When I found out today was the official day of the End the R-Word campaign I knew I had to write something for Bret.
He was my cousin with shiny black hair that I envied, who could build breathtaking, towering houses out of cards.
My cousin who loved The Fonz and Snoopy and friends.
My cousin who loved country music and playing HORSE and basketball games with my mom.
My cousin whose brothers would get bloody noses and black eyes and be kicked off the bus because they were defending him.
My cousin who was called the R word by ignorant, cruel, mean spirited people.
My aunt's youngest son who died more than seven years ago.
It is more than just a word. It is hurtful and demeaning. Stop using it and spread the word to end the word.
My sister made the most amazing memory book as a gift for my aunt and asked us to share stories, memories and pictures.
All I Really Need to Know I learned from Bret
Be proud of you accomplishments.
Don't be afraid to cry.
Make everyone feel special and important.
Make the world a better place simply by being yourself.
Let your family and friends know how much you love them.
Build something wonderful, complex and elaborate and when if it comes crashing down just pick up the pieces and start again.
Always remember people's birthdays.
Take good care of the people in your life and they will take good care of you.
Everyone needs a thumbs up from someone.