Today, my brother Brian would have been 28.
Would have been. That past tense is killer. Just three words to make you come to screeching halt and realize he no longer is. It's hard to believe he's been gone for almost 17 months. Today I woke up thinking about Amy and all my friends that are suffering the loss of her husband Jim on Friday. Then my heart started aching for my mom & dad, brother Matt, and all the people Brian loved dearly.
All of sudden I realized that just more than 2 years ago I was just like everyone else. In just a short amount of time, I became a reference. A person who people think "I hope that never happens to me." I don't say that to gain pity...I say that out of the sheer shock that life can change at any moment. How did that become me? My friends and family haven't suffered enough loss?
I know that death is a part of life. And ultimately, death means that we have life. As I sit with friends grieving at Panera, or shopping for a funeral dress, or texting my parents and brother to let them know they're on my heart, or hearing the sounds of the last of Jim's family members coming into town and embracing one another in pure heartache - I am reminded that death is never far away.
Choose life. While you're here, choose to live. More importantly, choose to love. Or as my best friend Sarah so perfectly worded it: Make sure your default is love. Hold the ones you love a little tighter. Get rid of the distractions and follow through on promises. Keep your word. Keep in touch. Help a friend who needs it. Love without regret or restraint.
Love you, bro. Wish I could hug you and tell you in person. Know that you will never be forgotten and I promise your name will never be unfamiliar in our house. We love you and miss you dearly. Happy Birthday.
*****Don't forget that through the month of December, revenue collected from my blog will be donated to my dear friend Amy Lewis, who lost her husband suddenly last Friday. Each page impression will donate a small amount of money, so if we all keep clicking together, it will add up to a lot! Just since yesterday, we've raised over $2000 just in Paypal donations! Let's keep going! Please consider donating at the top left hand of the page to help ease the financial burden that Amy is facing. Thank you!*****