My Baby Brother

Nolan. I had always dreamt of the day I would have a baby brother. Then I got lucky. I got three of you guys. I was not lucky enough to spend the beginning of my life with you, but I was there before you hit double digits. Back when you were small and would listen to anything I said because I was your big sister the day I met you. I watched you grow from my baby brother who wore footie pajamas to the dork who could show me how to do anything on a computer. Remember when you got grounded from electronics so you modded your raspberry pi to watch YouTube? We all laughed. How could you be so clever.

I was on my way to work when dad called. I don’t remember my drive home. But asking the sheriff “are my parents inside?” Will play on repeat the rest of my life. As I looked past them I saw more standing where you were found. I don’t remember enough but your dad unable to stand all day. On his knees. And (y)our mom just pacing crying while my dad took the lead to the detectives. Our brothers were there. And we were so lost. When they asked if we wanted to see you before they took you, we shouldn’t have said yes. We shouldn’t have been as curious as you. You had had a great Sunday we thought. But you hid your gun out back. And within hours you were gone, and we didn’t know until Monday morning. Grandpa laid with you. Pulling your shirt so we didn’t have to see your damage. But your body showed enough. How will you always be 16? When they let me dress you at the funeral home I had never felt someone so cold. But it was the last time you let me hold your hand. You had let me kiss your head when I visited home the month before. So I kissed it again. I didn’t think that would upset you now. None of this feels real 3 weeks out. Getting out of bed hurts. I don’t have the strength to brush my teeth or hair somedays and I just hope for the best. Thanksgiving sucked without you and I’m scared of Christmas. I wish you could’ve talked to us about it all. Because I feel so lost not knowing why.

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