july 9, 2013. the day my family lost my brother- at only 21 years old. on the anniversary of his home going, i always like to take time to reflect and remember, no matter how difficult it may be. jay died of stage 4 brain cancer. we spent the nine and a half months that he battled cancer, believing & praying for his healing. and even though we wanted his healing to be earth-side, jay still got his healing in heaven. & we eagerly anticipate the day we can reunite with him.


i cannot believe it’s been nine years without you on this earth. there’s so much i want to tell you; i don’t even know where to start. i was only fifteen years old the day you left us. i couldn’t even drive without adult supervision. now, i’m married with a son and another baby due next month. i’m almost 4 years older than the age you were when you died. i feel selfish for even being able to have lived these years on earth yet you weren’t able to. i think as each year passes and more changes occur in my life, i get scared, because deep down, i feel like the more change that happens, the farther i get from the sister you knew. and i always want to feel close to you.

we spent hours playing barbies in my room, and even though it ended up in an argument half the time, it meant the world to me that my older brother took the time to do something i enjoyed. i loved our photoshoots we’d do around the yard with my little pink, canon camera. we’d both pose and you’d tell me i looked nice. those affirmations were much needed for your teenage sister. we’d laugh all the time; you were hilarious. your dance moves, made up songs, & joy were so contagious. everyone loved you.

i want to tell you about some people in my life you never had the opportunity to meet. let me start with my husband, trevor. you would literally love him so much. mom has actually mentioned so many times all the things you two have in common, including your love for lasagna, being so tall, attending the same college with the same degree, heart for ministry, & love for the Lord. i can just picture you and trev sitting there chatting all things ministry; it fills my heart with joy. trevor treats me really well. i know you were always so protective of me. almost too protective haha. but you would approve of him. he’s intentional in his pursuit of me and our marriage & he’s an excellent father. and above all, he leads our family so well, seeking the Lord everyday. i love him a lot!! he’s the youth pastor at our church & watching him preach makes me the most proud wife. trevor has a great sense of humor; we have a lot of fun together. he truly is my best friend. i know you two would be really close friends.

last june, we had a son named hudson. he loves people, and i know he would’ve adored his uncle jay. he’s super smiley and happy literally all the time. i just wish i could see you be an uncle. you always treated people with such love & kindness and your nephew would’ve been no exception. i had someone tell me just last week that they could see some of you in hudson & that just melts my heart! i can guarantee our kids will grow up hearing all about you, jay. can you believe i’m going to be a mom of two kids in a month?! i know you always had a deep desire to have a wife and kids. i wish i could’ve seen that happen.

trevor and i just bought our very first house a couple months ago! sometimes it’s hard for me to even imagine that i’m old enough to do things like that. i wonder where you’d be living. i know you felt a call to be a pastor in georgia. anytime we travel through georgia, our family thinks of you.

mom & dad are doing really well. they’re both retired, living at their dream house they built in rush city. they’re so strong! i don’t know where i’d be without their love, encouragement, and wisdom. they love being grandparents and seeing them with their grandsons is super special. they’re leaders in the youth group right now. we all learn so much from their dedication and love for people. they miss you a lot though. i think we all could use a good jay bear hug.

ross has been married for almost 5 years and has a son too. you would adore hannah and liam. ross is still just as funny as ever! don’t tell him i said this, but i think he became more funny after you left us because someone had to be the one making us laugh all the time, so he decided it was his job to carry the torch. ross is super smart and has a really good job where he can work from home!

i love you, jay. you’ll always be my big brother. your faith has strengthened my own. you never doubted the Lord’s plan for your life & i bet you’re so happy that you’re with Him. and you’re all healed!!! someday, i’ll join you in heaven. and that reunion will be so so special. just know that we talk about you often as a family. you’ll never ever be forgotten. there’s a place at the table missing because of you not being here. and your life has impacted many people- way more than you could imagine. i will never stop sharing your story and telling of God’s goodness and faithfulness, because even though we didn’t see your healing earth-side, God still gets all the glory & he is still GOOD!!

see you soon,

tia marie

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