‘Everyone said he was loyal, protective, hilarious, selfless, and humble. Not one person spoke of his addiction. That’s not who he was.’: Sister shares lessons learned after brother’s passing

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“Every day I miss my brother.

I miss his goofy laugh, his sarcastic wit, and his ability to make an entire room burst out in laughter. He could impersonate actors and quote thousands of movies with style and the best comedic timing. He was hilarious and one of the smartest people I knew.

At his service, I couldn’t make it through my speech about him without sobbing; thankfully my husband graciously took over and read it for me. It was about how he teased me, protected me, and loved our mom with such a beautiful intensity. What I realized later was everyone said the same things. Everyone who spoke said he was loyal, protective, hilarious, selfless, and humble. Not one person spoke of his addiction, because that’s not who he was. He was so much more; that was not what defined him. It was a demon that got a hold of him, not the heart of him.

Since his death, I’ve learned so much. I’m a different person, for multiple reasons, but his death has taught me so much about how to live. Not just how to live, but how to love. It doesn’t surprise me that even after he’s gone, he’s still teaching me like the loving big brother he was.

brother who has passed smiles while wearing a suit
Courtesy of Christi Cazin

Tell them…

When my brother died, we hadn’t talked in a while. He was struggling on and off with addiction so he had pushed away a bit. I’m grateful the last words he said to me were, ‘I love you too, sis.’ But, looking back, I should’ve told him every day how much I loved him. I should’ve told him I was there to talk anytime. I hope he knew, but I didn’t say it. I didn’t say it enough. You can never tell your loved ones enough how much you cherish them. Go and tell them, always tell them.

Don’t wait…

In my mind, I’d justify our distant relationship, blaming it on his struggles or my busy mom life. I thought I’d have time to pursue a closer relationship with him someday. I constantly told myself someday we would be close. Don’t wait for someday. Someday may not come, so don’t wait to pursue the kind of relationships you want. Do it now.

old image of brother who has passed wearing a yankees hat with a smug smile
Courtesy of Christi Cazin

Love them anyway…

My brother was a loyal friend, a loving brother, a devoted son, and an amazing athlete. He was the best Trivial Pursuit partner ever; we all fought to be on his team. He was a sweet soul, with the most protective heart. Half his friends became his friends because he helped them or defended their honor in some way. That’s who he was. The very end of his life, he got lost in the world of addiction, but I refuse to remember him that way. He deserves to be remembered for his honors, not his struggles. What I will remember is that I loved him, and love is unconditional – and it never fails.

Love can set boundaries of course, but it doesn’t quit because someone struggles. If you struggle with addiction, you are still loved. If you know someone who struggles with addiction, love them, even if it has to be from afar, love them anyway.

Regrets are worthless…

I have plenty of regrets when it comes to all aspects of my life. I make mistakes daily and my family relationships are no different. After Andy died, I went through so many shoulda, coulda, woulda’s I made myself sick. But it didn’t change anything. It didn’t bring him back and it didn’t make me feel better; it just made it hurt more. So I prayed for forgiveness and left my regrets in the past where they belong.

old image of brother who has passed in his football uniform on one knee holding a ball
Courtesy of Christi Cazin

Live it well…

My brother taught me so much about life, and I miss him every day. I will always remember his stories, the sound of his voice, and his big personality. I can still hear the sound of him playing his electric guitar in the next room when I was in middle school. I thought he was so cool. I could hear him play Green Day and Nirvana songs like a rock star. I use to brag to all my  friends about him, but I never told him that. I would tell him everything I thought of him if I could. I can’t go back, but I can start every day with the intention to live my life to the fullest. To quote one of my favorite songs, ‘Life is short, I wanna live it well.’

I love you big brother. Thanks for teaching me how to live and love well. I’ll see you on the other side.


Your little sis”

brother and sister spending time together; brother is playing video games while sister smiles
Courtesy of Christi Cazin

This story was submitted to Love What Matters  by Christi Cazin of Mama Needs More Coffee. You can follow her journey on  InstagramFacebook, YouTube, and her website. You can also purchase her book on Amazon. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Christi here:

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‘My faith is solid, but it’s something I fight hard for.’: Mom shares how she remains faithful during ‘life’s roughest storms’

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