Well, baby, I survived another funeral I never thought I'd have to sit through. I wish so badly that you could have been next to me, holding my hand. Looking at all the pictures on the slideshow we made and through the funeral of our family, it struck me that there's not just one person missing - there are two. In just 9 short months, I've lost two members of my immediate family. What a huge hole is left in family pictures now. I felt the hole today as I said goodbye to Brian.
I watched the pallbearers carry the casket out of the church today, and noticed that the majority of them were family. My brother and my cousins - this is what made up a majority of Brian's closest circle. Family. This touched me today as I've drifted apart from my extended family. I've always loved my family, but we never went out of our way to spend time with them because let's face it: there's so many of them and when we all get together, there tends to be drama.
Today there was no drama. Just hugs, smiles, tears together, laughter, and love. Lots of love. I felt like a kid again with all my family at my parents house tonight. I walked in the house to see my aunt playing legos with Faith. I walked outside to my aunts, uncles, and cousins passing around Carter trying to get their turn to hold him for the first time. I taped my mom trying to help Caleb ride without training wheels for the first time. I joined half of my family - old and young alike - making pictures and a riding track out of sidewalk chalk on my parents drive. I listened to the loud and familiar sounds of the Valko women laughing and sharing stories. I passed the boys playing Euchre on the porch. It felt good. It felt right.
Somehow, over time, I've forgotten the value of my family. I grew up, moved out, surrounded myself with friends and you and I started our own family and I didn't feel like I needed them as much because I was independent. But I was reminded today, honoring Brian's life, how fragile life can be and how important family is. They healed my heart today.
I remember after spending time out in Brighton once, you telling me 'You really should make it a point to go out there more. You always have such a good time, I know how much you love being around your family.' Thank you for seeing that and being the kind of man to say so.
I missed you today. If we could have a break from loss until it's my turn, that'd be great.
I love you with all my heart.