The value of some things can be so hidden that it takes the worst circumstance to realize how important they are. Joni Mitchel captures this concept in the lyrics “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til its gone, they paved paradise and put up a parking-lot.” It’s incredible how separation can bring people together, how the one person I wouldn’t think of relying on became my backbone, and how my best friend had been there all along but I never realized it until he was gone.
My older brother and I had a hard time getting along. Being the only girl in the family I always felt inferior to my brothers. Riley was the leading light in hockey and lacrosse, and I spent all after school hours at the barn or with friends. Brother and sister bonding was atypical for us because we always seemed to be on the other side of the universe from each other. The second I was told that my brother was being sent away it became clear to me that we were not close enough. We disagreed a lot; in reality the only thing we agreed on was contradicting our parents. I realized that I craved to have a better relationship with my siblings, but this realization had come to late.
Everyone does things they wish they could take back, but it builds us into better people. Mistakes define us as individuals, and we have to learn how to cope with the consequences. Separation is the biggest challenge in life, but it creates a bond between two people that might never have shown through if that detachment had never occurred. The most important relationships are impossible to see until they are questioned, but by then it is too late.
The hardest thing in the world for me was letting my brother go. Soon after he left it became obvious to me that this was going to be hard, but it is what needed to happen. I was going to miss my brother more than anything, but I also knew that this wasn’t about me. It was about Riley and “fixing” what was wrong. As the days dragged by and the letters piled up I learned how much my brother means to me and how much I took him for granted. I had never seen how much he cared for me and I definitely never let him know how much I cared for him. I believe that the most important things do not become obvious until they are gone. I believe that words can not express love, and I believe that you need to go through hard parts of life to enjoy it to its fullest.
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