I’ve been struggling on what to say today, I’ve always felt like writing speeches isn’t personal and I wanted the last thing I could say to my uncle to be as personal as possible. So I wrote a letter today to him, forgetting about everything that’s happened. This is that letter.

Judda,

How are you? How’s work going? Did you watch the World Cup, I’m sorry about Brazil, those stupid Belgians right? Barcelona was a great time, I never met Messi. I recently got to see dad’s wild side, now I understand why you say it should be a rare sight; but you’re still the more “fun” dad. We have to book something for next year with the whole family. It’s crazy how quick things are changing in my life. I still remember being a groomsman at your wedding and now I’m doing it for Isaac’s. I guess you were right, mircales really do happen. I still remember you writing Rachel little letters in the back of your bible during church, and now she’s grown into one of the greatest people I know.

So listen, I have a problem I need your help on. How do you write a letter to someone you know you won’t get a response to. How do you tell someone you love them when you know they can’t say it back? I guess that’s why it’s so important to say the things we want to say the minute we do. I’ve found that it’s so hard to do that in a world where we’re always working, in a world where we’re always fighting for ourselves and taking care of ourselves. But you’ve always found the time to, whether it was the “I love you” at the end of the phone call when you were in a rush, or “I’m proud of you” when I got a promotion at work or the “Let’s go out sometime” even when you worked those long hours. I hope one day, when I have a family, I’m just like you in that sense; always looking out for my own and making the time to be there.

Back to my original question “How do you write to someone knowing they won’t respond”, I think I’ve figured it out. It’s by living the life that person wants for you. It’s taking everything they’ve given you and turning it into something good, by making that person proud. I know for you, money or status never made you proud. It was giving back to the community that raised you, by helping the people who never got life right the first time. I know how hard you fought for the chances to be a better person and a better dad everyday. I want you to know, you did it, you won your fight and I’ll take those stories by the fire pit and lessons you taught me along the way to make sure everyone who deserves it has the chance to live their best life like you did.

How do you tell someone you love them when you know they can’t say it back? You show it to them. I will by being the best older brother I could be to your kids and continuing the mission you started. How do I know you love me too?

The last 22 years.

I’m finishing writing this by the fire pit at 11pm surrounded by the people you love and I can’t help but think about a quote by your favourite artist Bob Marley.

Love the life you live, live the life you love

I’ll talk to you soon, I love you.

Your son,

Aaron

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