An Open Letter to My Brother who passed away

You know me, I do best with expressing myself through writing. Here it is. 

Jordan - 
It has been 11 days since I last saw your face. Eleven extremely long days. 

I was putting on my shoes, waiting for Staci to come pick me up to visit you, when your Dad called Chris. He handed the phone to me and said he was crying. My heart stopped. Something was wrong. 

Making it to the back door is still a blur. I don't remember much, just asking over and over again what he was telling me, because my brain was refusing to process what I was hearing. I knew, I knew what he was saying, but I didn't want it to be true. 

"He's gone". 
Devastated, and definitely destroyed. 

I miss you.  

Not enough days have passed to say that I have even been able to fully process everything. I honestly still think that I am in shock. I go from moments of not being able to catch my breath, to picking up the phone to check on you, only to put it back down when the harsh reality sets in. 

I read your text messages, trying to hear your voice and see your smile through the words. I look back at photos and attempt to relive the moment; the setting, the music, the weather. Anything to feel you sitting next to me, anything to ease the pain. My favorite - the voice memo that Lauren recorded of you saying "I love you"... I play it multiple times a day. 

I love you too. 

Within 7 months our lives completely changed. We went from being normal to hanging onto every moment as tight as we could, knowing that the end could crush us at any given moment. 

And it did, on June 16th. 

You handled sickness with grace, you know. No one knows what you experienced through it all. Six months of intense chemo, a back fracture, countless appointments, scans and ER visits. Not to mention the thoughts that must have gone through your head. I am sorry you had to experience that. You are a strong one, though. You fought hard, and we will always remember that. 

You were cherished by many. You know how I know that? There was only standing room at your memorial service. Tell me that isn't impressive. I can see you now, smiling and nodding your head, like "yeah, that's right!". Over 250 seats filled, and people standing in the back. You were and still are loved by so many. I am proud to be your sister, but more so honored that I was chosen to be your sister; you were so many peoples "person", and that is something everyone hopes to be. 

Hearing the stories, seeing the photos and stalking your old Facebook page reflected so much of your heart. You changed so many lives; speaking at Dalton's grandma's memorial, taking care of your friends, and encouraging a fellow friend battling cancer that it is worth it to do chemotherapy. Not many care like you did. But did you know your friend is now cancer free? He is cancer free because you gave him the courage to fight for his life. That is exactly why you were so special. 

But I guess God needed another angel, and man He got a good one.

I can still hear our banter back and forth, feel your arm punch as you pass me in the kitchen, aggravating of course - something I would give anything to have again. Wrestling in the living room floor - me winning because, well duh. But actually winning because Mom and your Dad made you quit being rough with me. You chasing me with a dead snake... traumatizing me until this day. But most of all remembering the hugs, the laughs, the shopping and lunch dates, and the difficult phone calls guiding you through your hardships, although it broke my heart to know that you were hurting.

Mom always said we had a special bond, and I won't deny that. There was just something about you, like my only role in life was to be your protective sister bear. You always had a huge piece of my heart, and I believe you took it with you to heaven. I would do anything for you and I know you the same for me. The only younger brother I had, and the only one I could have ever hoped for.

I pray that you are watching over us and smiling from heaven.
I hope we are making you proud.

It pains me to know that my boys won't have memories with you. My promise to you is that although you are not physically here with us, they will know you. They will know your heart, your smile, and your infectious personality. It will be a privilege to teach my boys all about their uncle, and I hope you do the same with my nephew.

I can only imagine the fun you are having up there, and how incredible it must be. I pray every night that you will visit me in my dreams. You did after all, bring me closer to God.

In the meantime I will continue to live through our memories. I've started making my way through your YouTube playlist... it makes me feel like a part of you is still here. So far my favorite is "Don't Be Afraid to Call Me"... but I do have about 90 left to listen to. It's a slow process listening to these songs; dancing, singing along, sometimes crying and always imagining your heart when hearing it.

But I do have time. And I will take my time.
This is all a process.

You were my person, Bebo. I love you to the moon. 

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