I’m sitting in my youngest daughter’s room willing her to sleep. For some reason, my girls don’t want to sleep. Ever. Me? That’s all I want to do.
Remember when you and I shared a room? We had that bunk bed dad built. You had a mattress on the floor and I slept on the top. We didn’t seem to sleep either if I remember correctly. Or rather, I didn’t sleep. Karma and all that.
I remember doing flips over the wall of the bed onto your mattress. I landed a little too hard and got the air knocked right out of me. You were always telling me to go to sleep and I was always playing in my bed. Georgia does that now. She’ll play for hours. I always thought I was getting away with something. Mom and Dad were totally onto me just like I am to her. She’s not fooling anyone.
I think you would’ve been a great uncle. My girls would’ve really loved you. It’s hard trying to explain where you are. Georgia will try to make sense of it. When she tries to talk about it, it comes out very raw yet cute. She’ll say, “Mommy, I’m sorry your brother was killed. Why was he?” Toddlers don’t quite get how to be subtle. I understand though.
I think about the night before you died, a lot. Mom and Dad went out for their anniversary and I babysat. We ordered Pappy’s Pizza (Paid with change. They must’ve loved that!), had a scavenger hunt, watched “Home Alone” and ate that popcorn that had that neon food coloring in the bag. I’m sure those had chemicals that are now outlawed.
It must’ve been a Thursday because you and I had to go to school the next morning. There was a big storm and we decided we should sleep in the guest room together. Looking back, I’m so glad we did.
I’ve decided that people with siblings really don’t know what they’ve got. When I hear about siblings that have had a falling out I hurt for them. They have a chance to have a relationship. You and I had that taken from us. How would they feel if that person was gone in a puff of smoke?
When I hear of siblings that are best friends I get so jealous. We totally had our arguments. Let’s be honest. We could get into it like the rest of them (maybe better). But we loved each other too.
I never got to thank you for the popcorn. You never actually gave it to me. After you died the police kept your backpack as evidence for some reason. We got it a few months later. It had some scratches on it. I’ll never forget opening it up and there was a bag of popcorn. You had written my name on it. That really touched me. Still does.
Will Violet ever sleep? I keep thinking she’s going to fall asleep and BAM! she’s back up. This parenting thing is pretty awesome but man is it exhausting. I think you would’ve made an awesome dad. I wish you’d been given the chance.
This originally appeared on my Medium.com blog.