An Open Letter to my Big Brother.

Dear brother,

So much has happened since you left me.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could tell you about all of things that have happened in these past 3 years.

I wish I could tell you about the hardships, struggles, achievement and the goals that I have accomplished and that you have missed.

I wish you were here so we could joke about everything and so you could make fun of everything I’ve done.

Dear brother, I really wish you were here to see where my life has taken me. I wish you could see the life I have made for myself. But mostly, I wish you were around to see the life you could have made for yourself too.

I wish you were around so badly these days… And everyday.

In a few short weeks I get to marry my best friend and your best friend too!

The only thing missing is you.

My man of honor!

I know you are going to be with me on our day though.. not only in my heart… but in other ways too. Mom told me how you actually were able to buy my wedding dress even though you are gone. I hope you saw me the day I found the dress and mom told me it is from you.

You would have seen your baby sis cry like a big ol’ baby, which would have just made you laugh at me and you would have told me to shut up!

You’re always here.


Mom knew how much it has hurt me that you wouldn’t be there for me but she found a way to make you part of my day even when you aren’t here.

You really are always so close to my heart.

Dear brother, thanks again for being there for Russ and I since day one. You have always been our biggest supporter and Thank you for watching out for us and all that we do. We love you so fucking much.

Dear brother, I know you feel no pain now. I know you did what you thought you had to do.. I just wish you were here to see YOUR life through.

You would have seen how amazing life can be and seen how there is light beyond the darkness if you just let it be.

You would have seen that things get better with time if you let it.

And seen how many people love and miss you. You would have seen your baby sister turn 21, and you’d been able to actually legally drink with me, even though we had been drinking for 5+ years together already!

You would have seen your baby sister graduate college.
Your baby sister getting engaged and soon get married.

You would have seen that life is worth living and that so many of us needed you and still need you.

Dear brother, I know that life was not easy on you and you did what you thought you had to do but we are all missing you every single day.

I love you with all my heart and I’ve been missing my best friend nonstop for the past three years.

Derek, one thing I miss most is your humor. Oh my, your humor was the best. But, I still can’t believe that mom and dad thought you were so funny all these years and that you came up with your sayings all on your own! They’re slowly realizing that you were always just quoting movies to them!

We all do really miss you though. We miss your smile, humor, your sarcasm and your asshole ways.

There’s no one that could both piss off everyone in a room and make them laugh at the same time like you could.

Dear brother, thank you for giving me 20 years of love and humor with you. But 20 years just really was not enough for me.

I couldn’t have asked for better brothers to show me the ropes of life, drinking, humor, sarcasm, racing, riding horse, hunting and true friendship.

You were someone that I looked up to even though you always told me that you looked up to me. I really miss you, big brother.

I miss making you grilled cheese when you told me that you didn’t know how. I let that one slide so many times because I always just loved that you asked me for help with things.

I miss sneaking downstairs to the basement fridge and cracking a couple cold Bud Lights with you, hoping that Mom and Dad wouldn’t notice that the case downstairs was missing nearly all of the beers out of it.

I miss replacing the liquor and the wine bottles with water….. again hoping that Mom and Dad would never find out.

or taking cigarettes out of moms old cartons and taping them back up because we knew she’d never look.

I miss taking the moonshine and you trying to convince me that eating the cherries was the best part of the moonshine. Drunk Amber figured that one out for herself.

I miss the late night cruises just to clear our minds.

I miss always having someone that was down to have a good time and that was always there for me when I needed it and always willing to tell me the truth no matter how hard the truth hurt.

I miss having my brother that would take me to parties, and tell me that you’d be the DD and then get more fucked up than anyone else but still agree to drive your baby sister home because you didn’t want me to get in trouble and not be able to go out partying with you anymore.

I miss the scary movie nights or watching Step Brothers for the 500th time and quoting the whole movie before the lines even happen. Or watching Talladega nights with you and trying to live life like Ricky Bobby!

I miss watching you race. You had such good dreams and goals with your racing and that’s what you wanted to do and I know if you were here you’d be pursuing those dreams in every way possible, and you would have had my support through it all.

Dear brother, some days it’s really hard for me to come to terms that you’re actually gone.

You’re no longer with us and I realize it’s been 3 years that it has been this way. 3 years since you left the world, you left your friends, your family and your life.

The hurt doesn’t really get any easier. There’s some days where it feels like I’ve gone a million years without you and other days where it feels like you just left me yesterday. It really is just a weird concept of time. But there is not a day that goes by that I don’t have you on my mind.

There are so many people that miss you. I know since you’ve been gone, I have had so many people talk to me and tell me about the memories and moments that you have imprinted onto them. Most of the memories include you making people laugh and smile.

I miss just knowing that you would bring a smile to my face and could make me laugh on cue.

You really could bring a smile to everyone around. And yes, sometimes you were hard and nearly impossible to put up with.

And also true that people either loved you or hated you when they first met you but I’m so glad that I got to grow up with you and that we became best friends through out our lives.

Dear brother, this life seems so weird without you. I wish things were different, I really do.

But I know that I can’t be mad anymore. I can’t keep dwelling on your choice.

I’m sure after 3 years you have heard enough about how pissed off you had made me, as I cry and yell when I’m alone and talking to you. How lost, confused and mostly heartbroken you have made me…

I’m sure you have heard me cuss your name about how upset I have been over these years about how the one day you decide not to turn to your sister, you made a forever choice.

One that impacted a hell of a lot more people than just you.

But I also know that you knew I’d be ok.

You knew that I knew what was going on more than anyone, so you didn’t want to turn to me.

You knew your baby sister would be the one person to talk you down but would also be someone who couldn’t hate you for what you did.

You took advantage of my love for you. Took advantage of the fact that I could never hate you forever for this.

You always said you were going to die young and people would remember your name, and damn brother, where you right.

Dear brother, I wish you were here so much.. but I hope you’re okay.

I know you’re okay.

You have to be okay.

Wherever you are has to be better than what life put you through down here.

Life blows without you.

But I’m learning each day more and more what life is like without you and how to manage this forever pain you left upon so many of us.

Dear brother, this still sucks, and my heart is always hurting and broken because of you.

But I will always remember to live for you.

To celebrate the accomplishments and continue living life as a party and celebration because that’s what you would have wanted for me.

You never would have wanted me, or any one else to be sad. You just didn’t want to hurt anymore yourself and you didn’t realize how much that would hurt the rest of us.

I think I can speak for more than just myself when I say, We forgive you Derek. We just love you so much it hurts.

Dear brother….

I am always thinking of you. and I love you endlessly, for always…

love, your baby sista

Derek Lowell Hopkins
8/27/1993 – 8/31/2017

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