There is absolutely nothing like family when you are looking for support, conversations, or love. The first place we tend to look to is family. Today, I got news that my brother passed away. He was the second born to my mother and father, and one of the most animated and personality-driven people I knew.

Unfortunately, the past few years I have seen a change in the person who I knew growing up. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer and, while he had been a smoker for as long as I can remember, there was still hope that he would beat it and live the rest of his years in peace. When he told the family, we were all hurt and shocked, and I can't say that we were ready to accept. However, we got together and supported him like no one could. Well, about three months ago after several treatments and visits to the doctor, he got word that the cancer had gone into remission.

I can't tell you the joy that he had in his voice and the excitement that we all felt, and we counted that as the worst had past and recovery was in sight. But we didn't factor in the long process ahead. My brother was an avid smoker until about 15 or so years ago and was quick to admit that he possibly did it to himself, but he didn't want anyone to feel bad for him. His lungs were at 25 percent usage and getting around was not easy for him and was taxing on his breathing. He could barely walk from one room to the next without feeling out of breath.

We talked a lot where he would call me and I would reach out to him just to check on him. During this entire process, he was always worried about my mother and wanted to make sure that she was taken care of. Ironically, in October they were both in the hospital. He went in the day she came out, and I immediately went home to check on them both. After he got out, we talked about his health and I was always worried about him.

He didn't sound like the big-voiced, tell-it-like-it-is brother that I had grown to love. He was very passionate and would begin saying he loved us on our phone conversations. So when I found out that he had passed today, I felt calm as I knew he was no longer in pain and that he knew that I loved him. I will miss seeing him when I go home and talking to him on a regular. But I went to my phone and saw that I still had messages in my voicemail from him and I gave them a listen. It just felt good to know that I could still hear his voice when I wanted to. No, I can't reply back but those messages will forever be saved, as when my oldest brother passed, I didn't have that luxury.

He was my brother and there is no other love that will be like what we had. I am in mourning. This is my second brother that I have lost and my mother's second son. The saying is that no parent wants to bury their child, and this is very hard on my mother, so I am very sad about this. My brother had a nickname: some called him Big Doll and some called him Big Dog, but he was my brother and I loved him.

And still love him to the end.

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