(I’m taking a moment to deviate from my normal posts to write about something more personal.)
Today marks the day before my younger brother passed away 5 years ago. As I was driving to work today, I was thinking of his last full day. I remember it was a day very similar to today: clear skies and crisp air. It was a beautiful Michigan spring day.
Usually I’m okay about him being gone, but for some reason it’s been hard lately. Maybe it’s because he was one of my first best friends, even though it didn’t start that way. My mom says the day he came home from the hospital I said, “Take him back!” when I couldn’t hold him. We were born just 15 months apart and often mistaken for twins. Just about all my childhood memories include him. I remember what he made me for my fourth birthday, he taught me to ride a bike, and he used to help me ride our Shetland pony, leading her around the pasture. He was the adventurous one, jumping out of his swing from the highest point and yelling, “Geronimo!” When we climbed trees, his spot was always on the highest branch and the most difficult to get to.
Maybe I’m sad because there will be no new memories with him. Or perhaps because we cannot reminisce about our childhood. Or maybe I’m sad because some of the memories are fading away. Like I can’t quite remember the last thing we talked about, but I remember he gave me his pen so I could sign something before I left for work. I don’t know how can I remember something so trivial, when everything else is hazy.
It is comforting to know on that day five years ago, he spent time with family, friends, and the dog he gave us. He spent a lot of the day outside, working with my husband. They had lunch together and he played with the dog. He loved that dog and he loved working outside. These simple, basic things somehow make me feel better about that day. Because in the end, these basic things are what matter: family, friends, love.
I know many can relate. If you’re missing someone tonight, you are not alone. When you remember the person you lost, I hope those memories make you smile. And if you can’t smile today, it’s okay.