I have put off writing this letter as long as I could. Its anticipation has consistently brought me to tears, and will continue to do so throughout the writing process. I welcome the tears but wish there were no reason for them.
Today would have been your 26th birthday. I wish I could say, under normal circumstances, that I would have taken the day off to come celebrate with you. Sadly, I probably would not have due to my prior internal commitment to delay spending more time with you, and other members of the family, until I completed this education chapter of my life. I regret not making the time because now there is no time.
28 days ago you left this world when you lost control of your Jeep Grand Cherokee, rolled, and suffered a fatal head trauma [1, 2]. The injury suggests you did not suffer, for which, I am glad. I will never forget the phone call I received from mom at 4:59 AM that tremendously rainy Friday morning. It was as if mother nature had already known; she was weeping, and continued to weep throughout the next few days.
Your physical presence will forever be missed. It saddens me to know that you will not stand with me, Matt, Connor, and my other groomsmen at Julie and my wedding in August; that you will never hold your future nieces and/or nephews; that I will not tell embarrassing jokes at your wedding; that I will never hold your children; and most of all, that I will never again embrace you in my arms.
Today is the first March 27 that I will celebrate your birthday in your absence. In your memory we will play disc golf at Kit Carson park (where we hope to build a memorial bridge for you), enjoy some great beers at Ballast Point, and cook up and share some carne asada with dad and Matt. Throughout we will reminisce in all the great times we shared with you.
Daniel, you touched many lives. Your memorial was testament to your happy and good natured character. I have always been proud to have you as a brother. Though you are no longer corporeal, I know that you are forever with us. I know I will feel your presence at Julie and my wedding; that you are there whenever my and Julie’s future children laugh unexpectedly; and that you are giving me a big DBoe hug whenever it is needed, e.g., right now. You will live on in the lives of those you touched, and those you have not yet touched.
All of your nieces and/or nephews will learn of their uncle Daniel, who for a period of time verbally went by Daiel (or Dale). Uncle Daniel who once placed 17th in the World Series of Beer Pong (see Mexicali), and who was a professional disc golfer. Uncle Daniel who made the most of the life he was given. Of these nephews, the first will bear your name in hope that your memory lives on long after I am once again with you.
Daniel, there is a big hole in the world that no one will ever be able to fill. I miss you more than describable. Thank you for all the amazing memories. Happy birthday brother.