- Posted October 31, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Home and Away: Remembering the fallen
my baby brother
Today, I am flying above the clouds, heading to Italy. I will be greeted by Vesna (Dan's wife) and his kids. A vital member of our family will not be there, his life was cut short just a month ago. As I look down on the clouds, I think about what we were taught about heaven as kids. Heaven is in the clouds, people can look down and make sure we are doing well and be a part of our lives. As I look down upon the clouds and if I close my eyes, I can see Daniel. He is sitting in a chair, smoking a marb red and drinking his smelly coffee (mostly because he always burns it). He will have slid his Addias sandals on to his oversized feet. His hair will be going in a million ways and on the verge of greasy. He will be wearing a modified version of what he just slept in; a white wife beater and gym shorts that barely cling to his bony hips. He will greet you with a wide smile if you came to join him. He would inquire about your day, listening with great intensity because he truly cares about everyone.
Daniel was born 3 years after me; we have an older brother, James. Daniel and I were always pals, sometimes we hated each other but in the end we always loved each other and protected each other. Our parents were never meant to have a lasting relationship; I barely remember them married and can't imagine Daniel has any memories.
As children, we lived with our mom. Our mom has the biggest heart, often leading her to sacrifice herself. Our mom was always trying to find a better life for us (one without government cheese and hand me downs), she would move to a new location or start dating another man, all with the promises something better.
As teenagers, we decided to give our dad a try. I moved first and Daniel followed 2 years later. Together, we navigated our way through being step-children, having a step-brother and our father's unique styling from his temper to his quest to teach us some new uninteresting skill. No matter the circumstance, we had each other, confiding and complaining to each other that lasted into adulthood.
With Daniel and me growing up so close, he was able to know me in ways others will never. He was the only person who could tell me truly how I was being. We would be talking through something and he would blurt out "because you are a bitch" than he would smile because I knew he was right. In the beginning of September, we lost our grandmother. He knew how devastated I would be by this and losing someone we were close too. Despite being in the desert of Afghanistan; he would call me just to check in. He would listen to me cry and talk about her even in his own grief. His strength is unwavering and inspiring.
Being protective even possessive is something we did for each other. As teenager and adults, neither one of us took well to the other's significant others. When Daniel first told me about Vesna and that he had to marry her (because of love), I tried to put the brakes on. My comments included "you are too young" or "give it sometime, this is too fast". Daniel was stubborn and didn't listen to me, I am glad for that, Vesna is an amazing woman. Discovering the love they had for each other was a learning process for me, I also can be stubborn. Upon meeting Vesna the first time, I was that "bitch" who thought I knew better than my brother. I am sure we all would like to wipe that trip out of our memories. I finally realized what they have when I went to Georgia 3 years ago. They would sit down and watch "Wizards of Waverly Place" as a family (yes, the Disney show.), Daniel was excited to be with his family. The other clue was the birth of Edward and his name (after a vampire), he wanted to make his wife and family happy. He wanted to be the best husband and dad he could.
With Daniel being gone, we all have big shoes to fill. His Children will learn about him through me and all those who loved him. He is reflected in every one of his kids. Alexis has his leadership and compassion, she wanted to make sure everyone is taken care of before herself. Edward, the stubborn one, is just like him; Daniel would not do something if he didn't want to, no matter how much you tried. Ethan has his joy and easy going manner (must be the youngest kid thing). He is looking down from his cloud every moment to shine his love upon them.