I knew you would be leaving, yet your departure from our lives hit us like a truck. I didn’t have the strength to tell you the things I wanted to tell you. On the last day I saw you, all I had the strength to do was hug you and tell you I love you. That I will miss you.
I imagined in my head that on your last day we’d hug, I would look you in the eye and tell you how proud I am of you for being brave and dedicated to serving your country. For being strong and resilient through the process and training. For doing what you knew you have always wanted to do and for following your dreams. And thank you for all the adventures you went on with me. All the late night drives and meals we shared. All the talks we had and all the advice you gave me. Thank you for all the words of encouragement and motivation you gave me. Thank you for the love and strength that you gave me. I thought being the big brother I needed to be strong for all of you. That I couldn’t be vulnerable. But you not only taught me how to be strong, but also that it is okay to be vulnerable, that I shouldn’t bottle things up. Thank you for being the only person I felt comfortable discussing my depression with. Thank you for all your pep talks.
Thank you all the memories, little brother.
I wish I wasn’t so emotional so I could have told you this in person. You always told me that you are glad that end the end of the day, through all the bs and when you felt like everyone was against you, you could come and talk to me. That you were happy to have me because you knew , no matter what, I would always be there. I never told you this, but I am also glad that at the end of the day I had you, I needed you to be. I didn’t realize this until recently, but after a long and stressful day when I came home and saw you asleep I felt comfortable. Like I have nothing to worry about because I have you. Now when I come home, after two long shifts, I can’t help but tear up every time I come in our room and see that your bed is neat and made. Empty.
We will be okay little brother. This is something we all will have to get used to, but we will be okay. I promise that I will be strong for Mom and Dad. I promise I will fill in the shoe you used to fill. Keep being you. I love you, Ruds.