Dear Young Man who took my brother’s life,
I am writing you this letter to tell you how I feel and to let you know what you did when you killed my brother.
I know you are young. From what I understand, you were only 23 years old when you crossed that 12 foot wide raised median and struck my brother, killing him instantly. I’ve heard conflicting information about your sobriety when this happened. I don’t know what made you cross that median. I’ve wondered what went through your mind when this all happened.
I do know that you killed my big brother. He had just turned 40. He was a father to 4 handsome young boys and was going to adopt a beautiful young girl when his trip was over. I know that you took him away from an amazing wife, who, to this day, loves him with all of her heart. His oldest son had just turned 15 and his second son was about to have a birthday. His youngest son wasn’t even eight years old. My brother was 15 minutes into a trip from Las Vegas, Nevada to Alaska. You didn’t even let my brother get out of the city limits.
You broke my widowed mother’s heart. I was visiting my mom that weekend. Fortunately and unfortunately I was there when she was informed of the accident. I was there with my two youngest children; the youngest wasn’t even a year old. There was nobody there to help with my kids so I could release the pain of my own broken heart. I had to be strong for my mother and my children. I had to make the phone calls that nobody wants to make; to tell my family what you had done. I had to watch my sister in her hysterical fit of pain. After all this, I had to drive 4 hours to get home so my husband could drive me another 400+ miles to get to the funeral.
You took the life of someone who was loved by so many that the building his funeral was in was completely full. He was someone that I always admired. He was a fantastic example of how I should be. I admired him in so many ways.
His sons are now going to have to rely on their Grandfather and Uncles to learn how to be the man their father was. My niece, who was adopted after my brother’s death, no longer has this amazing man in her life to show her what a real man is and how a real man treats women. My sister-in-law will now raise five children without her husband. That’s five children to get through school. Five children to keep housed and to feed.
My mother still struggles with this loss. He was the one who came to her house to fix things and help her. He was her baby boy. His death was too soon. No parent should have to bury their child.
I still have to have discussions, which I wish I could avoid, with my daughter. She wants to know why her Awesome Uncle Neil is in Heaven. She wants to know what happened to his body when he was hit by your truck. My daughter is concerned about her cousins not having a daddy anymore. There are many more questions and discussions than just these. I have to do my best to answer her in ways she can understand, ways that are appropriate for her age and in a way that won’t teach her to hate. All of this I have to do, while keeping my emotions in check.
I tried to hate you. Your actions hurt me and I was angry with you. Oddly enough, I have never hated you. I wish what you did had never happened. How I wish my sister-in-law still had her husband and that my nephews and niece still had their dad. I wish that my little ones knew their uncle. I wish you hadn’t broken my mother’s heart.
No matter what I wish for, I can’t change what happened. All I can do now is pray that you never repeat your actions from that night. I know you are young. I know that you have a long life ahead of you. You need to serve your sentence and then become the great person you are destined to become. Although none of us know why this horrible accident happened, I know that there was some lesson to be learned. Please know that even with all the hurt I still have, two years after you took my brother’s life, I forgive you.