Remembering a Brother

There are some things in life that we simply have no control over. Death is one  of those things. In 34 years of life, I have experienced a lot of death. I’ve had grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins die and dealing with the loss of a loved is never easy.

When I was 16 I lost one of the closest people in my life.  At the age of 15 my cousin Macho was murdered at point blank range when an altercation with another kid escalated out of control.  Almost a brother to me his death left a void that still has not been filled and it never will be. Although he was one year younger than me he always thought and acted like he was older than me. He was protective of me. I cherished him.

Today Macho would have celebrated his 33rd birthday and I can’t help but wonder how his life would have been had it not been taken from him. Things that seem so important as teenagers really are minute when we think of them in the greater scheme of things. I often wonder if his murderer, only a child at the time as well, ever thinks about the life that he took. I wonder if he is remorseful.  I wonder if he ever thinks about the little girl who had to grow up without her father.  At the time of Macho’s death he left behind a 1 yr old baby girl. This baby is now a 16 year old beautiful young woman. I wonder if the murderer ever asks himself “was it really worth it?”

Today as I celebrate and remember him I think about the wonderful person he was. I remember how much he loved his family. I remember how much he loved chocolate milk. I think about all of the pranks he liked to pull.. I remember how he handcuffed my other cousin to the stairs in my house just because he wanted to. lol. I remember how girl crazy he was and how he dated every one of my girlfriends. I remember our summer trips to Puerto Rico where he almost drowned me in our aunt’s pool. I remember how mischievous he was. But most of all I remember him always having my back. I remember him having my  back when I got jumped in high school. I remember having his back when he got jumped by neighborhood kids not caring that I was the only girl involved in this fight with a group of boys.

Macho was loved by a lot of people but as much as he was loved he was also hated. He was a bad ass. He wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything. He never backed down from a fight and if you messed with his family he was the first one there to defend them. This bad ass attitude is what eventually did him in. When he was confronted by his assailant he told him “You better kill me because if you don’t I’m gonna kill you” and he meant it. That’s just how fearless he was.

When I first learned that he had been killed I took it really hard. I had lost a brother and a friend. His mother lost a son. His grandmother lost a grandson. His sister lost a brother and his daughter lost a father. We were all grieving and at the time I was immensely depressed and I had no one to talk to about my feelings. I remember writing a poem to help me cope with my grief and his death was what inspired me to write my first poem. I have been writing ever since. Ironically, in some way his death gave birth to my most precious gift.

So as I sit here and write this I am grateful for the relationship that he and I shared. I am thankful for all of the memories that him and I created.  It has been over 15 years since his death and I still miss him terribly. His death taught me how precious life really is. One minute you can be here and the next you can be gone. We all have to appreciate every single day that we wake up and are able to spend it with those that we love. Cherish those moments. Make the most of those moments. Time is valuable and shorter than you think, don’t waste it.

Happy Birthday Macho…you are missed and never forgotten.

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