To My Brother On His Wedding Day

To My Brother On His Wedding Day

I cried writing this and you know it.

To you, my dear brother, on your wedding day,

Some people would describe their wedding day as a beautiful occasion. Many would describe it as the start of a wonderful, new chapter in their lives. I would describe your wedding day as, what I can only imagine will be, one of the most amazing days of my life.

I can see it now: the sun is shining high in the sky. The waves are crashing down on the shore. You're standing at the end of the aisle as Erin approaches you in the most extravagant, white dress I've ever seen. Mom and dad are sitting in the front row. Dad has his arm around mom's shoulder as she sobs hysterically that her baby boy is all grown up. Cory and I smile at each other across the way, knowing that you are about to do something utterly magnificent. Mom is now crying so much that the priest cannot speak over her. You're so embarrassed, but you don't even care because you know just how happy she is. You know how happy she is because you feel it, too. She's so proud of the man that you have become. We all are.

Growing up with you by my side has been quite the roller coaster, but I can honestly say that I would not want it any other way. Do you remember the weekend that I was in the hospital, Cory's school had a bomb threat, and you were on vacation and got into a car accident? Dad remained calm, but mom didn't know what to do with herself, so she just sat in the hallway and cried. That was the first time in my life that I ever realized that I couldn't imagine my life without you and Cory. When we were younger, I never had to go very far to find my best friends. I already miss holiday mornings with you and Cory at mom's house: waking up early just to creep through the house and scan for hidden Easter eggs or to see who's stocking was more full on Christmas morning. I get sad whenever we have a party and you're not there because you're with Erin's family. Then I realize that I need to learn to share the wealth, because her family deserves something as good as you, too. Who could have ever guessed that that job interview at T.G.I. Friday's would be just the beginning of one of the best things to ever happen to you?

Today, I am sad. I am sad that you are leaving me to go with her. I am sad that we don't share a kitchen table anymore. I am sad when I look outside and don't see your car in the driveway, but today I am also happy. I am happy that you got that crummy job when you were in college. I am happy that you found Erin. I am happy that you asked me to share this day with you, but most importantly, I am so happy to be your sister.

Today is huge. Today is incredible. Your time has come. Erin is going to look so beautiful and you are going to make her so happy. Mom and dad always told me that I was more like you than I would ever know. Today and everyday I really hope they are right. Thank you for being the role model that always tells me to follow my heart. Thank you for motivating me to get my act together whenever I thought a nap was a better decision than filling out a scholarship application. Thank you for continuously leading the way and protecting me. Thank you for finally giving me a sister, and one so great I could never have imagined. Thank you for being one of my best friends for the past 21 years. Thank you for loving me unconditionally.

I hope that today is the best day of your young life. I hope that you work harder at this family than you ever have at anything before. I hope that you have never been happier than you are right now. I am grateful for you and the time that we spend together, even if you don't save me from the creepy, old, mafia men who try to dance with me at charity events. I am so blessed that whoever is in charge of the wild ride that we call life has given me someone like you to struggle through it with. There is no one I would rather procrastinate with. There is no one I would rather drive nearly 3 hours to see a terrible Fetty Wap concert with. There is no one I would rather play Boopa Bellies with, or watch America's Got Talent with, or consistently show up late with. Now Let's get sloppy drunk and celebrate all that there is to celebrate.

I love you so much more than you know.

Nikki

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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An Open Letter To My Person in Heaven

Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while but, our hearts forever.

I miss you every day, I’ve been able to cope much better with it now, but it still hurts your gone. Certain days will hit me, and I will just start balling and looking at old pictures of us together and I just think of what an amazing woman you were. Even though you didn’t get to see me graduate high school, win at my competition or start college here on earth with the rest of us I know you were watching from the sky and I could feel your presence; I do every day I know you are by my side and you haven’t left.

More and more every day I see how you shaped me into who I am a part of you is a part of me and I always tell people if I could be half the woman you were it would mean the world to me and now I see that God has allowed that to happen. He’s allowed you to shine through parts of who I am. I know you would are so proud of me and what I’m accomplishing, and I would do anything to hear you say that to me just once, just to hear you say it one time would mean everything to me.

I miss your laugh all those times when I would start talking random Spanish or with a fake lisp. You’d fall out of your chair almost laughing at me that warmed my heart to know I made you laugh especially when I knew you were hurting because you had those sores on your leg. I miss eating breakfast with you and dinging my head on that stupid cabinet door above your counter in the kitchen we had so many laughs over that.

I remember the time you had surgery and I come over and spent the night with you for several days and I cleaned your house for you. Coming to your house wasn’t all that hard all I had to do was walk across the yard and there I was at your house. I’d do anything to walk across that yard again... The time I killed my first deer I remember, Papa and I pulled into the driveway where we used to live before we moved, and you didn’t hear us, so I walked up to your door and just opened it. Because I knew it was never locked during the day; and there you were turned around looking out the window, so I snuck up behind you and scared you and you gave me the biggest hug little did I know it was the last hug id ever get from you.

The day mom told me you had gone to the hospital was the worst day of my life and I still regret to this day I went a week without talking to you because I was so focused on my semester test and a stupid essay about Hitler my English teacher assigned me. I recall the day I went to see you in the hospital it was dreary and once mom and I got there what I saw nothing could ever prepare me for... you were pretty much lifeless and on morphine, so you couldn’t feel the pain and seeing you in this state instantly made me start balling and I was so mad at God he was taking the one person I looked up to. But I remember putting my hand in yours and you were able to muster the words “I love you Charlee”.

In May it will be three years since you’ve left this world and not a day goes by I don’t think about you. I use your words of wisdom daily. When I was younger you probably thought I wasn’t listening to you or I wouldn’t remember but I did and I’m thankful for them. To this day I still haven’t deleted your phone number out of my phone I just can’t bring myself to do it. I know I haven’t been to your gravesite since you were buried but I’m trying to find the strength to go and talk to you, some days I think I can do this and others I think I can’t but one day I will and until then I’ll just talk to the sky. I love you, Nanny.

Cover Image Credit: Charlee Bell

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To My Parents Who Have Given Me Everything And More, Thank You

They gave up their lives just so they could help me build my own, and for that I will be forever grateful.

"Never complain about what your parents couldn't give you. It was probably all the had."

Sit back for a second and reflect. Think about your values, job, relationships, home, clothing, life.... everything. Think about where you are, right now in this moment, and how you got here. Every decision you've made, opportunity you've taken, and relationship you've made over the years has made you the person you are right now, in this moment.

I'm sure you're thankful to be where you are and have the things you have. You may say things like, "I worked really hard to get where I am," or, "I got myself to this point," which may be true, but I think we neglect to remember where we are from and how we truly got to the point we are today.

The main reason you make the decisions you do, have the relationship you have, and are who you are is all due to how you were raised. It's how your parents raised you.

Your parents brought you into this world. They taught you everything you know. They were there for your first steps and your first words. They held your hand when you were scared, and knew exactly how to make all the nightmares disappear. They taught you how to be responsible and how to respect others. They showed you that through all the evil in the world, they would always be there for you. They showed you how important family truly is.

They've seen you at your weakest, mental breakdowns and all. They've seen at your best. Your parents know you better than anyone in this world, and they will always be the ones who will unconditionally love you. No matter how mad they may be at you in the moment from some stupid decision you may have made, they love you and are always so proud of you.

From watching what my parents have gone through with my siblings and I, I can truly say that being a parent is probably the hardest and most selfless job there is. They gave their life up so they could help you build yours.

My parents have given me everything and more, and for that I will be forever grateful. There is no amount of money in the world to repay them for the love and devotion they have given to me, and my siblings, over the years. They made me the person I am today; how does one show their gratitude to someone who pretty much gave their own life up to raise you?

So, yeah, you may be thankful for the clothes you have, the roof you have over your head, and all the material items laying around in your bedroom, but I think we forget to acknowledge to thank our parents for making us the people we are today. We need to start remembering that we are the people we are because of how we were raised.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for spending the past 21 years of your lives building me and my siblings into who we are today. I know it might have been hard sometimes, but no day goes by that I don't remember how blessed I am to be who I am because I have such strong, loving, and selfless parents. Thank you for giving me everything, even when you had nothing.

I hope one day to somehow repay you for all of it, but for now, I will just continuously show you love and gratitude each and everyday. I learned from the best.

I love you both will all of my heart and more.

Cover Image Credit: Emily Gigliotti

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