Luke and Tiago have been friends since they were in high school together, for over 20 years. Tiago has even known me for 20 years–my family moved into the apartment building across from his family’s townhouse, and I was the little girl running around the neighborhood playing manhunt, while he worked on his motorcycle.
Luke and Tiago were not good friends in high school. In fact, when Tiago started attending Father Austin he saw Luke as immature and annoying. Luke saw Tiago as overly confident and condescending. But somehow, through trials of fire and special circumstances, Tiago and Luke became the best of friends. They rubbed off on each other in good ways and in some not so good ways (PURE NONSENSE WAYS–which I have had to deal with over the years).
When Tiago began his journey to the Lord, Luke wasn’t far behind with his own walk, inspired by his friend ahead of him. They were accountability partners and would lift each other up in times of hardship. It wasn’t always roses, but their friendship was solidified on the stormy seas and bonded in their walk with Christ. They are truly brothers from different mothers. (Little known fact, but it was Tiago and a couple friends who inspired Luke to get “back in the saddle” and ask a girl out on a date after a bad break-up he went through. The following day he asked out a girl he was interested in, and that girl just happened to be me. Thanks T!)
Together Luke and I watched as Tiago became a husband, became a homeowner, became a father to Isaiah. We grew closer and closer to Tiago as we followed down the same path, marriage, homeownership and parenthood. We even bought our first house within short walking distance to his house., subconsciously that decision must have been inspired by our desire to be closer to him.
Isla and Isaiah grew up together too. Their friendship has existed since before they even knew they existed. Isaiah is the one who inspired Isla towards her love of broccoli and cauliflower, and he is the one who would shower Isla with birthday kisses. Isla and Isaiah loved dancing to Forever by Chris Brown, they loved to watch movies together and they loved being at the park together.
After a few years, we also watched as his family began to fall apart. We watched the breakup of his marriage and his heartache. This is when our relationship changed from friend to family because Tiago lived with us eleven months.
For eleven months we shared life together. We cooked meals together, ate dinner together, walked our children to the park together, talked about our hopes and fears together, studied God’s word together and even grew as a family together (Jenson was born while Tiago was living with us). I went through emotionally hard months after Jenson was born, and Tiago’s presence in our home meant a lot more to my emotional well-being than he will ever know.
Once Tiago moved out and was ready to start dating again, Luke and I felt unbearably protective of him. After watching him persevere through suffering, completely living out James 1:2-4, (Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.) it was difficult to watch him go out into the world and be vulnerable again.
But then God led him to Kelly…
Kelly and Tiago were married in October 2015, and had baby Benjamin in June 2016. She’s been a beautiful blessing to Tiago and Isaiah, offering everything she is to them. She’s been an invaluable addition to his family and ours, like she has been what’s missing this whole time. Believe me, we had extremely high expectations for Tiago’s new love… But Kelly surpasses them in every way. She gives of herself freely, completely without hesitation. She loves in a way that makes us feel like family, she feels like the sister I never had.
We will miss Tiago and Kelly because they have been our biggest source of encouragement and support, emotionally and spiritually. They are our brother and sister who love us enough to speak truth and caution into our lives, not just during this season of life, but through every season.