As I walk into the extra bedroom at my parent’s home, I notice the little frame on the dresser. A small simple frame, it holds a note that is written in my brother’s hand. On the note is written:
“Three things that should never be broken;

There is a large space between the words Promises and Friendships, a space that hints at uncertainty and deep thought. It’s a space that haunts my mind. I wish Brother had thought about that last choice more thoroughly. You see, someone who was supposed to be his friend killed him. Someone he trusted and tried to help.

That note has come to hold deep meaning for my brother’s daughter. The thoughts her Daddy had written a few months before his death. She believes the words her father wrote. How do I tell her differently? Definitely hearts and promises should never be broken, but what about friendships? How do I tell a thirteen year old her Daddy was wrong? There are friendships that should not be kept. Those friendships that steal your confidence, use you, and then toss you aside until you are needed again. Any friendship that endangers your life or your well being should be broken and steered clear of. It’s too soon to tell my niece these truths we all should know. In time she will learn them on her own.

I only wish I could turn back time six months ago. I’d take my brother’s face in my hands and tell him how important he is to all of us. I’d tell him of the danger he let into his world and how he needed to steer clear. I would wrap my arms around him and guide him to safety away from the evil that would devastate us all. If only we could go back those six months. Instead our father and mother are heart-broken. My younger brother and I are in fog and our brother’s daughters are lost without their Daddy. Our entire family is in slow motion and unsure of our direction. Our close-knit group is missing one and there is a black hole engulfing us. We will eventually emerge from our darkness. The journey out will take a long time. Along our path there will be an opening to discuss the note penned by my brother. When the time is right, we will find a new answer to finish Brother’s note. In the mean time, two of the three things that should never be broken, Hearts and Promises have been shattered… by the third.

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