Dedicated to my little brother…


Eleven days ago, I lost my little brother Joseph.

The kid who used to be so attached to me that he called me “Mama Brandi” and would get so jealous and upset if I were to dare play with or hold another child in my arms.

The adolescent who I did not see much during my college years, except on holidays, and who thought that it was so “cool” when I told him he was going to have a nephew.

The teenager whose attitude and slick comments would many times irritate me…

And the young man who shared my love for writing-for poetry- and took the time to develop his gift and used it in such a way that it left me in true admiration of him.

I remember when I first heard Joseph recite his poetry. I was in disbelief.  No way such incredible talent, strength, and conviction was coming from my little brother! Since when?! One of his poems that he shared during an open mic service at church four years ago, brought me to tears and moved me so much that I ran to him after he was done and hugged him. Something that caught him as off guard as it did me because if you know me, you know that hugging is not my thing. I really do not like to be touched; a fact that my brother Joseph, and my son, Christian would often ignore.

Anyway, after one of his performances, my brother once said to me: “Brandi, I noticed you never look at me the whole time I’m up there. After a while, you put your head down. How come?” I replied, “ It just feels awkward to me.” And Joseph, as he would often do just shook his head and laughed.

Thinking about it now, there is more to it. I really was just in awe at what my brother was able to do, how he transformed right before my eyes for those 3-5 minutes-doing what he loved-doing what he was created to do-and it reminded me of how much I had gotten away from what I love, how I had abandoned my talent by just sitting on my gift-and it was hard to face because I’m the big sister. I’m supposed to set the example and I wasn’t. Instead, my little brother was setting the example for me. For all of us.

Since my family and I suffered this huge blow, the outpouring of love has been unreal. My brother touched so many people’s lives; those young and old, of different races and backgrounds, and those near and far…  I wonder if he had any idea of the impact he was making when he was here. I’m sure he knows now, since he is in heaven and is privy to a lot of things that are still a mystery to those of us here on earth. Here on earth, where his absence is felt everyday-from the moment I open my eyes til at night when I struggle to fall asleep.  I miss him.

I wish for one more day of him calling me “Bambi,” even though I hated it! I miss him teasing me for the hundredth time for saying that a shark is a shark and not a fish {inside joke}. I can still see him smiling and waving to me from our dad’s car the last time I saw him before the accident, as we left Wednesday night bible study. I wish I would have hugged him and told him I loved him-rather than just thinking I’ll see him Sunday…..

People say that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Yet, we all live as if we have all the time in the world. We complain about our job, the traffic, even the weather, when we should just be grateful for life ( )and the people in it. FullSizeRender

As each day begins- you are one day closer to death. Rather than complain, rather than have regrets- LIVE! Live your life. Enjoy life. Save a life. Change a life. Make your life count for something.

Make a difference.

My brother did. And from this day forth, I will follow his example and make sure no one forgets it-or him.

Until I see you again, Joseph… love you always.


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