From the time I was born until I was twelve, I believed I was the youngest of the three daughters born to my mother. I knew I was adopted, but I had no idea that the woman I thought was my sister was really my mother, or that the two little hellions I loved with all my heart and believed were my nephews were in reality my little brothers. I don’t remember being surprised. I only remember being happy. I had always wanted brothers, and suddenly I had two; Billy and Jon.
I didn’t get to live with my brothers growing up. They lived in Wilmington and I lived in Erwin, but we went to see them and they came to see us a lot. We were really close. We would go to the arcade or down to the boardwalk at Carolina Beach when we went to see them. When they came to see us they’d hang out with me and my friends. Even though I was a little older than they were, we always enjoyed having them around.
As we got older Billy and I became much closer. I can honestly say he was my best friend and I loved him with my whole heart. We became adults together, and our late teens to early thirties took us through good times and bad. There were a lot of times when Billy lived with us. He was always there for a hug for the kids or me. It never mattered what time it was or what kind of crisis was occurring, he was right there having my back when I needed him. I wish I could find the words to express how much he meant to me as a brother, as a friend, as an uncle to my children, but I can’t. There are no words to show the depth of the bond I had with him.
There were also times we disagreed on things. Nothing in life is perfect, but disagreements never lasted long and they never affected our bond.
On November 5, 2008, I got a phone call from our mother saying he was dead. I didn’t believe her. There was no way I could. Even seeing him didn’t make my heart believe it, but it was true. Four years later, it still feels like I should be able to pick up the phone and hear his voice on the other end, but of course, I can’t. He’s gone. At least from this Earth. He is still in my heart though, and he lives on in my memory every minute of every day. Always.
The last words we said to each other were, “I love you, Sis” and “I love you, Bro.”
If I could say one last thing he could hear though, it would be I miss you, Little Brother. I love you with all my heart. Always.