My dear, sweet Julian, how will I ever go on without you beside me? On April 19th 1996, you came into this world weighing only two pounds and you stole my heart. You soared beyond every obstacle that being born prematurely tossed your way. In this moment I can't tell you how glad I am that I said yes to you as a little boy when you would ask if you could stay home from school so we could make cookies and snuggle. I'm so thankful that we stayed out back in the pool way past bedtime and read three more books instead of the one more I agreed to. I'm glad we slid in our socks on the hardwood floors and that all of your pants had grass stains because you liked sliding on your knees. I remember laughing hysterically in private the time you, your sister and Jazzy got into a magic marker fight that left you all covered in ink for days. As I think of buying you your first dirt bike, I had never seen a kid so excited. Riding came naturally to you and you rode hard and fast. When your Dad signed you up for ground school so you could learn to fly, I hoped it would safely satisfy your love of going fast because selfishly I wanted you to live your life my way. I wanted to keep you safe forever. Your friend Jim told me this week that his dad always said, "Julian is always jolly!" Your spirit brought others happiness even when you were not feeling happy yourself. Harsh, Jim and Mason want you to know they promise to be here for me the way you would want them to. The memories and good times you boys shared together bring them comfort and know they are missing you terribly. Jocelyn and William couldn't have had a funnier Uncle Umi who loved them more. Last year you found your niche with Harris, Inc., in Durham, where Jay Harris and Justin believed in you and offered you your first job since getting your CDL. You said everyone at Harris was awesome and that some of the guys called you Shades because you always wore your sunglasses no matter the weather. At Harris, you met Travis and found a great riding partner in him. I enjoyed hearing stories of people you met in Pittsboro and Chapel Hill while working. You never tried to change people you met, you only tried to change yourself. I think you were too humble to know this Buddy, however those stories showed how kind you were to people and that your presence had an impact on their lives. Henry has been running downstairs and standing outside of your door waiting patiently for you to come home. I promise to let him run on his treadmill daily and to keep him with an endless supply of chew toys. I'll take him on lots of Jeep rides and try to make him feel loved in a way that would make you smile. I'll take care of him, but just know his heart will always belong to you. Your Dad and sister love you deeply! Angie and Maniah have so much love for you, as do many family members and friends and they will miss you every day. Maniah will hands down tell the BEST stories about you and her being childhood best friends! We have always been a family that writes letters and notes and this is the hardest one of my life. I've read so many little notes from you over the past week and so many times you said I was your favorite person in the world. Julian, you and I, we just understood each other. Our love of the woods, of Bob Seger, Wrangler Jeeps, Motorcycles, our crazy Border Collies, loving the river, playing chess, living simply and having complex thoughts. Most of all we loved each other fiercely! Until we meet again, I'll be loving you with all that I am!
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