September 19, 1999

Dear Laura,

Since you can no longer send me a card, I’ll correspond with you on my 49th birthday. You now know my thoughts before I write them. Does dad still call you “Little Sweetheart”? I thank God you no longer feel pain. With the possible exception of my godmother and mom’s best friend, Aunt Knoxie, nobody in this world sent more birthday cards to me than you. I remain grateful for your love and support. We shared some special times in spite of the tumult. We had each other’s back, and that still feels like a grand birthday present to me.

Speaking of presents … thank you for your courage in attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with me in late March. I enjoyed our breakfast together … especially when you kidded me about “stealing your toast.” I must have been hungry. Then I was so proud. You courageously introduced yourself to the group and said “I am Laura Mersereau Pressnall, and I’m an alcoholic.”

I have been thinking about our last dinner together April 30th at Shari’s restaurant in your Clackamas neighborhood. Janet and I were preparing for another Hawaiian adventure, and you were excited for us. You and Rick enjoyed staying at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel which was mom’s favorite base of operations with her family in the 1930’s. Your enthusiasm was palpable, and we very much appreciated the red rose you gave to us after our meal. Your smile was sweet, and your eyes were filled with love as we said goodbye.

I still have a card from you in a special box of mementos that says “Thank you for being my brother.” I will always treasure you, Laura. Thank you for being my sister.

Love, Brad

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