A year ago, July 2nd, I received the unfathomable news that my brother died. He was 35, full of life and ambition and wonderful crazy ideas, and then he was gone. Living away from both my family and where he had been living and working made it harder to wrap my head around it all.
Our last conversation was about trivial stuff...
Our last conversation was about trivial stuff -- his farm, my kids, me teasing him about needing a girl for the back of his bike. Our conversation left unfinished, hanging, waiting for him to get back from his trip and fill me in on the details.
I remember spending a lot of time looking at the clouds last July 2nd, feeling detached and wondering how it was possible that the sun was still shining, the wind still blowing, when today was a day my brother no longer existed -- how it seemed impossible that one sunny day could turn so different from the previous.
I felt, and still feel, as though a large part of my life has been amputated.
I am sad contemplating the relationship my children will not have with him. It is impossible to think that MissVee will never know him at all, save through our stories. I want to write about him here but I'm blocked, my heart isn't ready to share or is afraid that sharing means our conversation is over.
I have made it past the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas, the first birthday and the first Canada Day without him here. His niece, carrying forward his name as part of her own, has been born.
I still catch myself wanting to drop him a quick line to see how things are going, or tag him on Facebook in something silly the kids have done -- old habits die hard. He would have appreciated some of the 5yr old's shenanigans this week. I see a lot of his personality in Boy#2 and Boy#3.
We keep moving forward and he falls further behind.
Not forgotten, but no longer present. I make a point of sharing stories of my childhood, of him, with my kids as much as I did before he died. We bring those left behind forward with us through our memories.
My feelings on what happens when we die change from day to day -- I have no hard and fast convictions, and figure I will find out when my own time is up. I found this piece, however, when we were looking for readings for his memorial service last year, and it feels right. Eventually we all turn that corner, it is nice to contemplate finding a friendly face waiting there for us.
"Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!" (Henry Scott Holland, 1910.)