrested for running a brothel and marrying a Yemeni national to get him citizenship. My sister could very well be someone who helpthe terrorists before 9/11. It blindsides you. If you need anything…….

  48. yknot says:

    Hire the Best Criminal Defense Atty. Want to know who that is? Ask @avitable to make a couple of phone calls (lawyers will tell other lawyers things they Won’t tell the public), or a clerk in the courthouse. Since he’s Confessed, it’s going to be an uphill battle all the way; but a plea deal might still be possible.

    The 2nd piece of Advice is going top be the Hardest: until you know Why he did this- Don’t try to Bail him out! If he was doing this to feed a Drug habit, the chances are good he will take off and the court WILL take whatever Bail you put up (including property!) Brother or no. Drugs change people- you can talk to a person but you can’t talk to an Addict.

    The last piece of Advice is Personal: Don’t Blame Yourselves! This isn’t a family failing, unless all of you like to go do it! Folks making Bad decisions is nothing new- Ask @avitable, I bet he has a bunch of stories. Be supportive, Don’t talk to the Media! and know that the situation will resolve itself independently of anything you do. That’s my 2 cents- Take My Advice- I’m Not using it! Much Love!

  49. ballerinatoes says:

    Baby, I don’t know what to say. Love to you and your family. He’s your brother, always will be, no matter what. I have things I want to say, but just can’t put them together to make sense. Will leave it at I know your pain. Be strong. XOXO.

  50. Heather B. says:

    Ok, so I’ve been where you are before. With the news reports and being told that one of your siblings will definitely be going to prison and people who don’t know you thinking they know more about someone you love based on a few lines in the paper. Believe I know.

    This means nothing now but it will get better and easier and tomorrow it will be some other person’s brother on the front page. I’m really sorry, Britt.

  51. jodifur says:

    There are no words to make this better for you. Someone once said to me, the only way out is through. I think you need to feel what you feel to get to the other side. There are no right feelings in this scenario.

    And this is like a death. It is the death of the person you knew. I am so, so sorry.

  52. Malia says:

    I pray for peace of mind, so that you can have clarity in thought and in decisions to be made.

    I pray for peace of body, so that you may find rest.

    I pray for peace of heart & soul so that you may have comfort.

    I pray that you will feel God’s presence in your life in very tangible ways. Through encouragement and sympathies, through friends you come through for you with meals, shoulders to cry on, booze, humor, anything that helps ease the burden even a little bit. Through lawyers and counselors and law enforcement officials who will treat you with respect, give you the answers you seek and take compassion on your family.

    I pray for your brother’s safety. That he be treated well and that justice is served fairly and quickly. I pray that there will be lenience.

  53. the wino says:

    Sending you peace and more Tequila, lady. All my best.

  54. Kimmad says:

    I’m so sorry Britt. I have nothing else to offer but support and prayers for you and your family. My heart is breaking for you.

  55. Caroline says:

    I am so sorry Britt. I’m so glad you are there and you all can begin to figure this all out together. Nothing else really matters right now. Be well, find peace, so much love to you.

  56. Nancy says:


    My heart breaks for you. One of the hardest things in life is to watch people we love make stupid, shitty choices or do hurtful things to others. You, of all people, have an immense ability to love and that, my dear, is a gift he and your family needs right now. Hold on to each other. Love as fiercely as you ever have and get him the best attorney he can afford.

    I love you kiddo.

  57. Miss says:

    I’m so sorry this is happening. But I think that you being there, as much as you might feel somewhat useless, is helping you and your family more than you know.

  58. Knowing what to ask God is one of my biggest stumbling blocks. Waiting for the answer is another. But I will pray that you all are enveloped by some sort of peace in the days ahead.

  59. Finn says:

    We pray for strength and peace for you all. We pray for the easiest possible road for you on this journey. We pray that you get extra blessings somewhere else to make up for the hurt you’re feeling.

    We pray because there is nothing else we can do. And yes, we really do. Believe that.

  60. Laurie says:

    Sometimes home is where we need to be, and it’s usually at the most challenging times. I wish you all the strength you need and the best possible outcome for your brother.

  61. pgoodness says:

    Oh goodness. I saw your tweet yesterday and I was worried about you – I know this is horrible, but I’m sort of glad this is the reason you’re in Iowa – that it’s not something worse. I mean, I know it’s horrible and sucks, but I’m just glad everyone is healthy if that makes any sense.

    Anyway, thinking of you and yours.

  62. kim says:

    All I can say is I’m sorry your family is dealing with this. And I’m praying you find your way through this with love and grace.

  63. Nat says:

    Harsh… I hope you get love, support and help you need to get through this.

  64. Britt-I am so sorry that your family has been turned upside down right now. Praying for you all. For wisdom, guidance, and mostly for peace.

  65. My heart hurts for your whole family. I have been in a similar place. It’s almost like losing a sibling, though they are still alive, you don’t know who they are anymore. Not sure there is anything that can help, but I am thinking of you and praying.

  66. Sybil Law says:

    I do actually say a prayer (and did, too. Actually I will pray more..). In this case, I prayed for your family to have strength to handle whatever comes. It is hard to know what else to ask for, but I hope that whatever you (your brothers, your mom) need, comes, or happens.

  67. Cara says:

    I can’t imagine what this is like. But, I know that sometimes just being there is all you can do. Of course you came home, and of course it matters. Also, as a lawyer, I think yknot has given some very good advice. (And its sleeting in central Florida, so you’re seriously not missing much here. We’re hibernating today, and I’m sure your lovely family is doing the same.)

  68. Lisa says:

    I’m a fairly new reader here and haven’t commented much, but I wanted to take a moment to say that you and your family are in my thoughts. I have a brother struggling with legal trouble right now and it is hard. We all want to be there for him and do what we can but have had to come to grips with the fact that there isn’t much to do. So we support him, we are here for him and we are here for each other, that is all we can do and it is so important to him and us. So, even if you feel like you aren’t doing anything you are, just being there for him is doing something.

  69. donna says:

    I can’t even imagine how you and your family are feeling now. Just know I’m thinking about you.

  70. Of course I pray when I say I am gonna. Right then and there. Then as often as I think of that person or their situation. Because I really don’t know how to pray, I just tell God that I trust that He knows every hair on your head so I ask that He take care of you, be with you and hold you…that He grant you what you need to deal with and get through the situation. I thank Him that it was not worse and ask him again to hold you and love you. And then I ask that He help me be available when needed and grant me the understanding needed for the situation. Pretty much just do that over and over because He knows better than I do what needs to be done.

    Sending so much love to you all.

  71. vodkamom says:

    I am sending you some love right now. I have a little brother that I adore. And you know what, no matter what happens, you still love them with all your heart.


  72. lceel says:

    I prayed. And I pray. For God to give you and all of yours strength and courage. You’re all going to need all you can muster, going forward. And peace.

  73. melanie says:

    I am so sorry your family is going through this right now. I want you to know that when I say I will pray, I do. I have six people on the internet that do not even know I exist that I sit down at night and ask God to ease their pain, give them strength..heal.

    Your family will be in my prayers tonight.

  74. thepsychobabble says:

    I love that the rest of you were able to band together, and still find laughter, in the midst of such an earth-shaking revelation.
    I don’t know what else to say. I’m sorry.

  75. Robina says:

    I ask God to give those in need the strength to get through.

    I’m so very, very sorry your family has to go through this pain.

  76. Michelle says:

    So many good thoughts coming to you and your family. I hope that you find some peace through this crazy time and that you continue to laugh. ((hugs))

  77. SciFi Dad says:

    Fuck, Britt, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what else to say.

  78. Stephanie says:

    I will be praying. I know you are like me in that you take the problem on yourself, try to fix it, try to worry it away. The scariest part is over, he was caught, but he is alive, he didn’t hurt anyone (physically), and he didn’t get physically harmed. So now the sticky part, the fight begins. I know through your blog and reading you for a long time that your family is tight, very tight. The 3 of your will lean on each other, and support each other. With Jared, the kids, Adam, Hilly, Faqia and everyone else to hold you all up. Keep showing him you love him, keep praying. Because just when we think that God isn’t listening, if we really stop and think, He is. He kept Jay safe. He is the same brother he always was, just with some things that need healed. I hope and pray that Jay can get the help he needs. We here in Indiana will be praying for all of you. The over-thinking and worrying will slowly run you down to nothing, Britt. Try, try very hard to give the situation to God, and just be there for whatever Jay needs. Hugs and much love you you, Britters.

  79. Headless Mom says:

    I’m in the “fuck, I don’t know what to say” category, but know that I’m sending my prayers your way for comfort, strength, and peace amidst unbelievable circumstances.

    And for what it’s worth? I’d have been on a plane too. Being that far away would have killed me.

  80. leenie says:

    really truly am sitting quietly sending up thoughts of peace for you and your family. i’m so sorry.

  81. Dawn says:

    Oh, man. What can I say that the previous 81 haven’t already said? I ditto them. ((hugs))

  82. bluepaintred says:

    Im sorry Britt. Very sorry

  83. Mr Lady says:

    I am so sorry. So so so sorry.

  84. Rhonda says:

    I really do have an idea what you are going through, and I truly will send up a prayer for your family. wow.

  85. Robin says:

    Sometimes you just have to go where your body takes you….and your body took you back home. And at the end of the day, one breath at a time will turn into one step at a time, then one hour at a time, then one day at a time. From first hand experience with this sort of thing, you guys will get through it…slowly but surely, but you will.

    I am sure that you have more than enough support in Iowa and in Florida, but I am here if you ever want to chat.


  86. SwanShadow says:

    Hokey smoke, Bullwinkle.

    What a load to deal with, Britt.

    You and your family are definitely in my prayers — for strength, for courage, and for peace.

  87. Kathy Friend says:

    Britt – I can’t begine to know how you feel – but I can kind of relate. The best man from my first marriage is in jail right now for robbing banks. He was a cop – turned lawyer – turned bank robber. At one time, he appeared on the FBI most wanted list.

    Thinknig and praying for you, your brother and your family.

  88. Lexi says:

    All I can say is that I’m so sorry to hear this. As for what to pray for…God knows what you need better than YOU do. If you don’t know what to say, a cry of “Help me/us/him, God” is prayer enough.

  89. Oh my god, that’s terrible. I’m so sorry. ((hugs))

  90. habanerogal says:

    I just want to say that you and your entire family are in my thoughts. at least he is alive focus on the positive

  91. Beth says:

    Aw man life is so strange! I won’t say I will pray for you, because I am not the praying type. But, just know that time heals everything. Sending positive vibes your way!

  92. I can’t even imagine what it is like right now. Speaking with a shred of experience here…you did the best thing. You went home. You shored up. You posted pictures of the sweet brother you know. No one is 100% anything. You have shown the world that the newspaper reports don’t tell the whole story.

    I am truly sorry. Truly.

  93. TSM_Oregon says:

    The first thing I thought when I read the title was that you had something funny to say like “woman caught breastfeeding someone else’s baby” or something. I join everyone else in saying I am SO SORRY for what you are going through.

    You have a huge amount of crap to wade through in the coming months. HUGE. And I am stopping now and saying REAL prayers to a REAL God (lemmetellya, I oughta know!) who works miracles. Seriously. I’m still married. That’s a friggin miracle. My prayers? The Bible says that what the devil intends for evil, God can turn around and make good. That’s why people say something good has to come out of difficult circumstances.

    If he truly did this, there were reasons that probably have little to do with money. Of course, I’m praying first that it’s all a big mistake and they have the wrong guy.

    More than anything, I just pray for peace for you and your family, to know that there are things you will likely never understand, but just keep loving him and each other and the answers will come. I promise you they will. Many hugs from Oregon.

  94. RW says:

    Am holding you and your family in the Light. That works better than prayers. :-)

  95. Emily says:

    This made me cry. I’m praying for you and your family and your little brother. I have a little brother who is 23 so this just breaks my heart. Wishing you and your family strength, hope, love and all the best.

  96. Darla says:

    Hi Britt, I’m praying and have been praying – I promise. {hugs}

  97. Maria says:

    I’m really sorry, Britt.

  98. Karen says:

    I am praying for strength and peace for your whole family. Sharing this story had to be incredibly hard. But as you always do, you have taught us all a huge lesson. We often forget that every person “in the paper” is someone’s son, brother, friend and/or father.

  99. Britt — Not sure what I can say other than hang tough for yourself and your family. Take care. Please.

  100. liv says:

    i’m so sorry you’re all going through this. i know it’s tough for people to think of something to say when they’re flummoxed by a situation. all i can tell you is that having gotten a call that someone in my family had done an unspeakable thing which later became (seriously) a court tv special, i get it. there’s a weird holding pattern of emotions that enters the room. truly, there is but one way here: and that is through. you’ll get through this. there are many people out here to hold you up, to say nothing of the love of your precious family. peace, britt.

  101. Bo says:

    Change. Absosmurfly.

    Remember that people are complex, and that all the people who, over the next several months, will try to simplify Jay are seeing the person they want and need to see. They won’t want to see the uncle of a beautiful five-year-old girl. Your job is to remember that person, and to remind Jay that that person still exists.

    Take care.

  102. Oh Britt, what a shock for you all. Fuck what the papers say, he is your brother. I am so glad you are with your family and laugh, cry, whatever it takes to get through this. I really do pray when I say I do, so I am sending my prayers over to you ALL.

  103. carrie says:

    Geez, that is a whole bunch of suckery! Hang in there & best of luck for all of you.

  104. Al_Pal says:

    Ahhh, lordy. *HUGS*
    I just found out recently that a friend’s brother went to prison. I had met him.
    I’d be happy to tell you more in not-public. ;p

    I [pray/send good vibes] for people. and I really do take a moment, close my eyes, and, depending on the situation, think healing/relaxing energies toward them and/or their loved ones, or ask god/the universe to keep them safe, to take away some pain, to give strength, to have perspective, to make it through this day/week/month/year…


  105. mel says:

    You being there is far from useless. Had you not been there, your mom wouldn’t have laughed. You wouldn’t have laughed. Together as a family you will bring eachother stregnth during the other’s weakness. Your family will be in my thoughts. I’m hoping for rehabilitation of some sort vs “years”. You and your family are amazing, I hope your brother is feeling that love.

  106. A real prayer was offered.

    A prayer for peace for you, for him, for your family.

    I wish I could do more Britt.

  107. Renee says:

    Oh Britt, hugs to you and your family. So sorry to hear about this turn of events. You will get through this.

  108. teebopop says:

    Virtual hugs. Real prayers.

  109. I’m so sorry to hear this…I’ve been a long lurker of your blog…sending you and your family hugs and prayers…

  110. Lynda says:

    There are all kinds of ways for a family to hurt. I am thinking good thoughts for you and yours.

    I bet your mom is glad to have you there, even if you do feel helpless.

  111. Honeybell says:

    I am so sorry. My husband’s best friend, a man who has been a brother to him for years is currently serving time for bank robbery. I adore this man, and would trust him with my life, my children’s lives. It’s so hard to reconcile THAT PERSON with the man I know and love. You’ll get through it, and so will he.

  112. Teri says:

    Sorry for what you & your family are facing. You’ll be in my thoughts.

  113. jessica says:

    Hi — I’ve been reading you for a while (I’m friends with Hilly), but have never commented. Until now.

    First, I’m just so sorry.

    Second — sometimes… good people… just do stupid, crappy things… and there really isn’t an explanation… and it is okay to still love them, and it is okay to still understand the GOOD pieces of those people (ie, your bro holding your baby), despite whatever stupid decisions they may have made.

    when I was 16, my uncle came out of the closet on the 6 o’clock news — married w/ 2 cihldren – because he’d been arrested for soliciting an undercover cop. And for incorporating a male prostituion ring in the Mpls area.

    Mad, sad, confused, stressed, angry, frustrated…. but still… not a bad person… just a person who made some REALLY stupid decisions in moments of confusion.

    Hang in there…


  114. NYCWD says:

    It sucks that you have to go through this.

    It reminds me in each of us, there are two natures at war. While yes indeed we have the power to choose, our choice affects more than just ourselves.

    On the bright side, I have a recipe for a pineapple upside down cake I’ve been dying to try out and I can think of no better reason.


  115. Nenette says:

    OMG, I’m so so sorry, Britt.

  116. Faiqa says:

    Gandhi said, “Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul.”

    I have no words. Only a distinct longing for your family’s happiness… So, yes, I’m praying, nearly constantly.

  117. Ann says:

    So sorry Brit. Wish there were something more I could do or say,Just know you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Especially Jay I think he is going to need them most.

  118. RebeccaLand says:

    Best to you and your loved ones.

  119. Selma says:

    What a very, very hard thing to deal with. Wishing you strength and the ability to get through this. Thinking of you. And praying.

  120. sisjake says:

    Lean on your friends; we are here for you.

  121. Elliott Ng says:

    OMG. Hang in there.

  122. Sarah says:

    Britt, I’m so sorry. And I’m praying, too. That you all will feel some degree of how very loved you are, and that that will be comforting. And that answers better than those we can see right now will come.
    Love, love, love.

  123. I saw this on the news ticker recently, but never in a million years would I have thought it would be anyone I *know*.

    What will I be praying for, you ask?

    * That you, your mom, and Creed have STRENGTH to deal with this.
    * That your brother Jay Michael has FAITH in the process and knows that he will be punished.
    * That all of you will gain UNDERSTANDING as to why this happened.
    * That someday you can all have PEACE and know that you did everything you could to stick together.

    I’m so sorry you are going through this. I can’t imagine what this must be like, and I appreciate you opening yourself (and your blog) up to all of us and allowing us to help you get through this.

  124. melissa says:

    i don’t know what to say that would give you any sense of comfort. i’m just sending you thoughts and hugs.

  125. I am so very, very sorry. Stay strong.

  126. Praying hard. So very sorry Britt.

  127. chance says:

    Just keep reading this line from the news story— ” A weapon was not displayed in any of them”.

    I cannot imagine facing this situation, but the knowledge that he did not point a gun at a single person would be more than consoling to me. Sure he did something very very stupid, and he will have to face his choices, but he never pointed a weapon at someone.

    peace to you and yours.

  128. Jennie says:

    I’m thinking of you, and you’re entire family.

  129. slynnro says:

    So sorry Britt. Cannot even imagine wrapping my brain around such news.

  130. Tonz says:

    I’m so sorry. We get strength from our family so it’s good to go home. It’s so hard being away from your family during tough times. Together, you are a united front for Jay.

  131. Jennifer A says:

    I am sorry to hear. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. And I do mean that.

  132. Amy says:

    My heart breaks for you and your family. I only have one brother. He is 6 years younger than me. He chose some wrong paths for awhile – - got into a lot of trouble with the police, etc. It does break your heart when there’s nothing you can really do but “be there” for him. I know you may feel hopeless but you being there for him just to even listen does help. I’m thinking of you and your family and will say a prayer for you and a prayer for your brother. Hugs to you.

  133. Raven says:

    I was directed to this, that it might be something that could help…I just found out that my little brother is in prison for armed robbery.

    I know how lost you feel…how it doesn’t make sense…how you can’t get your head around how this happened…how he could go through with something like that…unfortunately, we are not alone.

  134. Hang in there. It sucks. You will all get through this.

  135. So many prayers being sent up. For you – for your Momma, Creed and especially Devin and Emma – they WILL have questions.

    Remember – love conquers all.. Remind Jay that you love him, even if he knows – remind him.

  136. Cecily says:

    I do stop and pray for anyone i say i’m going to – usually right then and there, so i don’t forget.
    And when i don’t know what to pray *for*, exactly, i pray that God’s will will be done in a way that allows the best possible outcome for all, and that those involved will feel his love, his comfort, and that they will be blessed by exactly the support they need, exactly when they need it.
    And that is what i just prayed for you and yours.

    It is so hard to not be able to help or fix things for those we love.

  137. Dawn says:

    I can’t stop thinking about you… and about Jay… and about the rest of your family. And I find myself Googling things, hoping they found someone else — someone else who did those things instead of Jay.

    I’m still thinking about you.

  138. NaysWay says:

    Dammit, Britt. I am so, so, so sorry. It will not help to empathize, but I can relate and wish there was something we could all say or do. Words fail. If I could find you and hug you without freaking you out, you know I would.

  139. To say this sucks is the understatement of all understatements. I’m so sorry.

    Here’s what I’m going to be praying (and yes, I really will be);
    I pray that the senselessness of this doesn’t rob your family of the bonds that keep you as one. That confusion and fear and discouragement won’t win, and that the love you have for each other will be the force that keeps you afloat if sinking under the weight of this starts to feel easier. Mostly, I pray that God will show Himself to you in new ways during this time, and that you will feel His loving arms wrapped around you, comforting you.


  140. Iron Fist says:

    I am sorry to hear this, Britt. Best wishes to you and your family.

  141. Kellyn says:

    Thinking of your family, praying for you with so much. It is an awful thing your family is going through.

  142. Shiny says:

    Prayer is a funny thing — as it means so many different things to different people. For some it is an open declaration, and for others it is something very personal between a person and his/her higher power. Some view prayer as a supplication; others are simply offers of Thanksgiving.

    I pray that others can see and follow the example of your strength and courage during this time — as well as the bond you have with your family during trying times like this. It takes a hell of a person to simply pick up and go and offer of herself where needed. I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now, but I know that what you’re doing is the right thing.

    I pray that others can learn by the example of a wonderful, caring community who offers their own prayers and thoughts for you and your family.

    And I pray that we can continue to see this wonderful dedication to your family during happy times (as we’ve seen many times before). There is a tradition within the Jewish community when, after gathering for a tragedy, someone prays/wishes/hopes the phrase “only simchas.” Meaning that the next gathering should be for a happy occasion. And I pray that this wonderful community of support will be just as vocal to celebrate with you at that time.

    This was a bit long and duplicates some of what has already been said; sorry about that.

  143. Laurie says:

    Britt- You are strong, and I know you and your family will find comfort, peace and support in each other. We are all here if you need anything too. I am so sorry.

  144. I’m sorry your family is going through this Britt. But, you did the right thing by going up there to be with your mom during this time.

  145. Penny says:

    Have been reading you for 4 years and never commented.
    I DID just pray for you. I prayed that God would hold you and your family in his arms and lessen the pain of this time. I’m sorry, I just believe that when things are this rotten, all you can pray for is for God to numb you until He can make it better.
    I will continue to lift you and your family up in prayer…Penny Winstead, North Carolina

  146. Tonz says:

    I had to comment again because I was thinking about you last night. I just can’t imagine how hard this must be. But I know that you and your family will find the strength, together.

    I am not religious and don’t pray but you are in my thoughts and am sending all the hugs and support I can.

  147. Ginger says:

    I am so very sorry, Britt. Thinking of you.

  148. Karen Murphy says:

    Oh, honey. Sending you hugs. That moment when everything you knew before disappears and all that’s left is a dizzying black hole of terrifying uncertainty has got to be one of the worst feelings humans can have. I’m wishing you all that you need to move through this time in your life, mourning what you have lost and accepting what it is you have, however that ends up looking. From waving at you over at Work it Mom I know that you’re an amazing, intelligent, caring woman. Sending you my spiritual big guns to hold you and your family in a space of love or whatever you need.

  149. LAB says:

    Just wanted to let you know that there are many, many people (much like myself) who love your blog and are sending good thoughts your way.

    Best wishes. You are not alone.


  150. Wishing I could somehow snap my fingers and make this go away for you. Wishing, also, that I had the words to make you feel even a little better. So, I will keep sending love in your family’s direction and I will say some prayers. Right now. Prayers that you have the strength you need to get through this.

  151. NewfieHun says:

    I just want to vomit. My “baby brother” (10 years my junior) was recently convicted & did time for selling crack. He was/is an addict. He managed to get a short sentence and has since been released & is working full time, and, as far as we know, not using drugs.
    I can feel the pain as I read your post. My brother lived.in.my.house.
    I love him, but I’ll never be able to trust him again. It makes me sad.

    I can’t tell you how to deal with it, or what to do, or anything profound. I can tell you that no one can condemn you for loving your brother, regardless of his shitty, shitty choices.

  152. The last thing you could possibly give a crap about but it’s in the fine print that I tell you that I gave you an award.

  153. Jill says:

    Oh, Britt. My heart is breaking for you and your family right now. I saw your Tweet last week about your heart being shattered and wondered what was going on. I don’t know what to say other than the I hope the support you get from your readers and your other online friends helps heal your broken heart, even if just a little bit.

  154. Dawn says:

    Britt -
    I can’t imagine how you feel right now. As a word person It’s hard to find a few words that might offer some consolation. My prayer is for healing. What’s done can’t be undone, so moving forward as best you can is all there is. I pray for healing for you and your family.

  155. Laurin says:

    Britt, I’m so, so sorry about all of this. In my years of practicing criminal law I handled many similar cases. I still can’t get one young man out of my mind after all this time. He robbed 10+ Subway stores and his family was just bewildered and shocked. When your family starts talking to lawyers and the prosecutor, give me a call if you have any questions. I’m so sorry.

  156. SuvvyGirl says:

    I think in some ways 2010 is confused it’s supposed to be 2009. There have been big things that have happened to myself and a lot of others that I know. And I the walking fortune cookie to many don’t have any words of “wisdom”. All I can say is *hugs*

  157. BarbaraB says:


    I am sooo sorry that your family is going through this.

    Please know that I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  158. Sarcastica says:

    I am so sorry to hear that Britt. Hugs from Canada my dear! Keep strong! xoxo

  159. mommymae says:

    thinking of you and your family.

  160. Slyde says:


    holy shit.


    im so sorry your family has to go thru this…

  161. Britt,

    I am praying for you and your family.

    Good people make dumb decisions all the time. Your brother is lucky that he has family that loves him and will help him the best way they can, by standing by him and letting him know he is loved.


  162. Oh Britt, I am so sorry. I am thinking of you and your family and keeping you all in my thoughts.

  163. I am so very sorry. My heart aches for your pain. But I also know that there is light in every situation and in every day, and that light is in here somewhere. Somewhere…

  164. mare says:

    What to pray for? Mercy. Old fashioned mercy.

  165. Patti says:

    I’m thinking of you all during this tough, and confusing time. Hoping you can all find peace and comfort in the middle of this storm.

  166. schmutzie says:

    This weblog is being featured on Five Star Friday – http://www.fivestarfriday.com/2010/01/five-star-fridays-edition-87.html

    Also, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. My thoughts are with your family.

  167. Jeannie says:

    I found your blog through a RT from fidget on twitter. I read your post right after it was posted and want you to know that I have thought about you every day since. I have come back every day to see how you were doing and I also added you to my twitter account. For me praying is more like keeping someone in my thoughts. I can’t help but feel a deep sense of sorrow for you even though I don’t know you. I hope that, through time, your entire family heals. Including your brother.

  168. amy2boys says:

    I’m so sorry. I will pray for him and for your famiy. For mercy, peace, understanding.

  169. I am sorry for you and your family. Sometimes people face very dark times. Your brother must have been in a very dark place as so many people have been over the last two years. Try not to judge but just be there for him. Everyone makes mistakes and hoepfully he will have a chance to turn his life around.

    Sadie at heymamas

  170. Elaine says:

    wow, I can only imagine the range of emotions you are having right now. It’s SO hard when close family members disappoint us. I’m so sorry. Thinking of you and your family…

  171. Dejoni says:

    Just found your blog via Barefoot Foodie and wanted to let you know that I feel your pain. My brother did the same exact thing several years ago and it was heartbreaking for my parents and me. Hang in there.

  172. Joshua says:

    I saw him new years eve.

    I miss him everyday.

  173. Mary says:

    I grew up in that area. I am so sorry to hear about this. Don’t pay attention to what people write in the comments of the papers. I read the Press Citizen online and most of those people who comment seem like they have no life.

    *HUGS* My thoughts are with you and your family.

« « Perfection. Which is funny, because I have no ending. | Like Yin and Yang On LSD, I Think. » »