July 22, 2012
I have plenty more entries to catch up on, but right now, today I have to write this one.
Twelve years ago, on this day, my life changed forever. In the middle of the night, there I was trying to sleep when the phone would not stop ringing. It was my brothers girlfriend calling over and over again looking for him. I was pissed off because he had "stolen" my boyfriend for the night (we had plans to get together) and they had gone out to the club or the bar or something with a bunch of friends, I was only 19 so even if they wanted me to go, I couldn't. I couldn't get comfortable, I couldn't sleep and than add the numerous "no he isnt home yet" conversations into the mix and I wasn't a happy girl. Sometime in the middle of the night, early morning I heard him come home. He came into my room asking if anyone had called. I was so angry, but responded with a simple "yeah, could you please call your girlfriend and tell her to stop calling the house." He had a cell phone, but clearly wasnt answering that either.
We exchanged and few words and I concluded with a "good, now get the f*#K out so I can get some sleep," which was not abnormal talk between the two of us... and off he went. That was the last time I talked to him. The last words I said to him... The last time I saw his face.
The rest is a bad dream... a nightmare. From the door bell ringing at 7:00 in the morning, making every parents worst nightmare come true as the police officer (who happened to be a friend of our family) stood red eyed, trying to be strong and professional, to deliver the news... to my wakening to the commotion in the kitchen and flying downstairs to assess the situation. I couldnt, wouldnt, didnt understand what was being told to me... this was not happening.
But yes, it was. He was gone. My big brother, my other half. My partner in crime. Gone.
I was 19 years old. I can remember every emotion I felt that day and the days to follow like they were yesterday. I was lucky, I AM lucky. My brother was quite the wonderful person (not that it was a surprise to me). He surrounded him self with amazing people. His best friends immediately kicking into high gear and being there for me and my parents as if Joshua was giving them instructions to do so. My parents, they are the most amazing people in the world. Strong, supportive and their love for each other holds each of them up when they feel like they just cant go on for one more second. They may not say that on the outside, but they dont have to... you can see it and feel it when they are around. Their faith and love runs deep through me. My boyfriend, Pat, like a rock for me over the minutes, hours, days, months, years that followed. Not leaving my side, not saying a word but saying so many words just with his presence. I am forever grateful for that time. There are not enough "thank you's" in this world for all of the people who have been in my life since 5:30 am, July 22, 2000.
I had to make a choice. I had to decide how I wanted to live my life in the aftermath of losing my brother. Of course it didnt come over night. There were lots of sleepless nights, tears, arguments with my faith and overall questioning why this had to happen. However, the way I looked at it, no matter what I "wanted" this tragedy was going to define me, who I was and how I was going to be for the rest of my life. It was my choice to decide if I wanted to use "it" in a positive or a negative way. I had to feel and think of what my brother would have wanted me to be, and seeing as how he was one of the most stand up people on the planet... I would shoot for the stars and make him proud of me.
People comment "I dont know what I would do if I were you," or "I dont know how I would go on." The truth is, I envy the fact that they dont know what its like... and I wouldnt wish it on anyone. But the other truth is... I had no plan, I had no idea what I was going to do... and I didnt know how I would go on... I just did. I woke up every morning, put my feet on the ground and the days kept on passing by. A conversation I had with him years ago rings through my head almost every day and I will not let him down. I will not give up and I will never fail.
Josh was different from anyone I ever met. He lived every single day like it was going to be his last. He never passed on a challenge, never let anyone tell him he couldnt do something. When I was young, people would tell me how much we looked alike and acted alike. Of course we wanted no part of that at the time. Today, right now, I am proud to say I am like him and I hope to be the woman he would like for me to be.
Twelve years ago my life changed forever. Twleve years ago I changed from the inside out. Twleve years ago I had to learn how to put one foot in front of the other, learn how to live every day to its absolute fullest. I have the worlds best parents, who support me and encourage me to be everything I want to be. I have a supportive and understanding husband who deals with my ups and downs on a daily basis. I have my "brothers" who my brother hand picked to be with me as he would through my life... who I trust and love with all my heart. I have my friends and family who encourage me to keep moving forward, pushing for my goals. I have my faith... and my connection with my brother. I feel I am who I am today because of "this."
I thank my brother Joshua for the life he has given me. I love him, I miss him and I would give anything to have him with me again.
"Your heart has brought great joy to many, those heart will never forget you."
And my favorite pic of all time...