When I was 25 years old I had to say goodbye to my 23 year old brother. I will never understand why God chose to take him when he did. My brother struggled as a young man, trying to find where he fit in, trying to understand why our father never wanted much to do with us. He got caught up in the wrong crowd. He chose drugs for a few years of his life and made some bad decisions like most teenagers do.
He decided to turn his life around by joining the Army. He made new friends, gained a lot of muscle, and we were so proud of him for taking control of his life. Shortly after he graduated from basic training he had a seizure and before we knew it he was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma. Over the next 8 months he was poked and prodded; receiving chemo and large doses of steroids and medicines. He spent a lot of time in the hospital. He lost his hair and losing his positive attitude. It was the most difficult time for our entire family. I would describe it as “hell on earth” watching him deteriorate in front of our eyes.
It’s been almost ten years since we said goodbye and I still struggle some days thinking of him and who he would be today. He would’ve been the best uncle to my 3 boys. He had the greatest smile and most handsome face. I believe in eternal life and I believe I will see him on the other side. My faith is what gives me the strength to get through the hard days. My family came together to support each other when we lost Ricky. I began to appreciate the little things in life and stopped sweating the insignificant things. I took control of my life and said goodbye to the people that no longer served me. I had to learn how to appreciate each day and remind myself that each day is a gift. When I hear friends of mine complain about their wrinkles and aging skin I always tell them, “aging is a privilege denied to many!” Embrace the fact that you are here and able to enjoy in all of life’s blessings. - Brooke, OH