Today is my brother’s birthday. My brother died in a car accident on December 8, 2007. Sadly, my brother and I had a fight a few months before his death and had never made up. In fact, we never discussed it. We never got the chance to try to work through our problems.
I have been feeling extra emotional for the last few weeks and have been really meditating and thinking about loosing him. I know that writing this open letter to my brother will not fix the pain or fill the void or even allow me to work through the problems we were having. But maybe… just maybe it will bring me some closure and hopefully it will remind you guys to hold on to each other a little tighter.
To my brother Will:
Happy birthday, bro! I miss you so much. I wish you could meet your nieces. You would love them and they, of course, would absolutely adore you.
Although we would probably get into some spats about all the crap you would buy them. Don’t worry though Brooke is spoiling them enough as it is. You should have seen the pile of stuff they got for Christmas from her. You are not going to believe how grown up and responsible our sister is. She is like an actual adult. 🙂
You would also be impressed with how grown up and wonderful Jerry’s and Megan’s kids are (there is a good chance her boys would be able to almost beat you in wrestling).
Mom and Brooke will be over later and we will celebrate your birthday in true Will fashion hot and spicy chicken wings, cheesecake, and maybe even a glass or two of wine (because you know Mom and I don’t do beer).
I just want you to know that I think about you a lot especially when the girls make certain faces or act certain ways that remind me of you. Maddie points out your pictures to me and tells me that’s “Unk Wil” and even kisses it every time we are at Nana’s house.
I do wish things would have turned out differently. I wish we would have been able to talk more and work through some of our differences when you were alive. I see so many people who still have their brother(s) and it pains me to know that I didn’t appreciate the time we had together.
Why did I have to focus on the things that irritated me about you so much? Why did I always have to think about the consequences? Why could I not just enjoy some of your crazy antics more? Why did I have to compare you to our horrible “father” that day? What was I thinking?
I know what I was thinking. I thought that if you didn’t change some of your ways you were going to end up just like him. Deep down I have always feared that you or I would turn out like him because we spent so much time with him. And at that time you had so much going for you. You had survived cancer twice, had a beautiful fianceé, a good job, a chance to go back to school, your whole life was falling into place. And I was so scared you were going to be him. I was afraid you were going to drink too much, beat up on Ashley, lose your job, and be a good-for-nothing-person just like him. So I pushed you with my words and drove a wedge between us.
A wedge that we never got to remove or workout. I wish I could do that day over. Not that I wouldn’t bring up those things but I would have handled them better. I would not have verbally fought with you. I would have requested that we talk about those issues at a later date when you had not been drinking and we both had clearer heads. I really feel we could have worked out so many of our problems with each other if we just talked about them in calm tones instead of taking the cheap shots at each other during heated arguments. I guess hindsight really is 20/20, huh?
I am so sorry that we never got to work out our issues with each other. I am so sorry that I never told you I was sorry for saying you were just like our “father”. But I am mostly sorry for never telling you how much I appreciated you and loved you.
Your death has taught me a very important lesson albeit in a very hard way. I can not take anything for granted. I do not know when my time is up nor when the time of my loved ones will be up. I have to appreciate and love the people I’m with now because I never know when they might not be there anymore.
And I can honestly say that I do tell people I appreciate them more and that I love them. Thank you for teaching me to be more verbal with my love for others.
I even practice holding my tongue instead of flying off the handle with the first thing that pops into my head during disagreements. Thank you for teaching me to table discussions until everyone is in a better mood.
What I really want to thank you for is being my brother. Thank you for being my partner in crime when we were kids. Thank you for always having my back in school. Thank you for always knowing how to make everyone smile and laugh, especially mom (God knows she needed those laughs). Thank you for fiercely loving mom, Brooke, and I in your own way. You have no idea how much we needed your love.
Thank you for changing my heart and pushing me back and deeper towards God and religion. I was floating on the edges for so long and losing you pushed me back to God.
I love you and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that enough when you were alive.
My prayer to everyone reading this is that you will learn from my mistakes. Don’t hold on to anger, let it go. Don’t end relationships, with family especially, on a fight. Always table arguments until everyone has clear heads. Enjoy the simple, fun times with your family. Hug them tight. Tell them how much they mean to you. When in doubt, pray it out. Always turn to God for guidance.
Have a blessed day!