In Loving Memory Of My Darling Step Brother

In Loving Memory Of My Darling Step Brother

November 2003-March 2017
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Ernest,

I miss you so much. I smile remembering your cute little dimple on your face. I smile remembering playing out in the yard for years with your brother, John Charles, and my sister, Vivian. I smile when I remember jumping on the trampoline failing to do backflips. I smile remembering running to the big willow tree in the front yard that was ideal for climbing and was perfectly surrounded by leaves so no one could see all of our shenanigans.

I laugh thinking about sitting at the dinner table rolling my eyes when you would say, "little Audrey strong and able, keep your elbows off the table." I laugh picturing little Ernest running around trying to keep up with your older brother with a huge nerf gun in your hand. I remember how smart you are. You always were the best in your class at math and blew me away with how easily you grasped the material.

Sometimes, I cry. I cry because the last time I saw you I was walking through the cafeteria when I was about to get on a bus for a soccer game. You were so tall. The little nugget who I ran around the yard with and played sharks and minnows in the pool with was taller than me. I cry because, on this Earth, I won't see you again. However, I have many more reasons to smile.

You are my little brother, and what a lucky girl I am to have gotten to spend so much time with you. You will always still be here. I feel nostalgic remembering all four of us kids cuddled up in the man cave watching movies. Since Vivian is in your class, she makes sure to always fill your locker with flowers.

All of your friends have put sweet notes inside as well so you are honored and remembered as you should be. You left quickly, but regardless of the amount of time you got, this time was anything but wasted. You made so many people smile and laugh like you did for me. Your silly, bright energy was contagious and still is. There are times you appear in my thoughts, these moments I stop and I do not cry, I smile. I feel your energy inside of me and I get so excited to see you again soon.

Love ya Ern:)

Cover Image Credit: Audrey Hall

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20 Guarantees In Life, Provided By Your Older Brother

If you have an older brother, you know.
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Being a self-proclaimed annoying little sister, I have suffered a lot of (probably deserved) abuse throughout my childhood. My brother is nine years older than me, a large difference that led to a lot of conflicts as he was nearly grown when I first began to discover the world.

As a result, we bickered often, fought a lot, and there were times I swore I hated him. However, no matter how viciously we argued, I never doubted my brother's love. I always knew he would be there for me when I needed him.

Although I may be biased, I am a firm believer that every little girl should have an older brother to protect her, pick on her, and to teach her life lessons. No matter what kind of relationship you have, there are certain guarantees that come with older brothers.

1. You have a lifelong playmate.

2. You will always have someone more than willing to put a check on your ego... and your attitude.

3. You WILL, at some point, be used as a wrestling partner or punching bag.

4. You can always count on being annoyed.

5. There will never be food in the house because your brother ate it all.

6. You will be subjected to endless amounts of cars, sports, and video games.

7. You will be forced to try the weirdest food combinations... think Cheeze-Whiz in Bugels.

8. You can count on being embarrassed at every important event... this means formals, proms, graduations, and anytime a boyfriend is introduced

9. You'll have a lifelong cheerleader.

10. You'll learn some life lessons too early.

11. You'll always have a protector.

12. You'll argue until you cry.

13. You'll also laugh until you cry.

14. You'll always receive an honest (if not overly exaggerated) opinion about how you look (the answer usually involves comments about too short hems and plunging necklines)

15. You'll always have a best friend.

16. You'll get blamed for situations you did not cause.

17. You'll also learn how to pass off events onto others (cough your brother cough)

18. You gain a list of additional older brothers in his best friends.

19. You lose the ability to be easily disgusted... you've seen a lot, OK?!

20. You learn the true meaning of tough love.

Sure, having a brother can be rough. They do gross things. They're annoying, and they often smell. They know how to push ALL your buttons and make you so mad you could scream. Yet, no matter how crazy they drive you, deep down you know they'll always be there for you.

A brother's love, while often expressed in strange forms of abuse, is unconditional, and at the end of the day, there's no better best friend than a big brother.

Cover Image Credit: Shyanne Reynolds

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A Letter To The Sister I Never Really Did Like

You will learn in life you need your sister around no matter how much you fight.
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We had good memories growing up, but I never fully understood you. I thought you were strange. Unfortunately, I saw someone who was weak and sensitive. It was always hard for me to understand where you were coming from in life. Yes, I love you, but there were many days I didn't like you all that much. When we would fight, it would usually get ugly and a parent would have to get involved. I would always get so upset with you because I felt like everyone was on your side. I was the big sister who bullied you. I'm sure you never thought that you would see the end of me egging you on.

As we aged and life progressed, you surprised me. I learned that you weren't weak at all. In fact, you are mentally stronger than me. When I left home at eighteen, you stepped up to the plate and took our little sister under your wing. You guys became best friends and that melted my heart. I all of the sudden saw someone who is poised, well collected and surprisingly funny. We went from fighting to laughing together. We all of the sudden were on the same team and it was great. You and I began to have so much fun together. All of those catty fights disappeared. I saw someone who was mature. You were never out to get me, we just never took the time out to understand each other.

Today, you are my best friend. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of things we disagree on, but we are willing to look past it. You made me laugh so hard at times that I will continue to replay the cheesy joke. We complement each other in a whole new way. I'm the loud, outspoken sister who sets out to score the spotlight. You are the sister who sits back and eggs my ego on. You are great and I can't imagine doing life without you by my side.

Life has sucked lately and that is just an understatement, but never once have you turned me away. You have taken my call late at night and climbed out of bed to come spend the night with me. I love you for that because I know you absolutely don't want to leave your cozy corner. I have sobbed on your shoulder and you have told me I am going to be okay. You are the reason I am still pumping through life lately.

I totally enjoy hanging out with you now all the time and I know there are days you wish I would get lost, but know that is okay. I know that you still love me. I am so happy that we were able to grow out of that nasty fighting stage. You are so beautiful in every single way. You are bright, intelligent and shine when you walk into any room. People would be dumb to not want to be around you. Thank you for being my sister and hanging around me even when I am embarrassing. I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Radabaugh

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