The last time I saw my brother was on Thanksgiving 2011. The last time I spoke to my brother was 11/26/11 at 1:09pm then fastfoward an exact week later (12/3/11) same time, I would just be finding out he died.
Out with 3 other friends in Northville, MI around 1:15am, my brother was struck from behind by a car. One friend stayed with my unconscious brother while the other who saw it happen, attempted to chase down the car. The vehicle slowed down and then drove off. Leaving my brother to die in the middle of the street. Around 6:45am, I woke up to 6 missed calls - 1 being from my older brother. I was up early because I was getting ready for work. I called my brother back and he told me Josh had been in an accident and was hit by a car. He continued to be vivid and tell me that it seems bad. So I talk to my mom and back to my brother Jon. I immediately start balling, my boyfriend grabs me and told me to pack a bag. I bought the first ticket out of Chicago to Michigan. Shitty news, it’s fucking raining then stuck in traffic, I had 4 minutes to make my bus. Left at 8:30am and arrived early in Ann Arbor 1:45pm - My older picked up my boyfriend and I up, he gets out of the car and the first thing he said was, “he didn’t make it” - I lost my shit. Josh had a cracked sternum, his right eardrum was completely shattered, his left eye was swollen black and purple, he had multiple bruises and fractures to his head. The doctors tried to revive him 3 times, he was pronounced dead at 11:42am. So after I get all this information, I get taken to the hospital to see my deceased brother. I had a meltdown. Got to the hospital and hugged my mom, just balling my eyes out and she kept repeating, “We’re going to find who did this, we’re going to find who did this.” We spent a good 2 hours at the hospital just worshiping Josh as he laid there with no pulse. I always thought it would be weird to touch a dead body but all I wanted to do was keep holding his hand, I never wanted to let go. It wasn’t fair I had to let go. It’s all not fair. Josh had tons of tattoos so I took pictures of all of them, I’m going to copy a few of them. The nurse took of the bracelets he was wearing and gave them to my brother and I. It was a very depressing day. My brother Jon, My mom, our family friend Sabrina, My boyfriend Max and our pastor closed out with a prayer and we said our goodbyes.
I’m not sure if I’ve pinpointed the exact feeling that I feel. I’m pretty sure that’s impossible. At this point in my life, I never thought my own family would be on our local news channels. Or that someone in my family would be killed. It is really something you don’t think about, ever.
Josh was the shit. The absolute fucking shit. He cared for any and everyone. He was always smiling, laughing and being himself. I’ve never seen him upset or hear him talk shit about anyone. He had a beautiful imagination, the ability to draw, the talent to write poetry, raps and he was filled of love. He was an incredibly hard worker, dedicated brother, friend, mentor to so many people. He was the brightest of all lights and a pleasure to have known. It all still feels so unreal. My heart breaks every time I think about what happened.
I miss him so fucking much it hurts. Josh and I had a special bond, we were very close. He was only 4 years older than me and boy did I look up to him. He was so authentic, original, smooth and amazing - I wanted to be just like him. But he taught me that being myself was the best gift of all. He taught me so much and he always looked after me.
It’s so hard to write more with out tearing up. I feel like I’m still stuck in shock even though I know what this all means. It’s been 9 days yet I feel like I have no concept of time anymore.
My mom is sad and really trying to be strong. People have reached out from our church, community, neighborhood and more. Josh was very popular and loved by all. So many people brought us meals, flowers, his friends made flyers and set up a memorial fund in his name.
Meeting with a funeral director, picking a casket, selecting a cemetery and plot, writing an obituary, are all things I didn’t enjoy doing. Let alone no one should have to bury their sibling. I really miss my brother and I love him so much.
I’m back in Chicago only for a few days, I need me time. But Thursday it all begins… viewing at my home, Friday the funeral and Monday his burial.
At the end of the day, I know Josh wouldn’t want me to be sad. If anything, he’d want me to enjoy life to the fullest and do whatever my heart desired. It was only truly fitting that the last time I ever spoke to him he approved my boyfriend and the last thing we said to each other was. “I love you”
Then this past week when I was home getting all of his arrangements together. He kept giving me signs that he’s okay and that he’s watching over all of us. I drove his car and he had stolen all the cd’s from either my room or my car. It made me laugh because I could only imagine him jamming out to Bassnectar, Crystal Castles, and Mount Kimbie. Then I went through his wallet and he carried my cheerleading picture wherever he went, the back read “To Josh, with love always near or far. Jenn” and even going through my voicemail, I have 2 from him. I miss his voice, his presence, his laugh, everything. A huge part of my life is missing. It’s really hard, I’d be lying if I said I was okay. I know I will see him again someday. But for now, I’m praying he’s my guardian angel and he’ll watch after me like he did here on Earth.
Losing a sibling is incredibly hard. My mind can’t wrap around the concept sometimes. Instantly I get sad a lot of the time. But like I said, Josh was/is so amazing that I know he wouldn’t want me to be sad. This weekend is going to suck, however I will be meeting a lot of new faces and seeing some old ones as well to celebrate my brothers’ life. I’m hoping it isn’t too overwhelming which I’m sure it will be. I’m just wanting to make it out alive and in one piece. My boyfriend’s father bought me a ticket to Mexico the day before Christmas for 2 weeks. It’s going to be weird not spending the holiday with my family, I already feel guilty about it. I’m not excited for the trip yet either since I have to make it through this first. The thing that gets me everytime is, on the bus ride to Michigan.. I didn’t think anything of it. It never crossed my mind. On the bus, I was thinking, okay I’ll sacrifice a lot but it will be worth it. I was thinking I’d move home for a few months, make sure Josh got to all of his doctor appointments and what not, get back to schedule. Then when I arrived to Ann Arbor and I found out that wasn’t even an option, my entire game plan was gone. Nothing. Even now, I have no clue what to do about my future or what it holds.
Friends, fellow bloggers.. life is tremendously short. Treat everyone with love and respect. Don’t be afraid to look stupid and reach out to others regardless of the circumstance or how long it’s been since you’ve seen/talked to someone last. If you have issues with friends or family, please make up. You never know what life has in store for you. My mom adopted 3 children, raised them by herself. 6 days before her 67th birthday, someone killed her 25 year old son. My other brother is 30 and I am 21, do you know how BIG of a difference that is? Josh was our buffer, he was the glue of my family. My family dynamic is almost non-existent now. And to know, someone else, someone I don’t know, is responsible for this - is a pain, you cannot imagine. This mystery person is so selfish, they didn’t even stop or turn themselves in. My family and Josh’s friends all over the country are mourning because of this mystery person.
Don’t take people for granted. They were put in your life for a reason, to teach you, to help you grow and become who you are. Realize who those people are and always keep them close to your heart. Make it a point and daily routine to stay in contact with those you love. It’s absolutely vital. A great deal of my personality is shaped from my brother who initially taught me that being myself was key. If you stay true to yourself, where you came from, who raised you and that you carefully picked out your friends - you were on a path for success. I’ll never forget all the memories my brother graced me with and I’m always going to miss him. There hasn’t been on day where I haven’t thought about him. I thought day 1 was hard, it is now day 10 and it’s just as hard. I often wonder how I am supposed to go the rest of my life, knowing he won’t physically be here? For now, I have been writing in a journal he started and at his funeral I will be reading some of his poetry. I think it will be very therapeutic for me. But we shall see…
I’m not sure how to end this entry other than to tell you all to have love for everyone in your heart. You’ll never know the impact that they will have over you.