A letter to my brother, 19 years later.

 John Robert Tomlin


Has it really been 19 years? It doesn’t seem real, when I see your face on the news, it always seems surreal. The day you left, my world was shattered.

I bet you never would have guessed that millions would know your story. That with all of the evil that happened that day, even more would know God’s glory. I’ve surmised a girl was saved that day because of you and because of the way you lived your life, hundreds more were too. The goofy teen from Wisconsin who packed people into his pick-up truck for youth group, would inspire thousands, not just nationally, but internationally.

As the years have passed, you’ve never left my heart, and a lot has happened since we’ve been apart. I’ve carried you with me through middle school, high school, and college graduation. You were close to my heart the day I walked down the aisle, and when your truck broke down before the wedding, it made me smile. The day we welcomed my daughter into the world, I longed for you two to meet. I cried the moment my son was born, and explained to nurses why his name was John; it was bittersweet.

I always longed to see what kind of an uncle you would be to my kids, I always wanted you to meet them. And now, you have gotten to meet one of my children. This anniversary, I can’t stop thinking about how you welcomed your nephew into heaven. Did you carry Joshua to Jesus’ feet and then give him a grand tour? Did you hold his hand and show him all his eyes could see? Did you swing him by his arms and lift him up onto your shoulders? Did you talk about me? How I wish to be there with you both. Take care of him for me will you? Will you tell him how much I love him? Tell him stories of our childhood, of the mostly carefree days of running through the sprinklers and playing ghost in the graveyard. The times of sliding down the stairs on mattresses, and playing with our cousins at family gatherings. I can’t wait until my days are carefree again, like yours now are.

I will never stop thinking of you, missing you, and loving you. I’ll never stop talking about you. I’m so grateful I got to be your sister, and that my kids have you as their uncle, here and in heaven, now and forevermore.



6 thoughts on “A letter to my brother, 19 years later.

  1. Hello, Ashley. I don’t expect you to remember me, but we were classmates at Bear Creek Elementary when this event took place.. You and your family are always on my mind around this time of year and I happened across your post by chance.. I am so glad to hear you are doing well, despite your losses. I pray you and your family continue to stay strong through another anniversary of Columbine. Take care!



  2. Oh my goodness, I’ve never seen a picture of John and I can’t get over I how much he reminds me of your son John! Precious. I love how you imagine the things he and Joshua are doing together in heaven. What joy our carefree reunion will someday be. Love you, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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