I no longer knew you, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t remember you.
You were born just months after my brother and your sister after me. As children, we’d mimic the adults’ card games on the floor or run circles around the house with squirt guns. I think you were even there the afternoon Joey hopped the fence.
Then, one day, you were gone. I was too young to understand at the time, but later I knew why. I understood you’d left for a better life.
Years later I learned of your sister’s passing. I don’t recall if I mourned, but I remember thinking she was too young. It was tragic and now your story strikes me as the same.
I never knew who you’d become, just that you’d returned. Your accomplishments make me proud, but also strengthen the tragedy. You were so much more than what your parents had been. You were strong and I am proud.
Now, you’re gone and I’ll never have the chance to cross your path. I may never have learned of your success otherwise and that’s a disappointment.
With you, you’ve taken a piece of our family – a family that’s broken and dwindling. We may not have much, but blood is blood and it makes us who we are.
I may not have known you, but I’ll remember you. I hope you’ve found peace.