i know you were there with us this weekend, friend (as always).
i can't tell you how honored i was to get to meet your family and to spend time with them saturday. they were all so loving and kind. hearing stories about you and your cousins growing up, looking through your old pictures, enjoying the food your aunt made, sharing stories and thoughts with jeff as we peeled the 800 shrimp together and your sister as we stood in the kitchen together and helped prepare the food.. all the while laughing with the guys and being back at brandon's. your family seemed just as cautious about washing their hands as you always were.. and me, too, of course.. it made me laugh. something about being back at the house felt comforting. i thought it would be hard, with you not being there. but, instead, we all felt you there and knew you were there with us, and we were comforted instead.
the show was pretty crazy (or rowdy, as you would say), but i know you saw it all (i know you definitely heard it).. the guys running and jumping around, while your sister, your friend and i stood at the back and watched from a safe distance. you would have loved it. you were so passionate about music and live music, and i'll never forget the shows we went to. even though i remember feeling nervous at times, i remember you stayed by my side at those shows, making sure i had a good time and felt comfortable and safe.. and i always did. that music always moved me (emotionally and literally), and although it kind of scared me at first (ha), i got more and more into it over time, thanks to you (as you once told me, "I knew you would like this kind of music and not just John Gayer").. and that's something i would've never discovered had it not been for you.. those shows are something i would've never experienced had it not been for you.
it was an emotional evening/night, that's for sure (which ended with your sister, cousin, friend, jeff, brandon and me standing around the kitchen, laughing at the random things brandon decided to share with us.. your cousin thought he was especially funny.. "he has no filter.. it's like hearing his entire thought process"). the hugs and the "how are you holding ups?" and the "i love yous" and the love in general.. all kept coming last night. i think we've all realized how important it is to just say it, to make sure your loved ones know it.. and how important it is to watch out for each other, just as you always watched out for us.. just as i know you always will.