I went to visit you today. Drove two hours, weaving through lanes like I was stitching my broken heart back together before it broke again. I’ve been struggling lately, wondering what you’d say about my life now, who I am, and the color of my hair.

The day my mother held me in her arms and told me you were gone, a train hit me. I was winded, knocked off my feet, and sobbed on the floor of my son’s room. Holding my chest, saying “No,” as if saying it loud enough, long enough, as many times as my lungs would allow, would make it any better. Would have placed you back on this earth. It didn’t.

Christmas was hard last year. Thanksgiving too. Holidays are never the same without the people you lose. Especially someone as lively as you. The walls of my memory hang pictures of my childhood with you. Swimming, late night snacks, bickering… oh god, the fighting, wrestling, the rides to Central California to pick you up, video games, and terrible music… and the last few years when you visiting became the happiest weekends for me. My best friend. The little brother I never had. The pictures come to life, and I can hear your laugh, your voice. And it doesn’t feel that long ago.

I went to visit you today, and there are patches of grass next to your headstone. I wanted to lay in that grass. I wanted to lay there and talk to you all day, about my life, where I am, why I’m here, and what you’d do. I wanted to just… remain there. Forget the world I have back home. To let my tears become the water that helps your grass to grow. Instead, I tore the limb off of a bush full of flowers. I placed them under your picture, and touched your face one last time. I let go.

It’s been over a year and the train hits me every single time I think about how much different life would have been, with you here this weekend too.

I thank God you found salvation. I thank God that you’re with Him. I pray you’re saving me a seat at the table. You know how much I love Chili fries.

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