The world lost a giant of goodness two days ago.
A man whose kindness made a lasting imprint on anyone he met.
A man who'd do anything for the people he loved.
Words fail me at this moment.
They don't seem...enough. They don't seem big enough or deep enough or good enough.
For my entire life, I've always said that I have two older brothers - James and Ricky.
Now technically, they're not blood. But that's not the point.
The point is, they've always been there. A piece of thread in the fabric that is my family.
If we go back to technicalities, they're former students of my father. He taught them English. And then he taught them theatre. And then he taught them about life.
And yes, they left his classroom, but they never left our lives.
We're shared more memories than I can count, birthdays and weddings and christenings and sweet sixteens and surprises parties and dinners and backyard BBQ's.
The list can go on.
We've shared the good and the bad, and everything in between.
And on Sunday, November 20th, Ricky left this earth.
He's not here anymore and it doesn't seem real.
But it is.
And now I try to find the words.
My good friend Michael once said, everyone was in love with Ricky when they were a teenager. At the time we had a chuckle. Teased his wife, our friend Mary, and then moved on.
But I keep coming back to that moment in time.
Everyone was in love with Ricky.
Oh, how true that was - oh how true that is.
Everyone was in love with Rick, especially Mary.
And when they got married - I think I cried with happiness. Two of my favorite humans were tying the knot - and putting more love back into this crazy world.
I can't write love in the past tense. Because it doesn't leave - especially not for a giant of goodness. Even in death, love sticks. Even in death, love stays.
I love Ricky. My brother loves Ricky. My mother loves Ricky. My father loves Ricky (just yesterday he said that Ricky was his first child. I know we'll say that forever.) James loves Ricky.
And Mary, Mary loves Ricky.
I wanted to be Mary when I was younger. I still wish to have her eloquence and grace and strength.
As a geeky teenager, I was always thrilled when someone said they thought I was another one of her sisters. It was the greatest of compliments.
It still is.
When I was in the worst depression of my life, Mary was there. She reached down into to the pits of my own hell - and pulled me up.
Because that's what she does.
She lifts people up. She makes them better humans. She brings out the best in everyone whose live she touches, in everyone she loves.
A sudden and tragic loss like this renders one speechless - a glaring reminder that life is fleeting.
But for me, I suppose I'll love harder. Stronger. Fiercely and unapologetically.
I'll love like Ricky and Mary.
Cause at the end of it all, love is what lasts.
Love is what matters.
Love is what we leave behind.