To My Brother From Another Mother

Brad –

I am so sorry I couldn’t be there today for Lynsay, Kadence and your family. I tried to make it back man. I promise I would have never left Lynsay’s side through this whole thing because I know that is what you would have wanted and expected fro m me. But, I know you would have understood why I couldn’t be there then and now. I know though that Lynsay has been surrounded by so many people who love her and you. And, I promise you that your two girls and the little one on the way will be taken care of, by so many people who love you guys. Brad, I will always be there for them, always, you have my word brother.

I wanted to honor you in some way today because I know they are having your memorial back home. I thought about what I could do from here. I know that if I was there just maybe I would have been lucky enough to talk a little, to share a story or two about you and how much of a great man you were. And, if I cannot be there to share in person, I will share it on here. If I did have the chance to share a story with them, I know you would have been watching me. You’d probably be laughing, making some smart-ass comment to some other angel like “watch this guy try to speak, it’s the funniest thing ever”. In fact, you’re probably laughing right now telling them to read this letter because we all know how awesome my writing skills are too. There is no doubt I probably would have stood up there and stuttered and would have thrown in some good “Tonyism’s” that I know you loved so much. I would have definitely been in tears, crying like a baby, just trying to get words out.

But some how I would have, and this is what I would have told them:

I would tell them how much I loved you, and how great of a friend you were. How you never failed to make me laugh in 14 years. For that matter, how you never failed to make anybody laugh. I would tell them that there are just so many stories to share with them that shows how great of a man you are and how it was impossible not to laugh around you. Like the time I was doing that room inspection in James and Sherlock’s room, and I was so pissed, throwing things around. You were supposed to be my backup, but you instead were too busy laughing your ass off because of what they did. I couldn’t stay mad and had to walk out. Or the time I was planning on torturing the Marines in PT the next morning and unbeknownst to me you told the entire unit you would take care of everything. You took me to your hometown bar and got me so drunk that night that I couldn’t PT them the next morning. The entire unit applauded and cheered for you and then you all played dodge ball. How about when you and Brian were so convinced to volunteer to go back to Iraq for the second time and I was like “come on guys lets just think about this”. You both didn’t even hesitate and said, “We’re going back, you coming?” Of course I was coming, all I was asking for was that we just think about it, for a little (LOL). But that’s who you were- a true patriot. I will never forget when you prepped us to meet Lynsay for the first time and you told us all not to act like ourselves because you liked her. In reality, we knew you probably prepped and warned her about us, and how we were going to act ☺. How after 5 years of wearing TOMS, you still make fun of me every time I wear them around you. Every time I put them on now, I’m going to smile thinking about you laughing up there.

Even in the dark moments of my life, you were standing by me. Like the moment I got hurt in Iraq and you found out. When you knew that I was going to be ok, the first thing you did when you saw me was laugh and make fun of me for letting them get me, and then you hugged me. Or how over the past few years I was having some rough moments in my personal life and you would call just to talk to me and give me some encouragement.

Don’t worry though; I wouldn’t forget to mention your two favorite ones of us (wink). The famous PFT run you and I did together that so many Marines have no doubt heard about while drinking beers with us. I’m laughing now just thinking about it. And, the one where we spooned all night in a 2-man tent to survive that damn cold weather. I still say I got screwed when it was your turn to be the big spoon.

But Brad one thing is for sure, I would end it with this, the last words I ever heard you say to me…something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Just a few days before I was leaving to go overseas again, we spoke on the phone. We did our normal guy talk thing for a few moments, having a few laughs, taking shots at one another. Then you said “Alright man I have to go. I will see you soon when you get home. I love you brother and stay safe.” …… “I love you brother and stay safe.” Brad I will never forget those words, never. I love you too man and I know you are safe now. And, I will see you at home. It’s just going to be a different home this time, but I promise you, I will see you again. I love you and rest in peace brother, for your legacy will live on forever.

Semper Fidelis

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