February 11 2017 Saturday at 02:31 PM

Tribute To My Brother

I think if asked, most people can point to one person in their life who has been his or her greatest influence. For me, that is my older brother Josh. Like any brothers only two years apart, we had our fair shares of quarrels and fist fights growing up, but at the end of the day, we were pretty much always best friends. We were both partners in crime and creative collaborators, hanging out together all the time. Whether it was tearing up our yard (and the neighbors’ yards) with our tricked-out golf cart, gutting and customizing a short bus with blue paint, rocking recliners, touch lights, and a Nintendo, making stop-motion videos, or starting neighborhood sports leagues, there was never a shortage of ideas for fun things to do with Josh around. We had the perfect dynamic—he would come up with some ridiculous idea, then I would figure out how to make it happen: the idea man and the creative problem solver.

Josh was a beautiful soul. He had the heart of a child—loving, generous and forgiving. Really, he was just a big kid, ready to play any sort of game or sport at the drop of a hat. And he was good, too. He excelled at most sports he played. More than anything, my brother was a genuinely good person. Honest, kind-hearted, and like I said, generous. Josh lived a simple and humble life, never wanting for much. He was well on his way to becoming an elementary school teacher, and a damn good teacher he would have made. An ideal role model, I think, for any young individual.

Sadly, when he was 22-years-old, Josh took his own life. For all his goofy smiles and crazy fun, he battled serious internal demons, the extent of which I will never know. The amount to which he inspired others and touched their hearts I do know, however. He was well-loved by his peers and mentors, a real shining star in many people’s lives. His death continues to be my greatest daily struggle, but his creativity and beautiful personality remain my biggest source of inspiration. A part of him lives on in everything I do. And even though he is not around to see and be a physical part of the genesis and growth of this current creative endeavor, I know I never could have come this far without the lessons, strength, and inspiration I have taken from my older brother. His legacy lives on in every tear in my eye and smile on my face, and every crazy idea I follow through on.