What can happen in a second: The story of loosing my brother to violence

Jason & MeAs many of you know, I own a small anti-bullying anti-violence company in Chicago. I dedicate my work to my late brother Jason Peagram. He died at a very young age. He was only 22 when his life was taken from us, on January 12, 2011.  Jason was a kind, funny, compassionate guy. He was loved by many (especially the ladies). He was a loyal friend, an athlete, a boxer, an all around cool guy. Jason was still young enough to be irresponsible but old enough to learn from his mistakes.

Jason had big dreams and an entrepreneurial spirit. Even though he was in college, school was not his thing. He would tell me ” There are bigger things out there for me sis!” As a strong believer in education, I would push him into pursuing school. It would be a useless conversation and we both would end up frustrated. He was bold, strong, and often stubborn. He had his dreams of building a moving company and partnering up with a marketing company to promote events and parties. We never saw eye to eye on his career or education, but looking back I should have been less stubborn and one-sided. For the past three years, I mourned his death. There are many regrets I hold deep in my heart.  Today, I want to share some of them because our lives can change in a second.

All The Things I Wish I Would Have Done or Said to Jason:

Jason, I wish I would have called you more. I wish I would have shared more about my life and told you stories about what I learned in my twenties. Often, I would call and pretend that I was great. I would not share some of the challenges that I faced as an adult. I wish I would have been more truthful about what was actually going on in my life. I was always so hopeful and pretended my life was great. I should have shared with you my struggles with finances, my lack of self-confidence, my lack of clarity on what I wanted to do with my life, my concerns about dating, being lonely, etc… I just pretended my life was great. We lost many good conversations by not being real to each other! 

Jason, I wish I would have invited you to visit more or plan some fun family trips as adults. We were all in our twenties and we could have gone camping, traveling, or just hung out more. We did see each other but knowing what I know now, I would go back and plan more time to spend together.

Jason, I wish I would have really listened to you versus telling you what to do. As an older sibling, I felt I should share my thoughts but I really didn’t take your perspective into account. I wish I would have listened to your stories without an end game or interrupting. I would have learned more from you and saw the world through your eyes.

Jason, I wish I would have hugged you more. Just randomly hugged you as many times as I could. I miss hugging you! I wish I would have told you more often how much I loved you and how proud I was of you. Jason, I was so proud.

Jason, I wish God would have given me more time to do all the things I had planned. I wish I would have not been so busy with my life to reach out and take the time to spend with you. It was not fair you were taken away too soon. We all got caught up in our careers, relationships, and life. We forgot to check in with each other, love more, and fight less.

Jason, I hope you were looking over me when Hunter was born. It was a magical moment to be in that delivery room. Our mother was so happy and our sister was fascinated by the miracle of birth. She kept trying to get pictures and she was asking a gazillion questions to the doctors. The scene was between a parenthood and modern family episode. You would have laughed and cried all at the same time.

Jason, I hope you were looking down at us when our sister got married. She looked beautiful and happy. She lit a candle to remember you.  We were happy yet sad in that moment. We missed you terribly but I hope you got to see all the laughter, drama, and good old fashion dancing.

Having a sister or brother is an amazing experience. Siblings spend their childhood and teenage years growing up together. Those moments I cherish and I hope to one day give my daughter a brother or sister, so she can experience the love of a sibling. I can’t turn back time, undo the fights, or make up for the missed opportunities. I can’t give us more time or rewrite the past but what I can do is share what I wish would have been different and hope that you spend some time thinking about how you can be more present with the ones you love.

So put down your phones, stop texting, or posting your every move on Facebook when you are with your siblings.  Be more present, be there with them. Talk to each other versus talking at each other. Don’t waste time trying to appear perfect or under control, we are flawed and we could learn something from each other when we are real. Hug each other more and say I love you! Don’t be stubborn and learn to apologize. Say I am sorry and mean it . Don’t waste time competing but appreciate each other. Stop the drama and gossip. Words hurt even as adults. Be kind and compassionate to the ones you love.

My brother’s life was taken from him in a second. I wish I could take away that second, re-write history but I can’t. All I can do is share my story to make you think for a second about your brother or sister. So take this story and think about how you can reconnect with them!

To read more about how my brother’s life changed in a second please click on the link below here:


“To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.” – Clara Ortega

Until Next Time…




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  • You are not alone in having these feelings. After my mother died suddenly, I realized many things I would have done differently - including most in your list. I know she's forgiven me and that gives me comfort, but still, I wish . . .

  • In reply to Margaret Goss:

    Thanks for the note Margaret! Loss is so difficult and there is so much guilt and regret tied to it. All we can do is forgive ourselves and strive to be more present.

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