{Family} My Brother's Birthday

I've thought about this post for a few days now and finally decided to write it. It's not really for anyone but me, and maybe my family and friends (if they even read this).

Today would have been my brother's 34th birthday. He was taken from us 2 years ago this past May after a brief fight with cancer. I honestly still cannot believe it. I feel like it was yesterday when I got a call from him, telling me that he had cancer. I couldn't think straight. I couldn't believe that a 31 year old who was in great health could have cancer. Now I know many other stories of younger kids (some I know even in my town who continue to battle it) but then and there, I was shocked. I sat in my car, just have travelled the few miles from one student teaching position to another, talking to my brother about this fucked up disease.

There are a lot of details I won't go into on this blog. He wanted to keep things private and I granted him that wish as he fought his battle. I didn't even tell some of my friends. My whole family was devastated by this news. Our family has a bad history with cancer - it took my aunt who was maybe in her early 50's after just a few months fight, it took my grandmother, my grandfather (all on my dad's side). We all know people personally affected by cancer.

All I know is that we were robbed. We were robbed of my brother's life and how he should still be here with us, celebrating special events and holidays, spending time with Lily and our future little man, marrying his girlfriend, having his own kids, and doing what families do together. We were a close family, getting together often for dinners at my parents, my brother's house, our house, aunts and uncles. He'd have his friends over and would always invite Doug to play poker, watch a game on one of his big screens, or go out to a bar. He was on a softball team with Doug and his friends. He lead a very active, full life. He was my only brother, my only sibling. He was Lily's only uncle and she loved him dearly. He loved her too. They had so many similarities. She was almost two when he passed away and so it's hard for her to remember him but she knows his picture and still talks about him. It's hard to grasp the concept of death when you're that young and it's still hard for her now.

I know he's missed by many. His visitation was packed and the line went throughout the building and out the door. He had a huge group of friends, many he had known since elementary school. He made friends everywhere he went and worked. He was a great son, brother, uncle, boyfriend and so much more.

Take the time to tell your loved ones how you feel. Spend some extra time with them. Call them on the phone, text, email, whatever. Do it before its too late. Luckily, like I mentioned, we were close so we saw each other often, but I'd do anything to hear from him or be able to talk to him.

I miss you and love you, big brother.

(The picture above was taken Easter 2011, just a couple weeks before he passed away. I'm glad I take lots of photos. Lily was so happy, doing an Easter egg hunt at his house. He crouched down to be more on her level - he was 6'4" - and she copied him.)

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