I am a part of a large family; there are eight of us, six boys and two girls. We are all a bit spread out in age, with the oldest born in Oct of 1969, and me born in the same month of 1982. My sister is third in line, giving us nine years in between. Growing up, I spent much of my time with my brothers which made it all the more difficult when we lost a brother five years ago.
1. Saying goodbye sucks.
Let’s just be honest. Goodbye is not the best thing to say unless it is to someone unpleasant. Saying goodbye to someone you love, sucks. Saying goodbye, knowing you won’t see them again in this life, is one of the most difficult things you can do. It more than sucks. I’m not sure I know a word strong enough to express the horrible feeling this brings.
2. Time passes, but it still doesn’t feel real.
The first time I went home after he was gone, I kept looking around, waiting for him to arrive. I knew technically he wasn’t going to come, but I couldn’t help but feel upset and angry that he hadn’t taken the time to come and see me. I mean, I live on the other side of the world. I traveled that far and he couldn’t make it across town? I know he isn’t going to call or come over, but when my family gets together, I can’t help but look around helplessly. We are no longer complete, and he needs to stop messing around and get over to see us.
3. He is still my brother.
I’ve met several people who have lost siblings. Some people choose to refer to their lost sibling in the past tense saying, ‘I had a brother.’ For me, he is still my brother. Our numbers may have been reduced, but it is not as if he never existed. I still have 7 siblings, one sister and six brothers. That doesn’t go away as far as I am concerned.
4. The anger stays.
I know dying was not his fault. Heart troubles run in my family, and there was nothing he could have done. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t angry at him for leaving. Leaving is easy; being the one left behind is difficult. You would think after five years I wouldn’t still be angry. I still am. Part of the anger comes from my own guilt, wishing I could have done something different. I might not have been able to save his life, but did I show him often enough that he was important? Could I have been a better sister when I had the chance? I’ll never know now because he left, and I can’t forgive him for that.
5. It’s not okay.
No matter how long it has been, it doesn’t suddenly become okay. I’m not fine with him being gone, and I am certainly not over it. I may get used to the new truth, and feel a little less pain when I think about him, but I don’t decide that it is okay. It’s not and it never will be.
When people hear about me losing my brother, they usually say, ‘I’m sorry’ or maybe try to give me a lecture on God and the afterlife. I’m not sure what the afterlife may bring, or if I will ever see him again in any life. All I know for certain is if there is another life, and I see him again, he better be waiting with an apology for leaving first, and his homemade strawberry cheesecake cookies (or white chocolate macadamia nut, and maybe a few peanut butter) and a huge vanilla latte. He knows my drink, and the only excuse he has for leaving us early is getting a good table.
Miss you every day big brother.