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Elegy for a Brother: Jonathan Patrick Love 1970-2024

Jon Love & Bret Love as babies

I can’t remember the first time I met Jon, but that’s because I was only 2 years old when my Aunt Carla brought him home from the hospital.

What I can remember is that, from a very early age, he always felt more like a brother than a cousin to me.

Jon and I always seemed to be there for each other during our highest highs and our lowest lows, our lives woven together like the patchwork quilts of our Appalachian Scots-Irish ancestors. 

I was the eldest son of the eldest son, and Jon was the first born son of my father’s sister, who was two years younger than him, just as Jon was two years younger than me. 


We both came into this world under less-than-ideal circumstances. My father was shipped off to Southeast Asia to support the Vietnam War efforts just a few hours after I was born, while Jon never knew his birth father.


We both wound up living with our beloved grandparents for a while, creating incredibly strong bonds with them (and between us) that would ultimately last a lifetime and have a profound influence on the men we became.


Baby Jon & Bret with Granny & Grandad

Jon and I were both sweet-natured, sensitive, somewhat shy, and silly as young boys, perhaps due to the feminine energy of spending our infancy surrounded by our mothers, aunts, and Granny.

We were also both drawn to Grandad, a bearish mountain of a man with a strong work ethic, a successful career, a great knack for storytelling, an infectious laugh, and an affinity for shenanigans we both adored. 

Even after our respective parents had moved out, my dad’s 3 siblings and their kids would all get together at my grandparents’ house for every major holiday– birthdays, Mother’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. 


Bret Love Rocking Out on Drums


Neither Jon or I had siblings for the first 8-10 years of our lives, so we were really like two peas in a pod. 


We both wore hand-me-down clothes, often stained with the remnants of our endless outdoor adventures, with matching “bowl cut” hairdos given by my grandmother.


As my cousins and I look back on our childhood photos now– many of which you can see in the slideshow– you realize Granny was CLEARLY incapable of cutting a straight line!


Jon Bret Granny Grandad Xmas 76


Whenever our extended family got together, Jon and I would submit to the pleasantries all young kids endure at family gatherings– the pinching of cheeks, the ruffling of hair, the “my how you’ve grown” commentary.


But inevitably we would lock eyes, move away from the grownups, and say, “Wanna…

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