Life Lately…

Hey there. It’s been awhile.

It’s been awhile since I’ve focused on myself. Most of the things I was doing on a daily basis these past few months were just to keep my mind busy and distracted from reality. I lost my brother in June. That’s still hard to even say, because a small part of me still thinks he might call me, or walk back through the door and this nightmare will be over and I’ll be relieved. But I know that’s not true. It’s just what my heart wants.

For the past two years, Austin had been battling a very rare form of cancer – Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma. I’ve written about this before, so you are probably aware if you’re one of the few who actually follows this little blog here. Some days it’s almost crazy to think that he’d only been battling for two years, because from the day we first heard that news, until now, it almost seems like a lifetime. But then other days, when I think back to life before we knew this disease was inside him, it feels like such a short amount of time that we were given to help him fight this battle. I won’t go on too much here, but if you’ve ever lost a sibling, you can understand the pain that comes with it. They’re the people who stand with you from the very first day. He was who I could tell my secrets to, with absolutely no fear of being judged or scolded. He was honest and patient and caring and goofy. He could make you laugh with just a facial expression, and his huge heart was so evident in how he spoke to you and really, truly listened to what you had to say. To have someone listen so intently, and to really feel like you’re being heard, is quite a rare thing. He had the ability to make you feel so incredibly special.

He is my big brother. To my oldest brother, Peyton, he is a little brother. And he will always be that to us. Sandwiched in between us. He will always be there in our laughs and our stories and our memories. Aus, I still talk about you to people in the present tense. Is that crazy? I just feel like if I talk about you in the past tense, then it’s like I’m letting you go and I can’t do that. I can’t let go of you, because I don’t know how. You’ve just always been here, my whole life. I can’t even delete your voicemails from two and three years ago when you were wishing me a happy birthday, or congratulating me on my first job.  I always thought that one day, a long, long time from now, I would be grateful to have my brothers to lean on as I lost my parents. Little did I know that my brother and I would be trying to hold up our parents, as they dealt with losing a child. Every night I pray that this is the hardest thing my parents, and my sister-in-law, his wife, and my niece & nephew, his children, will ever have to deal with. I pray that this is it, and that now it’s time for healing. I pray that it’s only up from here and that we’re all strong enough to make that climb.

Most days this blog is about food, but occasionally it’s also personal.

Today it’s personal.

I promise I’ll get back to cooking soon.



The three of us at Hilton Head Island, just about 26 years ago.  <3 [From left to right: Austin, me, & Peyton]

The three of us at Hilton Head Island, just about 26 years ago. ❤ [From left to right: Austin, me, & Peyton]

Austin, his wife Ashley, Me, Peyton, & his wife Alissa.

Austin, his wife Ashley, Me, Peyton, & his wife Alissa.


2 thoughts on “Life Lately…

  1. Beautiful, Leila.. My heart still aches for your entire family. I send positive thoughts out to the universe every time I think of y’all. Stay strong and smile when you think of the great love of your family. You are indeed so very lucky! — Reggie

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