Today, I'm grateful for my brother Michael, who would have turned 67 today.

He died 6 months ago yesterday of renal cell carcinoma. He fought a good and honorable fight. He outlived the odds. But in the end, if cancer wants you, it'll take you.

It's nearly impossible to sum up a decades-long relationship in just a few words.

The best way I can put it is in my crazy life of hardships and triumphs, Michael was my rock. Always there. Always honest. Always strong for me.

My big brother. My protector. A surrogate father. The voice of reason. A kind and thoughtful man under a very gruff exterior.

He was also a Class A pain in the ass. He was arrogant. He was controlling. In his own weird way, an intellectual snob. And boy, could he hold a grudge.

But he was one of my special people. Do you know what I mean? The few-and-far-between people in your life with whom you share a special bond and kinship. I've had 4. Three of them are gone now.

It was his death that spurred me on to make the big, tough decisions that finally landed me here in Asheville, 10 years after I discovered this magical city in the Blue Ridge mountains.

Michael was only 10 years older than me. His death was a brutal reminder of how precious and unpredictable life is.

Don't put your dreams on hold. You just never know.

Sending you all so much love. ❤️ Alissa

P.S. The photo is of Jetty Park on Hutchinson Island, Fort Pierce, FL. Michael and I took that walk from his home dozens of times. I will miss that jetty.

I miss my brother.

So, whaddya think?

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