Well, it has been a year since you’Ive been gone.  There is a saying that the world
doesn’t stop when something goes wrong.  Mine did.  It no longer exists.  I don’t think the
pain will ever go away.  I was not as close to you as others but, you are the most special
to me. Before you died, the hardest thing I ever dealt with was the divorce of my mom
and dad.  Immediately after that, I got to meet your mom and all of you.  I hated that.  I
loved the idea of having brothers and sisters.  I just hated having my whole life change.  
Dottie is five years older than me and at the time that was a HUGE difference.  I never
really knew her then.  Heather and I started off on the wrong foot.  We never really
started off, just bumped heads.  I could tell Kat didn’t think I was too bad at first, but she
was peer pressured into not liking me.  Then there were the boys.  You, Jason and
Patrick, Patrick is five years younger than me.  There is that HUGE difference again.  
Come on, did you want to play with a 5 and 15 year old when you were 10?  Of course
you would.  You did anything for anyone.  Jason was ok but he was so hyper that
eventually he got on your nerves.   That left you.  If you ever judged me, I never knew it.  
You would always let me tag along or follow you around.  Mostly because you were not
doing anything either.  You were quiet, laid back, and very patient.  I was just starting to
think that maybe this situation wasn’t going to be so bad after all.  

Then, Dad and Grandpa brought you fishing with us.  I was so jealous.  This was the
only thing I had left just between Dad, Grandpa and me.  I have to be honest.  I hated
you being there.  Not only did you get more attention because they had to show you
stuff but, you also caught the first fish.  As the day went on, I started to like you being
there.  I decided from now on if you went fishing with us again, I might like it.

Towards the end of the day, you got one of your headaches.  This is around the time
they first started.  At first, I thought you were just trying to make me jealous again and
get attention.  Then, I realized you weren’t faking.  I was still a little jealous though.  You
seemed to get these headaches often.  Sometimes I did wonder if you were faking. Then
I figured your headaches were like my stomach aches.  They were from thinking about
things and worrying to much.  You were pretty sensitive on the inside.

As we grew up, you remained quiet and shy.  As I look back, you were actually the
smartest.  You stayed out of trouble, you were the last suspect if you did something
wrong and you knew everything that was going on with all of us.  That last one alone
would give me a headache.  You were not too thrilled with school. You did your best and
were a pretty good student.  You got some jobs and hung out with Pat a lot.  I enjoyed
coming to visit you at footlocker.  Your personality stayed the same as you continued to
grow.  You became pretty good at giving advise but mostly you were a listener.  A great
listener and you were always kind and smiling.  I could always count on you for a good
smile.  I never really remember you in a bad mood.  Sure there were a few times we got
on your nerves but, I don’t remember you ever being mean.  Granted, I was not there a
lot.  Even when I didn’t know you and Pat were in the truck in front of me on the highway
and kept messing with me by hitting the brakes every few minutes.  I had Kelly in the car
with me and we were headed back to dads.  She was screaming the whole way and I was
getting aggravated.  I flew around you and gave you the finger.   I was so scared
because that truck followed me home!  I was relieved and embarrassed when I found out
it was you and Pat.  To this day I have never raised any fingers to anyone.  

When I was working at Connie’s store and business was slow, I would call you up.  I
always made some excuse to call but I really just wanted to talk.  I was bored and I knew
you would stay on the phone with me.  Not once did you ever say you were busy or you
did not feel like talking.  Even when I left you on hold for a customer. You never hung up.
And you always answered if I had to call you back.

We had some fun times along with our serious moments.  Making forts in the living room
and having fake snowball fights with the rolled up white socks on laundry day.  The time
all of the girls made a haunted house in the basement complete with spooky sounds for
the boys.  Riding with me to stake and shake and going down the gravel filled pot holed
fake road because I always missed our turn.  Getting locked out of the house and
climbing through the bedroom windows.  Riding bikes forever and playing in the tree
house.  We played in that tree a lot.  Even before you helped to build the tree house.  
We also hung out in the garage making things out of wood.  You liked the cutting and
sawing.  I liked painting and staining it when we were finished.  The greatest gift I have
ever received was the bear you made me.  Not because I liked bears but because you
played attention to what I like and you made it just for me. When Kelly came along, I
noticed she was the one who started to get the bears.  You were smart enough not to
make them teddy bears so I would not want to keep them.  I never knew there were so
many different kinds of bears.

I am very glad that I lived with my dad for a while when I was pregnant because I got to
spend more time with all of you before we started going our separate ways.  I really miss
you.  Thank you for taking the time to get to know me for who I am.  I was closest to you
of all the kids. Let’s face it; you are a tough group to get into. I will never meet anyone as
kind and caring as you.  There are not enough words and paper to say how I feel about
you.  I would like to think you can actually understand it better now and feel my love and
admiration for you all the way to heaven.  I know you are there because we used to talk
sometimes about God and Jesus.  I also feel like if Jesus was on earth today, he would
act just like you and grandpa.  Thanks for being so brave and always doing what is
right.  That does not come easy to many people.  Most people make their lives hard and
complicated searching for happiness, morals, and values.  You had it from the get go
and made it look simple.  You are just a big hearted country boy who loved to fish, run,
and eat cheese out of a can.  You will live with me in my heart forever and I will always
cherish our memories.  I know Kelly misses you too.  When you went away, you were
worried she would forget you.  She always knew who Uncle Dan was.  Sometimes she
was just shy.  I would never and will never let her forget.  Besides, she has all those
bears now.  I am glad they made the build a bear workshop around here because we
now own one of a kind bears made by Uncle Dan himself.

This is not a long goodbye but a short one because we will be together again soon.  I
tried to come early but you wouldn't’t let me.  Good Bye Brave Soldier, loving brother
and uncle.  This is not a long goodbye but a short one because we will be together
again soon.   

Love Always,