Every year that comes, I wonder how I will commemorate the day my big brother went home to be with Jesus. This year, when Oct. 1 came, I hadn't thought much about it, and then I started to write this blog... and then I cried.
Time's a tricky thing. I remember after Brian passed and I would hear about how time healed and watch people walk through the five and ten year anniversaries and not seem as emotional as in that first year or even first moments, which I didn't ever want to be like that... but I was wrong. I am learning that every year is just as emotional as the prior year, but it comes out in different ways. Every anniversary is a chance to remember and cry and reflect and wish it had never happened... and that's okay. It's okay to miss, it's okay to love, it's okay to wish they were still here. And I do.
The anniversary and his birthday and his wedding anniversary--those special days--are all days to remember and cry... and then most of the time, when I think of Brian, I smile or laugh or just remember and wish silently, but tears don't come because life has continued and time has healed. We've moved on in life, which seems callous to say, but it isn't and it is a good thing. Brian would never have wanted me or any of my family or his friends to get stuck in the past crying over him every thought of him. He'd want us to remember his smile, his laugh, and his love for the Lord.
Thanks for my best friend, I was reminded of this story yesterday. She dropped me a note to let me know she was thinking about my family this week and then told me her favorite Brian story... so here goes.
We were at a 50th anniversary party for my extended family. Brian and I and our family cousins were sitting at the end of a long table of people. You know, the long dinner tables that have like 20 people around them and bouquets at each end as centerpieces for the table....
Wait. I should preference this story by saying I was verrrrrrry gullible when I was younger. (I still have my moments!) Brian knew this and would take full advantage of it every once in a while.
... Okay, continuing on. Somehow the conversation at the table switched to what the food was in these cute bowl-like containers at the end of each table. They were circular globs of food and kinda whitish-yellow. There wasn't one at every seat, but I must have been at the end of the table and it was relatively close to my plate. I must have said something like... "What's that?"
My brother, as grand as he is, said, "Oh, that's ice cream."
"Ice cream? Really? That's strange."
"Yeah, it's vanilla ice cream. You should take a bite."
"Well, no one else has one, so it can't be ice cream."
"Well, it's special for the people at the end of the table."
Right about now, my cousins who were sitting with us chimed in. "Yeah, you're in the special seat at the table. You should take a bite."
I was pretty doubtful that they would have ice cream just for me and the other person at the end of the table, but they must have been making some pretty convincing arguments because they finally convinced me to take a very small bite. (Peer pressure, anyone?)
And yes.... it was butter.
I still remember the feeling of that pat of butter in my teeth. I didn't take a lot, but it was definitely gross and easy to tell it wasn't the beautiful scoop of ice cream I was hoping for....
Now, don't let that taint any nice guy images you have of Brian. He was a great big brother and didn't take advantage of my gullibility all too often. Just often enough to make memories and have a story to share twenty-some years down the road. :-)
So to my big brother... I can't believe I'm 32 and you passed at 30. I wish you had stayed ahead of me paving the way through life, so I'm grateful that God blessed me at the perfect time with Erik and his family in addition to my parents, Cristina and your girls and Andrew and baby #5, your nephews Brody and Brayden, and your future niece/nephew Baby #3. You are missed, loved, and remembered often. All my love.