It’s a Sibling Thing

clutchingFor some, June 12 celebrates the last day of school, the first day of camp, the beginning of summer vacation or just another day at the office. But for me, it marks the day my life changed forever.

Nineteen years ago on June 12, my brother was brutally and viciously stabbed to death by an ex-professional football player, who still possessed enough fame, charm, and money to ensure his freedom. I had never heard of him, but little did I know that I would be eternally connected by his famous initials: OJ.

I have spent 19 years trapped inside this life that breeds grief, sorrow, anger, injustice, inequity, loss and yearning. I work hard every day, to find and cherish the beauty that surrounds me and embrace the gifts I have earned and been given all these years later. And even though I am fortunate to have so much good, it is not without bitterness.

My brother would be turning 45 this year and even as I write that, I choke back the tears because all I can do is imagine the gigantic life he would have been living now and it breaks my heart to realize all that was lost. An entire life lost in a matter of minutes.

But despite the emptiness that lies deep within, I am filled with Ron’s memory and the 22 years of love that he showered me with, as his baby sister. I can hear his laughter when the room is silent, feel his hug when the air is still and when my son walks by, and I catch a glimpse of my handsome brother as a young boy, my heart skips a beat. But what leaves the biggest imprint on my heart, was his undeniable zest for life; the joy he found in most everything he encountered (even when he was knee deep in debt or recovering from a broken heart, which wasn’t too often), the way he lit up a room when he sauntered in, and the soaring hopes he had for his future. Ironically, between the two of us, I was probably much more pessimistic than he was and with no real reason to be; whereas, my brother who struggled to find his way, was the eternal optimist, always believing in the “brighter side of things” — I loved that about him. He didn’t fear failing, he didn’t fear much in fact and that was demonstrated in the last act of his beautiful, young, heroic life.

What I miss most 19 years later, is that irreplaceable bond; having that one person in your life, that knows you better than anyone and still loves you for it. The one person that shares your memories, your experiences, your ups and downs and your dreams. They know how you got every scar (both internally and externally), they remember every embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you (and have no problem sharing it with all of your boyfriends) and no matter what, they are your biggest fan.

I miss that. I miss him. I miss my brother.

I made a promise to him that I would always seek justice for his horrific death and I will continue to do that until I can’t anymore. But the promise I made to myself is to live my life with the same courage, honor and passion that Ron did. That will be our sibling legacy.

My sweet Ron, thank you for what you taught me in your life, and the lessons I have learned in your death. I love you more than you will ever know.

“Missing you now, Loving you always.”
July 2, 1968 – June 12, 1994

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