Dear Big Brother,
Your birthday is in a few days.
You probably received my card, the one that I wrote my phone number in, as I have done in each unanswered letter for the two years since we last spoke, even though my number has been the same since 2001 and I'm sure you have in memorized.
This is my last photo of you, of us together. It was taken nearly four years ago. I think the last time we spoke was around your birthday two years ago. Then you got a new phone and decided I didn't need to know the new number.
A few things have changed in the past two years. My kids are growing. Emma recognizes you in pictures, but she doesn't remember you. She knows about mental illness, though. Mental health is a topic we talk about openly, and I think that is a good thing. Liam has never met you. I need to start showing him more pictures of you and telling him stories about his uncle.
Though you have asked your social worker to no longer give Mom and Dad updates, we know you are still living in the same apartment, where Barry and I brought your belongings. We also hear that you are doing well, that you are adjusting to life with mental illness. You just aren't ready to deal with family. I respect that. Family is hard.
I spent the first fifteen years of my life looking up to you. I spent
the following fifteen worrying over you, fearing for you, sometimes even fearing you. The last three have been spent
I just want you to know that I love you. I want you to be happy, to find joy, and to make this life work for you. I want the best for you, even if that means that life has to continue on without any contact with me.
So, Happy Birthday, Big Brother. I hope it is the happiest one yet. I hope, in some corner of your wild, beautiful mind, you know that your family loves you and wants the best for you.