*THIS COULD BE TRIGGERING FOR SOME AS I TALK ABOUT MY BROTHER’S DEATH*

I abruptly woke up not realizing where I had fallen asleep. For a split second I had forgotten Adrian was fighting for his life. For a good few minutes I prayed and felt that everything would be ok.

Deep breathe. Breathe, Joie.He will be fine. He will make it through.

How terribly wrong I was.

Ten minutes later I look online and see one of his “friends” tagging him in a post and begging everyone to pray for him and his family. Word on the street is he did not help him that day. Instead, left him to suffer and proceeded to steal stuff from my parent’s home. A friend, indeed. I then make a post of my own because…well, because half of our family didn’t know anything was wrong yet and I needed some prayer warriors. I was getting a sinking sensation as the minutes went by.

I woke Matt up saying we needed to make the drive home to FL. I started packing things, loading up the car. During this time I had tried to call my parents and no one answered.

Twenty minutes later I check Facebook and my Uncle, my Tito, had messaged me saying he was sorry for my brother’s passing. What the actual FUCK?! Even typing it now triggers me. Even thinking about it makes me so incredibly angry & sad for so many reasons.

Hysterically I sob to Matt trying to get the words out. Adrian died. I keep moving, I need to get home! I now start thinking that I have to find something black to pack. Everything feels surreal. The kids hear me crying and I don’t even know if they are at this point. I simply don’t have the energy or the emotional capacity to comfort them.

We finally get everything prepared enough to where we can leave. We head out on a 12-hour drive, six hours after my parents left my house after getting the phone call. I remember Matt merging onto the interstate and the sunrise was so bright and beautiful that day. I remember thinking that this wasn’t real. He died. My kids are crying now, at least Gabriel is. I remember my son sobbing in the back seat and my husband trying to console me as I drive. For a moment a stop crying and stare out of the window with tears in my eyes. The sun is higher now, so bright. I remember the sun.

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Happy Birthday, little brother.  Normally on this day, I would celebrate you, but in the last 3 years, I find that today is a day of incredible mourning for me. Today is the day that I grieve. Not the day you crossed over. It’s interesting & funny how my mind works and how my thoughts process.
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You should be here, my sweet brother. Oh- You should be here! You left us way too soon. And while I do realize the gift of you, and how you blessed us all when you when you entered this world 37 years ago, my heart hurts so much that it was such a short life. No matter how sweet. It was still much too short. All the gratitude and positivity can’t help heal this broken, sad heart. Today, out of all days, I’m reminded of that the most. Today I allow myself to cry & feel it all. Today is when I miss you the most.

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Every month is tough after a loved one passes. At least, that’s how it is for me… June is especially tough because his birthday is on the 19th.

I reflect a lot on the “what if’s” and the “what could have been.” The grief can pop up from out of nowhere and overwhelm me so much that tears start rollin’ down my cheeks. Driving in my car, at the grocery store, having dinner, at the beach, working… It happens more often now that I’m back in my hometown. Living in the home we spent many of our years growing up in. I’m flooded with memories of all the joy and heartache, and I know there is still a lot for me to process and sort through.

I try my best to stay upbeat. I’m alive after all! And there is so much joy in my life. But I really miss him. I hate that he was taken from us so suddenly. I hate that I wasn’t here to help him. I hate that I was gone so many years. I hate that I’m back and eager to leave again. But most of all I hate that he is no longer physically here. I can’t text or call him. I can’t cook with him. I can’t eat his delicious meals. I can’t seek his advice. I can’t sing karaoke with him. I can’t hang with him and our kiddos. 😢Oh – the kiddos. They love and miss him so!

I hate to hate. I know he’s up there doing all he couldn’t here. I know when I’m doing my ugly, heavy cries he is near. His spirit is always near. I’ve felt it and have heard him.

Today is just one of those days.

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