Hey, I miss you. I really don’t know what there is to say other than that. Not a day goes by without you crossing my mind in some form of another. My good days are when I am able to think of you without crying. On my bad days, I just give in to my emotions of hurt and feeling abandoned.
I know you didn’t mean to leave us when you did. But God needed you more. You were my quiet strength. Walking with humility was something I learned from you. Whenever I was around you, I felt like I was taking a class in humbleness.
Our conversations always felt like I was going to school in how to be a better father, how to be a better husband and just how to be a better person. You knew how to chastise without even raising your voice. Getting your point across was a cold stare and a raised eyebrow away.
You were my dearest friend. You always saw the good in me when other people did not. You encouraged me when I didn’t know how to encourage myself. You were my champion. You taught me what it is to walk by faith, how to be still.
I can still see your strong, chiseled face bearing your affectionate smile last Fourth of July. You spoke with excitement of future dreams. It was beautiful to see you talk about the limitless possibilities in front of you. It did my soul well to see you so happy.
Remember our talks? Over the years, we shared a lot. A lot of laughter, some pain and a forged bond of brotherhood went into those conversations. We reminisced about the good times. We were always honest about what we discussed.
It was during these times that I learned just how much of a light you brought to others around you. In some of my darkest days, you shared that light with me. I could count on you being my voice of reason when insanity raged around me.
You were the cool and collected one, never too high and never too low with how you dealt with any situation. That’s the guy I knew. But I didn’t truly know the goodness of your soul until you and I started vibing together as we grew older.
Sure, we grew up in the same household and worked alongside each other as we toiled in our father’s business. We traded jokes and kicked it together while playing Pop Warner football. We competed in sports. You were always quiet but everyone knew not to mess with you.
I was always proud of you. You were something I was afraid to be. I was terrified of the bully and his gang who stole my lunch money every day. You stood up to those who thought that intimidation would work on you. The school bullies stayed away from you. They knew what time it was. You were not the vulnerable type.
You always represented a strength that is hard to find. Resolve was one of your best weapons. I never saw you panic. Anxiety was not part of your DNA.
You were always the steady one in the family, keeping things together like glue. Steadiness comes from leadership. Your steady hand dealing with life’s turbulence showed me what leaders do in the middle of a crisis. That impenetrable smile of yours could dial down a tense moment at any given time.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T became your calling card.
When I look at you, I see a reflection of God. You are more than my brother. You are the hero I dreamed about. You are my Superman. As you came into your own as a man, I sat back and watched and admired the person you had become.
Maybe that’s why I miss you so much, Ike.
This article is dedicated in loving memory to Ike Freeman, a brother who made my world better