This past year has been the most devastating of my life, but when I see you in this picture, I can’t help but smile. I miss you. I miss your goofy laugh. I miss your patience and unconditional kindness. I miss the joy on your face from the simple things in life. I miss the calming effect of your hugs and the depth of your knowledge. Although you were clearly an extraordinary person, you never recognized the hidden gems within yourself. (Who else can spin a basketball on the tip of his finger, whistle the tune of a song, and fix any type of computer/tech issue, all at the same time?!)
For so many years, I tried to influence you with my narrow and uptight view of what life should be. Now you have convinced me to live freely and creatively, liberated from societal expectations. Your morality and quest for authenticity have taught me to search for meaning in my life, and your inner struggles have taught me to accept support from loved ones. You have given me the courage to quit my job as a pathologist and take time off to change careers. Most importantly, you have inspired me to live with purpose and happiness. My dear brother Neil, for this final gift, I thank you.
In Loving Memory of Neil Patel (August 5th, 1987 – July 16th, 2014)