Bond remains strong despite distance


Submitted by Jada Cassidy

Jada Cassidy and her brother James enjoy an Astros game with their parents on June 22, when James came home from the Air Force to celebrate his birthday and visit his family.

Jada Cassidy, Special Contributor

After visiting an Air Force base on our family trip to Colorado, I knew that what my brother said about wanting to join the Air Force was becoming a reality. I had never really thought of the day my brother would leave. To rephrase that, I never imagined him leaving. 

James and I never really had the best relationship for several years. Like most older brothers, he never failed to make me feel like he hated me. He shut me out. It was as if we just happened to come from the same parents and live in the same house. I will admit, I was extremely annoying but what other choice did I have? It was either bad attention or none at all. Despite all my failed attempts to spend time with him, he was going through things that my 11-year-old self couldn’t fathom. It wasn’t until his senior year of high school in 2019-2020 that he slowly began to care.

Jada and James Cassidy hang out in 2009 after James had just played a baseball game. (Submitted by Jada Cassidy)

He would occasionally help me with my homework or watch shows with me. It was his own way of showing that he didn’t completely despise my existence. After the pandemic hit, we were basically forced to be together. I didn’t constantly annoy him – just every so often. My brother was leaving soon. I thought that if I was a better sister I could make him stay.

As the summer of 2020 passed, I didn’t think him leaving was real. The worst part was, we didn’t even know where he was going. September slowly made its way and I got to spend my birthday with him. On Sept. 22, 2020, my brother left for basic training. I remember dropping him off at a hotel, still in denial. We said our goodbyes, and I watched him become an adult in that moment when he walked through the hotel entrance. 

After he graduated basic training, we learned he was going to be stationed at the Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. Not too far. But not at home. Due to COVID restrictions, we were not able to see him graduate or say our last goodbyes before he left for base. I had finally gotten the brother that I needed for years, only for him to be gone again. 

As the weeks went by, I waited and waited to see him again. Finally, Christmas break of 2020 was right around the corner and as soon as I got out of finals that Friday, we left for Wichita Falls to bring him home for Christmas. Those two weeks allowed me to reconnect with my brother. 

Then he left again. Saying goodbye the second time was so much harder than the first. The worst part was, we didn’t even know when we’d see them again.

Some days I missed him more than others, but it slowly began to get easier. When we found out he was going to be stationed in Germany, I was excited for him. However, that meant that it would be longer until we would see him. Before he left in March 2021, we went to Wichita Falls one last time to spend the day with him. The day passed so quickly and before we knew it, he had to go. He hugged my parents and my abuela then our dog – or really his dog, Brooklyn – then me. My brother is not the crying type; but at that moment when I cried, he cried too. 

A year passed and he was adjusting to being on a completely different continent. A lot had changed and we still weren’t sure when he could come home. However, after saving up enough leave he got to come home for a month this past summer. We made the best memories within the time that he was home. When he had to leave, it didn’t hurt. I was finally at peace. 

I’m truly thankful for what my brother does for our country. My relationship with my brother has grown dramatically and I know that even if he can be a jerk like any brother, we both care for each other in the best way possible. Although I can’t always see him for birthdays or holidays, I know the next time he comes home, we’ll pick up right where we left off.