And still, like it was yesterday, I remember every detail.
From sitting in a girl down the hall's dorm room, getting ready for a fun Saturday night out on the town.
From calling my boyfriend, and my friends.
From trying to figure out how I was going to get home.
From missing a week of school.
From wishing more than anything I could not go back to school.
From standing with my sisters and my cousin at the casket at the end of calling hours, in silence, with tears running down our faces because we couldn't go up alone.
From wishing I could take the pain that my mom, her parents, and my cousins had to face.
From praying that I would wake up and it would all be a dream.
From knowing that the last time I spoke to him, he ended the conversation with "Da-Niece, have a great time at college, and don't get into more trouble than I would."
From realizing that our family dynamic had forever changed.
And on this day, I remember the laughter, the Budweiser, the crazy water gun fights, the memories, the vegetable dip on my hands, the serious talks and threats at my graduation party, the trips to get thrown into pools, lakes and whatever other body of water was around.
And I wish more than anything, I was able to tell him one more time how much he meant to me.
*photo taken courtesy of Sarah at Love has many Flavors