A Letter To My Brother

A Letter To My Brother

Living A Year Without You
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“Now only the good die young stops me in my tracks…”

Sean,

A year ago today I was asked by a neighbor to go up to the avenue because our parents needed me there. A few minutes before I saw mom’s minivan go down the block and turn the corner faster than usual, but why, what could’ve happened that she needed to drive so fast? I thought about it for a while and thought that either you or Allison had gotten hurt doing something stupid. It was too early in the day for you to have done anything seeing you had just left the house an hour or two before, so I thought it was Allison, she’s a daredevil and does stupid things all the time, she probably broke an arm or something. Those were my original thoughts and to this day I wish that was the way the story went.

We turned the corner and all I saw was flashing lights, still unsure of who was injured, I immediately got a lump in my throat and my eyes starts to tear. This is not good, this is not okay, who is hurt, what happened. I asked my neighbor who it was and she said your name. And that was the beginning of when my world came crashing down. I got out of the car, ran to mom and dad and they told me you were gone. Gone. I still can’t get it out of my head. My little brother was gone. I remember having the feeling that I wanted to punch you, why did you have to leave, who did this. I was so angry, but all I could do was cry. The next question that came to mind was where were your friends, you were with them are they okay. They were fine, well at least as good as they could be right now. I still have a clear picture of that night, who was there, what I did, I remember it feeling like everything was moving in slow motion, like it was a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. I wish I could forget that night, erase that picture of the flashing lights from my mind, the scream that came out when I was told you were gone. Everything.

Now it’s been a year since then and I still get anxious when I hear sirens blaring close to home. I haven’t seen you in a year, it’s crazy to think that, because even though time has passed, it also feels like it has stood still. In a year, I finished another year of college falling behind, but picking up a psych minor which you probably would have had a sly remark on. I also got to study in Dublin, which you would have been extremely jealous about. Allison finished her sophomore year of high school as usual advancing in her athletic career, which you would have been proud of. Friends had proms and graduations, you probably would have found yourself at a prom or at least an after prom if mom allowed. Parties were thrown without you being the backbone. And not hearing stories about the stupid things you did when you partied or hearing that you were grounded yet again is surely missed. You missed birthdays and holidays and family occasions. Life went on and we ended up here. I can’t help but think what you would have accomplished this year. You would have been a freshman in college, continuing to write about sports, throwing wild parties in your dorm, accomplishing so much and checking things off your bucket list. But, we will never know, we can only think about what would have happened.

In a year, your friends became mine and Allison’s. We grew close and still have stories to share with each other. Even though your gone you constantly make us laugh as we reminisce of the times we had with you. And every time we get together I can’t wait to hear a new story. Even though we always laugh I find there is usually a short period of silence, just a few seconds, that falls among us. I know during those brief seconds I’m putting your voice into the story, trying to hear your laugh or picture that stupid smirk that you always made and I’m sure in that moment others are doing the same. I’m glad to say that I still remember your voice and laugh because I always fear that one day I will forget it. I fear that even though I think of you constantly I have forgotten the small things when in reality I know that it is impossible to forget any piece of you. I will always carry you in my heart, but fear of forgetting you is the scariest thing that I think of.

A year, I still can’t believe it as I am sitting here typing this. You had so much life left to live and it was all taken away in a split second because someone thought it was okay to drink and drive. Even though it’s been a year without actually seeing you I know your still around. I get signs whether it be dimes or one of your songs comes on the radio I know you’re with me. When “American Pie” comes on I always get this feeling of hurt, but I turn it up and sing along anyway and think of you singing along too. Sean a year without you has been extremely tough, but I’m making it through one day at a time. I will forever and always love and miss you.

Until we meet again, your big sister

Shan

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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9 Things You Hear Growing Up As An Only Child

No, I don't get lonely.

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Having no siblings definitely has its ups and downs, but I wouldn't have it any other way! Most people jump to the conclusion that you're spoiled or were an accident since your parents didn't have other kids, but being an only child is actually amazing. While my parents didn't give me every single thing I wanted, they taught me lots and I did earn everything I got.

1. Don't you get lonely?

Well, no, I do have friends. It also helped growing up when technology wasn't quite exactly where it is today. Everyone would play outside or with each other as opposed to behind a screen, and it kept everyone more connected. It also taught me that it's okay to spend time alone and it can actually be refreshing.

2. Do you wish you had siblings?

Occasionally growing up, the thought crossed my mind, but I never dreaded not having siblings.

3. Do you get everything you want?

Haha! Not even close!

4. You must be spoiled

With love, definitely. I might have gotten more than if I were to have a sister or brother, but my parents definitely taught me how to work for what I want.

5. Why didn't your parents want more kids?

When you do it right the first time, why would you need to have more? It just isn't what my parents wanted, but it worked out just fine.

6. Are your parents stricter since there are no other children to focus on?

I wouldn't say that fact alone makes a parent more or less strict. Yes, there were more eyes and focus on me, but my parents still allowed me to do things with friends and have freedoms.

7. What's it like being an only child?

I wouldn't consider it anything special. It was just how I grew up and I think I had a pretty good childhood.

8. You must not like to share

You're right, I don't. Who does? But it doesn't mean I can't or don't know how to.

9. Are you close with your parents?

Absolutely, and I love it!

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