My big brother was killed in a bicycle accident a year and three months ago. He was the most incredible big brother in the whole world. He was my best friend. He was the person who understood me more than anyone else I know. He was my hero, my protector, and just overall the best human on the planet.
My brother was my half-brother. We shared a dad, or rather a father. There is a difference, and that's neither here nor there. My brother didn't have to be a big part of my life. He was 9 years older than me. He could have dismissed me from his life easily, since our father died when I was very young and he lived with his own mother. But he knew the value of family, and treasured my younger sister, my mother, and I in a way I think you can only understand if you have had really crappy family members bail on you.
The four of us were close in a way that you couldn't understand from the outside looking in. We saw each other constantly and never got sick of each other. When I moved far away from my mother and sister, he was the one who would drive two or three hours on a weeknight just to come by for dinner when I was lonely and newly divorced. He'd call up my sister just so they could do their laundry at the laundromat at the same time and chat for a couple hours. He tattooed "StepMom" on his leg. He was the glue between us slightly more hormonal females, who sometimes forgot to be nice to each other.
I loved our family unit. We were a great team. Nothing could stop us. Everything was possible and even on bad days we had each other.
Since my brother died, I feel like a part of me is gone and will never ever heal. Our family feels broken. Everything we do together now has a huge missing piece where I know he'd fit just right. I get angry when I hear how my friends families can go long periods of time without seeing each other and not care at all, or when I see how little they appreciate their family. I want to scream out that it isn't fair that you get them here, and you don't even notice them. I want to make them appreciate what they have.
The last time I saw my big brother, we spent an entire weekend together with little sister down here at my place. We watched horrible movies, went out for a seafood dinner on the shore, and talked about how we felt about our love lives. We ordered pizza and drank wine. In short... it was a typical weekend for us. He hugged me goodbye and said he loved me, and I shouted it back over the staircase railing as I struggled to get a wiggly three year old into a bath.