23 days. It has been 23 days since I lost my brother. Today, the phone call from that night was playing over in my mind. I didn't want to keep hearing it, but it was there. Those two words that I still can't believe. Those two words I am not sure I will ever be rid of. "John died." I won't share the exact reaction I had to hearing those words. I will just say, when I was 4 and my aunt told me that my dad died I had said, "Oh you are just kidding me." This was the adult version of that.
I keep remembering our trip out to his house, us 4 sisters. I am so glad we all went. I think it was important. I needed to be there. To be around his family, to hug, to cry. To be there. It was good to be there, it was hard to be there. I just wanted him to be there. I sat on his porch after the funeral looking out on the view he had looked on many times, wanting him to be sitting there looking at it one more time, with me.
I think about how we went through the usual sibling things. Not always agreeing on things, not seeing each other or talking for long periods of time. Not even knowing a lot about each other at some points. When I saw him for what was the last time I would see him, he made some comment about being an unwelcome or unloved brother. I just told him, I didn't care about anything other than he was my big brother and that was all that mattered. And I hugged him. I am glad I did that now. It was my last big brother hug. I can't imagine letting go then if I knew it would be the last one.
Last year he reached out to his sister's and we reconnected. It was great talking to him by email and messages. He was planning on coming to see us this spring, and we were all excited. I am heartbroken it won't happen. You can't help but think about all the things that won't happen. The things we will all miss out on. I knew him for 57 years, 4 days. Some of his grandchildren won't even remember him and that is sad.
So 23 days later. I think about him all the time. I think about his family, his kids, his grandkids, his wife. And I am sad.
My brother is gone. I don't like it. I am tired of people leaving too soon. It always feels unfinished.
Funny, how since I came back, I expected, maybe just hoped for, a text or message or anything. How are you doing? Want to have coffee? Thinking of you. Something. Maybe as people we don't reach out enough. Maybe I don't either...are we afraid to? Are we too busy we forget about others? We know that time is short, things can change in an instant. What stops us? What holds us back? What wrong thing could possibly happen by reaching out. What is so wrong about letting someone know we care?
Sometimes I am jealous of those that have a lot of friends, that have some good friends, that have the kind of friends that are at the other end of the phone, that text, that share laughs, secrets, time. It has been something that has always been hard for me. I am not sure why....maybe from a lifetime of not feeling like I fit in, not feeling good enough, always feeling awkward. At times like this, it is the hardest. It is hard to feel alone when it sometimes is the last thing you want to be!
Here is my brother, John. My big brother, as he always signed anything to me.. This picture was taken at a wedding of one of his daughters. I said smile John...and he actually did for me. I kind of love it.
Today, the tears still fall. Sometimes out of the blue. I imagine they may always surprise me that way. I miss you, big brother! I always will.....