“We talk about them, because we’re proud. We talk about them, because they deserve to be remembered. We talk about them, because even though they are not physically with us, they are never far from our mind. We talk about them, because they are part of us, a part that we could never ignore or disown. We talk about them, because we love them still and always will. Forever. Nothing will change that.”- Scribbles & Crumbs
About a week ago I was asked why I was thankful for Cole and I just blanked. Not because I couldn’t think of anything but because there are just too many moments and stories that I could share of why I am thankful for him. I’m at a loss of words right now as I walk down memory lane and stare at the only things I have left of him, pictures. I know they say pictures hold a thousand words but what I wouldn’t give to have a million more.
As most of you know (or have heard) Cole was one of a kind. His smile and laugh were contagious and his stubbornness rivaled that of himself (side note: When asking my husband what does Cole rival in stubbornness……we realized nothing….he rivals himself for the most stubborn thing/person ever). He was one of those people who could make you so frustrated that all you wanted to do was strangle him but then turn around and have you doubled over in laughter. That is one of the many things that make me thankful to have a brother like Cole in my life.
I am thankful for his sarcastic sense of humor that many people had a hard time figuring out if he was serious or not. I am thankful for his big bear hugs that always seemed to make a bad day more bearable. I am thankful for the funny picture text messages that would always turn into who could find the funnier meme. I am thankful that he knew all the words to the same rap song that I did so that we could jam out together on our pointless drives around town. I am thankful for all the downtown Newnan lunch dates we shared. I am thankful for having a brother who let me dress him up as a girl while I performed It’s a Hard Knock Life for our parents. I could go on and on with why I am thankful for him but I feel like the most important reason why I am thankful for Cole is his passion for kindness. He was the kid who would put his disease on the back burner to make others smile. He was the kid who would go out on a cold night after doing hours of treatments and feed the homeless. he is the kid who would do anything for anyone and expect nothing in return. He is also the kid who loves with his whole heart and nothing less.
Cole and I were 7 years apart but our bond was like any typical brother and sister pair. He would throw a metal baseball bat at my head and I would slam him head first into a wall; needless to say we loved each other a lot. With every fight we had there were also many late night talks and dreams being planed out for our futures. He was going to be a stay at home husband/dad (because lets be real he was going to need to marry a women who was the bread winner for his expensive tastes) and also be a hunting guide when deer and duck season came around. I was going to work in non-profit and also do theatre on the side, but our BIG dream together was to help find a cure for CF, so that Cole (and many others) could live to see his dreams played out. Sadly, it didn’t play out like that and I’m left living out our dream of helping to find a cure, left celebrating the finish of the movie we wrote together, and left wondering how our lives would be different with him still here.
I always seem to wonder what would he be doing right now? How many states would he be able to say he knocked off his bucket list? How many adventures would we be planning? How many times would I have to kill him for scaring me with a clown mask? Would we be comfortable leaving our future children alone with him (haha maybe…..)? How many mini Coles would be running around (Fun fact: He wanted to name his children Sharky Croteau and Uniqua Croteau)? And last but probably the most important….Would he be proud of me?
When all these what-ifs plague my mind I always try to remember that I did get to spend an amazing seventeen years with him. That no matter what I am thankful God chose me to be his big sister and that for 17 years he was my little Cola bug. I love you to the moon and back forever and always Colabug!