My Brother, My Friend

Four years ago, we lost my oldest step-brother to suicide.

Tyler and I didn’t grow up in the same home. In fact, even though our parents were married, because of custody arrangements, I didn’t see Tyler from the time I was eleven or twelve until his wedding. Although he was a couple of years younger than me, we were close enough in age and had enough in common that we became close friends.

Through our individual struggles, we bonded. We had inside jokes and shows that we both liked. We both loved to cook and play around with recipes. Besides the obvious loss to our family, when Tyler died, I lost one of my closest friends.

Just over a year later, at a very low point in my life, I met two very special men. One became the love of my life.

The other?

He became my adopted brother.

Nolan has many things in common with Tyler. And yet, he’s still his own brand of wacky. We got to know each other while talking about food and cooking. We bonded over moving to a new town and learning our way around. We became family one October night as we sat stranded on the side of a mountain road with a flat tire and no cell service.

Nolan could never replace Tyler and neither of us would want that. But he’s given me the best guy friend back. The guy who knows me a little better than I know myself and isn’t afraid to call me on my bullshit. The friend who will tease me until we’re both laughing so hard we’re crying, but he’ll kick someone’s ass for hurting me.

Even though he now lives about an hour away and sometimes we go weeks without talking, I know that all I have to do is call or text and he’s right here.

The boyfriend? I’m going to marry him someday. When I do? Nolan will be my man of honor. And I will mark yet another chapter in my life with my two closest friends.

Most women would consider themselves lucky to find one great guy.

I’ve got two. And they’re the best family I could have hoped for.

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