When he was seven and I was ten I kept a collection of things I loved on my headboard. A watch from my grandma. A war medal of my great-grandfather's. A medal I had won after a hard match. A small trinket that he had made for me. He asked me about it once, then things started appearing on his. His first knife from our grandpa. A picture of great-grandpa in the war. A small flag pin. A small cross I carved for him.
When he was ten and I was thirteen Grandma and Grandpa died within the same month and left things for us. A eagle sculpture for each of us. A ring for me. Grandpa's collection of ties for him. A switchblade for me. An old .22 for him. When I was getting ready on the day of the funeral, I heard a soft tap on the door And when I opened it to see his sheepish expression framed in the collar of a button up shirt I didn't say anything and taught him how to tie a tie.
When he was thirteen and I was sixteen I saw him spiraling down the same path I had. He sunk into himself. I noticed. He didn't want to talk about it right now. I didn't make him. When he finally came to me with tears on his cheeks and admitted he needed help, I helped. That Christmas, I bought him a wallet and he gave me a small wrapped present That rattled slightly when he handed it to me. It was a cross on a silver chain.
The wallet is getting worn out and the cross still hangs on the inside of my shirt close to my heart just like he is.
Dear Little Brother, You might be three years younger, and your green eyes still filled with wonder, but you're learning how the world works and how to understand each of its quirks.
You need to be careful out there that you aren't scared and caught unaware Learn from my mistakes, and you'll find We're separate people, not of the same mind.
Don't forget to breathe sometimes I swear to God that it's not a crime, and though they may tell you you're too soft, Do not, Do Not let your heart become frost.
Little brother, learn to fight your own fight, and learn to let your light let others shine bright. You are not a waste of space, and you'll need to find your own place.
When I'm gone, I need you to understand some things are worth taking a stand. You need to fight for what you believe and don't you dare waste time to grieve.