About a month ago, my mother sent my younger brother and I a text containing pictures of some photographs she had found. They're of my brothers and I. Jackson looks to be about two years old, which means I would have been seven and David ten. In one photo my brothers are feeding ducks, while in another David and I are watching Jackson play with the toy train we had given him on his birthday. The final photograph must have been taken a little earlier than the others, as Jackson doesn't look much older than one. In it, David is carrying and cuddling his baby brother, both of them unaware that a photo is being taken. The image perfectly captured their personalities at the time: David, the caring and selfless older sibling, and Jackson, the sweet baby who adored his family and was rarely not giving one of us a cuddle. It's easy to look back over the years with rose-coloured glasses and forget the day-to-day ups and downs. However right in the middle of my childhood, when these photographs were taken, life for my siblings and I was perfect. It was wonderful. And when I saw the picture of David holding Jackson, my heart just about shattered because that time has passed. We lived it and it was bliss and now it's gone. He's gone.
Life feels incomplete without you, David. You were so important to us. And there's so much that you have missed and won't get to experience. That's the hardest part, I think. But my goodness, weren't we blessed to have spent those years together as children? With our sweet younger brother and our parents, who, with their unconditional love and gentle guidance, were the reason our lives were so perfect. Even as kids we knew how lucky we were to have our Mum and Dad. Though I didn't realise how lucky I was to have you, how exceptionally loving you were towards me and how much influence you, my big brother, had over my world and sense of self until much later. Until it was too late to thank you.