Blood never bound us, our DNA will never match, but you were my brother all the same. Your sister started it, my friendship with her started it, but it didn’t take long to include you, and your whole family, and count you all as mine.
We teased and taunted each other as kids, were yelled at by your mom, mostly encouraged to learn the hard way by your dad. I guess he figured those lessons stick better, and he might be right.
It’s not fair, that you were taken from those who love you. Not fair that your life was cut so short, that you’ll never see your daughter’s first date, or see her graduate high school, college. They say life isn’t fair, I know, but sometimes it seems to leave a hole in my chest. An emptiness that I didn’t realize was filled with the knowledge that I would see you again, until it was gone.
I can’t bring you back, no matter how many tears I cry or how much I rail at fate or accident or even God. I know you won’t come back, but it doesn’t stop me from wishing you would.
I wish I could tell you how proud of you I am for the way you’ve raised your daughter. I wish I could tell you that you’re a good man, that I admire your work ethic, that you should be proud of yourself. I wish I could tell you so many, many things, but most importantly, I wish I could tell you how much I love you, and how much you mean to me.
That’s one thing we never really talked about. We never said I love you. Instead we shoved playfully at each other, smiled and traded insults. I never told you how important you were to me, how much I cared, because I considered it unnecessary. It would just have embarrassed us both, I know, but I wish I’d said it.
Now, it’s too late for you to be embarrassed. I won’t see you shift your weight and duck your head, or look at me like I’m crazy. I can say it now. I love you. You will, forever and always, be my little brother, and I will miss you.
Safe journey, little brother, to wherever we go when this life is finished. Safe journey, and I hope that we’ll see each other again someday.