28 Years Later

Dear Brother,

I’m writing to you today because, well, it’s been 28 years and it’s probably time I begin to open up about my true feelings about the whole… well, you know.

Growing up with you, I could see your effect on those around me. I felt how your presence in my life changed the way I acted and the choices I made in my life. Your innocence tore people up inside and I will say that innocence did affect me in ways I never expected.

When you left us, it broke our hearts in ways most couldn’t imagine to be possible. I wasn’t there and was often reminded of you and the story of you leaving. The pain of living on not knowing who you could have been, I have heard on many accounts. Now, years later, the question stills lingers… why?

After 28 years, here’s what I know of you, your time with us and who we are today because of you.

Our mother is an all loving woman. She looks out for us because of you more than she realizes. Her ever nosey self is always present in our lives and it reminds us of the importance of staying close to the family. My mother doesn’t deserve to lose another child, us girls know that and because of you, we cherish our relationship with her. Thank you brother, for blessing our mother with great kindness, generosity and true to spirit energy. She keeps our family afloat and you’re always right there with her ready for a laugh.

Our father is a generous man. He has grown to love everyone like his own son. You taught him to be a leader—someone a younger generation can look up to and aspire to be. My father didn’t deserve to lose his one and only son. But, you taught him how to appreciate the little moments in life. You gave him memories that will last an entire lifetime. Thank you brother, for strengthening our father in his moments of weakness, giving him hope in what seems to be hopeless and standing by him in times of great joy. He protects our family and you’re always there guiding him through the chaos.

Our big sister is a strong woman. After you, she grew to protect her own in the best ways she could. You stood by her, watched her when she broke and helped her put the pieces together. Not only do you keep close to our sister, you look after her boys like a true uncle. We can see your smile on their faces and we know that you’re with them. Thank you brother, for standing by our sister and keeping her safe from the hardships of life. She is the hope in our family and you’re always there finding the good with her even in the darkest hours.

Our big sister is an understanding woman. Because of you, she is a great listener. At times, she keeps silent when she is taking in an entire story. Our sister has become a compassionate and discerning woman. She brings great joy to our family with witty remarks, but her true gift is connecting with others emotionally. Thank you brother, for teaching her the grace of empathy and holding her hand in times of trouble. She is the light of our family and you’re always there loving her for her truest self.

I see how you have affected our family—how your sweet, innocent self, left a deep mark on our family’s hearts. You have impacted their lives so much, that today, I am who I am because of you. You have shaped my entire life through stories, pictures, and your angelic presence. Thank you brother, for being my comfort, my rock and teaching me the fundamentals of being grounded in my life. You are always there to help me understand my purpose in this crazy world.

So, I don’t ask anymore why you left us. From your great work in our lives, I can see your purpose—you are our constant inspiration of hope and love.

BrotherYou’ve changed our family and now, after all this time I want to ask you for a favor from us. Please, keep changing us. Teach us how to love and support one another selflessly. We all break at times, we are only human. But you’re there in ways we never imagined to be possible. Thank you for protecting us from afar, but please, stay close to our hearts. When our times come, hold our hands and call us home. Until then, we miss you and send our love. Brother, we love you.

We love you.

All my love,


To those who have lost for unknown reasons, our family is living proof that our loved one has never left us. Open your eyes to the blessings in your life, and you too may find your loved one’s everloving presence.

7 thoughts on “28 Years Later

  1. I send my love to you all on this day and everyday. And to your beautiful brother in heaven. I think of him often.

  2. Very nicely expressed in words, all the love and tears….
    At Josh’s funeral, Tom gave a beautiful eulogy. Mike and Peg Webb were sitting behind us in church, and Mike was crying. He said he was so moved by Tom’s strength in getting up and speaking at such an emotional time! He lied and said he could NEVER do that! Years later it was Mike’s turn to speak at Catie’s funeral. And someone inspired him!

  3. Beautiful Aly… I remember when Josh died and can only imagine the pain/love/strength/growth his passing brought to your family. Blessings…

  4. As Joshua’s godmother, I feel as though I have known him all these years — what a sweet angel boy! After 28 years, I still believe that Josh, God and the Angels sent you, Aly, to earth to heal your Mom, Dad, Jennifer and Jill. Healing for all of us — grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. What a beautiful tribute to your Angel Brother, Aly.
    I love you Joshua!
    I love you Aly!

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