Thursday, December 5, 2013

Brothers are Forever

February 12th, 2010 David celebrated his 24th birthday in Iowa City. His actual birthday was February 21st but he had a special event at his school in West Branch so he planned his festivities a little early.

My parents came to Iowa City and we all went out to eat for pizza at Herb and Lou's (probably the only bar/restaurant in West Branch!) Carlos was coincidentally at Herb and Lou's (he had arrived in Carlos time: 1 hour early!) We all enjoyed talking: Mom, Dad, David, Carlos and I. David was excited to see his many friends who were coming to watch him play in a staff vs. students basketball game and he had planned a get-together after the game to celebrate his birthday.

David was the coordinator for student government and he had organized the basketball event at West Branch. I didn't know anyone playing except David but that was enough to be thoroughly entertained! David was entertaining in everything he did. He also liked to be the center of attention so he knew how to captivate an audience! I should also say, David was really good at basketball!

David warming up for the game!

After the game, we said good bye to our parents and I rode with David to my apartment. He took a quick shower and I changed my clothes. I remember asking him if I looked okay, he always said the same response, "Yes, you look really nice." It's funny looking back on this now because I later learned how nervous he was for me to be meeting his friends. His fear was that I would date them, even worse, marry them! That night I had a high-neck dress on that went down to my knees. Perfect for David!

David and I walked downtown to meet up with his friends. It was a little awkward for me at first but David tried to make me feel welcome. He was so sweet to me. Eventually, while David was talking to other friends, Carlos struck up conversation. We ended up hitting it off! We talked on and off the whole night, and I knew that there was something really special about him.

Fast forward a few years: (I'm skipping the transition period when David acclimated to my dating his best friend, and lots of other good memories in between!) Carlos and I were engaged to be married. Carlos not only talked to my parents before proposing, he also asked for David's blessing!

As soon as we began making wedding plans last fall, I thought of asking David to give a toast at our wedding. David knew us both best. He knew me as his sister and friend, and Carlos as his friend and sister's boyfriend! I told David we would love it if he gave a toast, but only if he wanted to. I told him we wanted to include him because he played such an important role in our relationship and he was so important to each of us.

This summer, David moved back from Colombia. I can still remember him telling me he was coming back early so he could help with the wedding. He also brought back up his wedding "speech." I was a little nervous and said, "Speech? Well, I thought it would be nice to give a toast." If David was doing something, he did it all the way! He told me he had already written his wedding speech and I laughed. I said my only requirement was that it came from his heart and was written with love. I was a little nervous about what David might say in his "speech." He was a little hurt about this and ensured me that he would say nothing less than loving.

David spoke of our relationship growing up and the way we'd become close as adults. He shared memories of him and Carlos in high school and beyond as best friends. He told us how happy he was for us, and that he thought we were perfect for each other. The way David said this was so genuine, it made me cry.

The last line of his speech was, "At first when Anna and Carlos began dating I was sad to lose a best friend, but now I see that I gain a brother. The thing is, best friends come and go, but brothers are forever."

David was, of course, directing this to Carlos, but now I think of these words often: "Brothers are forever." 

David was an integral person in Carlos and my relationship. He means so much to both of us: individually and together. I never in a million years imagined that he wouldn't share life with us.

This makes me really sad. I miss him for all we had, and all that we would have had.

I am counting on heaven because I need more time with my brother David, preferably forever.

Missing and loving David J.

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