When my Dad and I first discussed creating a site for/about Justin, I became very excited. I was excited to get his story out there.When it came time for me to begin MY part of this, I choked. I mean, it's very difficult for me to talk about my brother, and it is even more difficult to talk about him in a past tense. Seeing this site in it's entirety, and watching videos that Justin made of himself, is a reminder for me. Losing my brother was like losing a part of myself. You see, Justin was so much more to me than a brother, he was one of my best friends. No one looked at him the way I did. He did no wrong in my eyes. He was the most perfect, beautiful living being I had ever seen.
When I had my last baby, Emma, he was at the hospital, waiting, and when we came home, he would just show up, and sit. He never expected anything from me, he never acted put-out, he just liked being with me and my kids. He was a great Uncle. He let Kam jump on him, kick him, and bounce on his head. One day shortly after I was released from the hospital after having Emma, I was trying to clean up a mess outside. I was mad and crying, and Justin came over, and without hesitation, he just took over. That moment defined our relationship. He would spend the night, and when he would leave, he would leave me little notes written on a paper towel stuck to my refridgerator. I will miss those notes.
On November 2, 2003, my daughter, Meghan, turned 3. We celebrated her birthday with a Halloween- themed costume party. Justin was on his way to work, so, of course, showed up in his Kroger uniform. When I asked him what he was supposed to be dressed as, he simply answered "a Kroger Pimp." Although I laughed, I knew it was true. That was the last day I saw my brother.
November 7 will always be etched in my brain. I remember the phone call, my drive to the hospital, my thoughts. I cannot tell you how much pain and saddness there was that day and the days that followed. The visitations, and the furneral, seemed to fly by. Before I knew it, it was over. We were left with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Justin's birthday. Justin's friends and family came together to celebrate his 18th birthday. Justin had big plans for that day, and my dad and I did our best to carry them out. I did, however, refuse to go to a strp club. That day, I got a tattoo of the latin word,' fraticulus', which means' little brother'. The next day,Dad got a tattoo as well. He chose the 'Tree of Life'. This symbol has great meaning to us both. We also went to Hooter's( a more family-oriented version of a strip club, I suppose), had hot wings, and a really good time. I felt like Justin would have been pleased.
I miss my brother every second of every day. I have had a difficult time with my loss, as well as dealing with the loss that my kids, and my Dad feel, as well. I am trying to move on, and I think this website will help. I hope others will enjoy it, and come to understand how much he was, and still is, loved.