It is not often I will speak about my personal life outside of my occupation, and even fewer times, I hope, that I will speak of such a dark subject as this is to me.
Today is May 7th. Twenty-four years ago my younger brother, Michael, was born. Five and half years ago I lost my brother in a car accident. Any one of you who have lost someone close to you at an early age knows that you just never really fully move on from that moment. I miss him constantly. He wasn’t just my brother; he was most certainly my best friend. I had the honor of being close to my brother; I always try to cherish that fact. Still, today is always hard. It is hardest on my parents. It is a reminder to each of us that Michael won’t have any more birthdays with us.
I’m not writing this, however, to pull sympathy or empathy from anyone. It is of course my belief writing is therapeutic by nature, but the actual nature of this post is how my brother is still a working force in my life.
I have determined in the last several years that I would not be who I am at this moment without the loss of my brother, and although I would give anything to have him back on earth with me, I know that who I am now is someone I am proud to be.
Here is a little background: my brother passed while I was in my third year of college. I had to make a decision–do I stay in school or do I take time off to grieve? I had a strong feeling my brother would want me to finish, so I did. I pushed myself through my last year of college, and with the help of my faith, family, and my beautiful wife (who was my girlfriend at the time) I graduated on time and began my career as a high school English teacher.
The loss of my brother inspired me to help our youth. I realized a few years after Michael was gone how he was still driving me to reach out to teens and be an important influence in their lives. I feel honestly that I am called to be an educator to save lives.
I had no way of saving my brother’s life, but I’ll always be inspired by him to save others.
So today brother, on your birthday, I want to thank you for your continued inspiration. I am a better person and educator because I knew you.
Happy birthday, Michael; I miss you buddy.