I’m in Louisiana, but not for the reason I planned. On Thursday, January 8, I lost my dear brother Jamie. Needless to say the pain is so hard that I am in a fog. My heart feels like it’s about to break open. I didn’t expect. None of us did. We thought he was on the mend. He was getting better. That’s what the doctors told us. It’s going to take time. Lots of time. Be patient. On September 25 my brother had a massive stroke. I was on a plane the next day. I’ve been flying back and forth trying to maintain a business and a life. It’s been rough.
His birthday is tomorrow which makes this even more heart wrenching. On the flight down I was a mess. I couldn’t have made it without my husband and two amazing flight attendants on United. Those ladies mothered me for three hours on a plane until I could walk into my mother’s arms. I don’t know how she is so strong. She has had to bury a husband and now two sons. I’m looking to her for strength, because I’m so weak. Jamie was not just my brother, but my best friend. He’s one of the reasons I travel. He supported me while I studied in Paris, maintained my car and house when I lived in Houston, and listened to every complaint, frustration, and accolade. He called me every single day. There was no dream I had that he didn’t support. When I told him my ideas he encouraged every single one. Not one hesitation. Not one doubt. He believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.
No matter where in the world I was I got a text, voicemail, and email from him. Every Monday we analyzed each NFL game. It’s been hard trying to watch the games without hearing his voice. The last time I talked to him was on September 24. My wedding anniversary when he called to wish me “happy anniversary.” He kept laughing and saying I can’t believe you found someone to put up with you. That was our running joke. Every phone call or voicemail started the same – “Julia, it’s your brother Jamie …” When I called him back I said “Jamie, it’s your sister Julia. Your only sister.”
To not hear is voice is hard. I’ve been playing his last few voicemails to me over and over. Just to hear him say it. He’s taken care of me since I was little. I remember him washing and combing my hair, taking me to school, and always being there even with a family of his own. He came to the house as I got ready for prom, going off to college, taking me to the airport to go study in Paris, helping pack my car to move to DC, telling me “have fun in DC, but come back now, you here!,” go to Spain with that guy because you know what you are doing, and much more.
Yesterday I did something I have never done. I requested a window seat on the plane in his honor. He knew I hate to fly and would never sit by the window or ever look out the window on a plane. But he always told me “look out that window girl and live.”That’s what I did.
I know he’s no longer in pain, but it just sucks. I talked to my family and asked could I write something. My mom said that’s what you do. Write it out. It will help. I’ve received so many calls, emails, and texts in support. Thank you. Life is so short and it’s so precious. I just wish heaven could have waited one more day, one more week, one more month, one more year to make him an angel. I guess they needed him more than me.