I belong to a brotherhood. A brotherhood that, if you have never been a part of it, you will never understand. But, I'll try to explain it the best that I can… because it has meant more to me than I could ever express in words…
I’ve spoken, and written, many times about the size of my hometown. To avoid speaking about it far too much, we’ll just say that is small. In this town, I grew up from Kindergarten all the way through High School with basically the same group of guys who were, and still are my friends. As we got older, the thing that truly bonded us were the sports we all played together. Spending every Friday night together, celebrating on Saturdays, film on Sundays, and then school and practice all week. One thing that sends this friendship up from one that almost any high school male in Illinois is that we worked our way to the State Title game in Class 2A Football.
However, this is not what has made this group of brothers what we are today, it is not what as drawn us closer than any group you can imagine. It has made this brotherhood something you’ll never understand.
What has made us this close is loss.
The type of loss none of us could have ever anticipated. The loss of our own.
And, not just one of our own. But several. Most people our age, especially those from rural areas, never experience this kind of loss, at least at this rate. Since the time I started high school, we have lost six men that we went to high school with. This also something I have written about before, but never truly on how it has affected my friends and me.
Though death, and losing those close to us, is incredibly painful; it has changed us all in ways we could never have anticipated. Because of these losses, we value each other far more than we ever had before. It has truly made us a family because we understand the pain that each and every one of us has felt. It has made us reveal just how much we truly care about each other. I have no problem telling each and every one of these guys that I love them. Because I do. They are my brothers. I don’t know what I would do if I lost another, and I hope I never have to find out...