Joey loved music more than anyone I know, and not just listening to it or writing it. He loved to research it, analyze it and absorb it. His tastes ranged from classical to punk and everything in between. He could find the musicality in almost anything, and innovation where others might just hear noise. He could even appreciate that different people required different soundtracks. That’s why even though we liked very different styles, he’s responsible for most of the music in my itunes library.

A few days ago in the car alone, I purposely didn’t turn on The Wrong Kids because I cry every time I hear his voice, and I just didn’t want to do that to myself. But it didn’t make a difference because even my most upbeat playlist was filled with songs I’d never have found out I loved had it not been for Joe.

Truly, every aspect of my life is woven with the essence of Joseph Carroll. He was my brother, and he always influenced the way I saw the world and everything in it. We didn’t always agree, but he challenged me to always question, explore and open my mind. He is a vital texture in the fabric of my life.

When I was a child, my great-grandmother was featured in the local paper for her work on a family tree tapestry. She was a member of DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and at that time had traced our family history as far back as Charlemagne.

That tapestry was the perfect medium for commemorating family because each member is woven into the lives of each of us. I see this in a photo of myself on my wedding day, wearing my Grandma’s smile, or in the way one of my twins looks at me with my Dad’s eyes. But those are just genetic coding – the background to the tapestry. The way we think and live forms the intricate details of the picture.

And one of the things that made Joey so special was that he was always weaving new threads into the fabric, collecting a community of friends that were as close as family to him. He valued family more than most, yet he saw room for diversity of background and thought. For that I am so thankful to have been a part of his family. Because through him I am connected to a vibrant tapestry of beautiful people.

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