Since July 13, 2018, I haven’t seen my little brother’s face. Today is January 12, 2019.
On the afternoon of July 13, my 16-year-old brother was shot and killed in my front yard in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
The last text my brother sent me was, “Goodbye, I love you all” in a group text with my two sisters. I was in New York. They were in Minnesota.
I have never read old texts between us because I am terrified to.
I have never read a single news article about him.
I have never looked at a picture of him since. I’m incapable of looking through the pictures on my phone or laptop in fear that I will see a picture of us together at Bethany Beach, DE. The last place I was with him. One week before he went to heaven.
I have never looked at his social media. I haven’t been on any social media since July 13, 2018, to ensure I never see any pictures.
I never cry. But I am right now.
I wrote my baby brother’s obituary.
I put a letter in his casket along with his favorite dingy lacrosse stick. He always took the head off of the stick and taped the stick up with athletic tape 24/7. 9 times out of 10 the head was detached from the stick. So of course, I made sure he had them forever, detached.
I think I am still in denial.
Not the type of denial where I don’t believe this event happened. Rather the type of denial where I deny that I am having a difficult time or that I am deeply affected by this loss.
My brother was a “mini me”. The only one of my siblings that I saw myself in. He worked so hard at everything he did. And damn, that kid was so creative. He cared deeply about those around him. His family came first 100% of the time. If I ever needed a ride, he was there. Since he was able to talk, he always loved giving Christmas gifts more than he liked receiving them. He would get so excited about wrapping them and labeling them. One time he gave me a scarf and he was smiling ear to ear as he watched me open it. The only reason I remember this scarf is because of how happy he was giving it to me.
He was the most popular kid at Minnetonka High School. He was this loud-mouth assertive athlete, but he loved being there for the kids he knew were struggling. He knew because he was struggling too.
My brother is the love of my life. There hasn’t been 5 minutes since the day he physically left this earth that I haven’t thought about him. That’s the thing with loss. No one understands that I may be laughing about something, but at the same time, I’m thinking about something else. My mind works double time now.
Thank you, God, for giving me the ability to write. Through my writing this morning, I am trying to talk about him because talking about this scares the shit out of me and confuses me.
Archer, thank you for always loving me. I am never alone because you’re next to me, 100% of the time. Protecting me like you always have. I love you forever.