“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.Four years. Four years. Four years. Today is the four year anniversary of my brother Justin's passing. It feels like both a lifetime ago, and yet, just like yesterday. And, to this day, not one goes by that I do not think of him. Remember him and the times we spent together, both good and bad. Do honor to his memory, by working hard, being honest, and trying to be the best I can be. No matter what he went through, he always tried to be better than he was. I didn't see that then, but I've seen it since his passing. It's inspiring, honestly. He had a way of not putting up with any nonsense, and always going after what he wanted, in a manner that I don't see in many people around me today. That's the type of man I want to, and strive to be.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Going through a loss like this, it changes people. It changes the way we see the world, and the priorities in it. For me, I've tried to focus more on developing my illustration portfolio. Through the help of many gracious local artists, I've been able to do so. In turn, I am trying to help other artists who are trying to get started in doing so as well. If that's the contribution I can make to help others right now, then I am happy with it. When I am able to do more, I will do so. Because I think that we all should help each other to become better people, and to attain our personal goals and dreams. Time goes by entirely too fast to not try to do so.
Maybe that's why I get frustrated when my friends do not do so. Or, rather, that IS why I get so frustrated. I have many talented, creative, intelligent, funny friends, that, for whatever reason, don't try to do something with those talents. If any of you are reading this, and I hope you are, please, I implore you to do so. It's not hard to do, but it does require that first step towards that goal. Yes, it's a gamble, and yes, it can be scary, but the end results are worth the risk.
And that's what I want for everyone, to be good to each other, and to help each other be better people. I dedicate that desire, as well as everything I do and will ever do, to my brother.
I love you, and miss you, every day, Justin.