Writing a letter to the public about my brother’s death used to be outside my realm of possibility. I can be very timid; once, my high school English teacher used me as an example for our vocabulary word, “diffident.” The last thing I would want is others’ pity or empty platitudes. Still, I decided to write, one Thursday evening, at the end of my work day. Despite the hurt, my beating heart of anxiety, and the inevitable concern with sharing important and sacred things through a cheapened medium like Facebook, I felt stronger for telling my story. I felt brave.

The amazing part in it all is seeing your isolating, silencing walls dissipate and seeing the recognition of the lost after eight years have passed; what a beautiful thing. And raising money for an organization dedicated to helping those in need, that is amazing to see. I am deeply grateful.