Monday, April 6, 2009
It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To
Today is my very first birthday ever without Bryan calling or coming in person to wish me a Happy Day. I am sad. I held my sobbing daughter in my arms as she wept for her Uncle B. I joined her. My heart just hurts. I know that this is America and we are strong and I should be 'moving on' but I miss my brother.
I found the birthday card he gave me last year. I can hardly express what it feels like to see his handwriting, to read his words to me. I miss my brother.
our lives weren't so hectic.
we could find a way to talk, to visit, and spend more time together.
that days weren't quite so busy,
and that weeks passed less quickly,
and there were more days like today-
just for celebrating you...
I hope you always know how much you mean to me,
and what a wonderful sister you are.
Happy Birthday With Love
"Sister, it has been a rough year or two, but with your love and support I feel like I CAN get better! I love you! Love, Bryan"
I can hardly type for the tears but I want to say this. I have many regrets about what I did and did not do for my brother in the last days of his life. I feel a very heavy burden some days from the sadness of not having been beside him, holding his hand, and whispering my love to him as he was dying. I am so very sad that I did not have that opportunity, that I did not MAKE that opportunity. But then I remember this: nothing could have kept my God from having me at my brother's side if I had been meant to be there. The Lord would have moved Heaven and Earth to make a way--if I was what Bryan needed. But I was not what Bryan needed. If I could have given him what he needed, my Good God would have made it so that I was with Bryan in the end. But I do not possess, could not give him what he needed in his last moments. Only Jesus could. And He was there. Because He promises His kids that He will never leave or forsake them. Bryan was not alone in his last moments.
And I am not alone in this dark moment. I have His Word. My husband brought me flowers (Bryan usually did) and my kids made me breakfast in bed. I am loved. I am blessed. But I still miss my only brother real badly today.
Just after he left rehab, Bryan started a habit where he read a Psalm and a Proverb for each day of the month. I am not sure he continued it. But I did. And today I read Psalm 6. It was written by a man who was acquainted with grief and anguish. Even though it is not a happy, feel-good song, it helps me to remember that these emotions I am feeling are not new. Others, much more Godly than I, have had weak eyes from their sorrow. "You can't see anything properly when your eyes are blurred with tears." CS Lewis. It is okay to miss him. I trust in the God who saves. I believe in Him and His love even when I can't see what He is doing.
"You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you." CS Lewis in A Grief Observed
I read Lewis' words like a famished woman this week. Though I was hardly hungry on a cruise! But I was trying to understand for myself how I felt. So that one day, I would be able to comfort others with the comfort I had been given during this grief. I was trying to understand where I was in this whole grief process/program. CS Lewis wrote these word right after his wife's death. I know my circumstances aren't as trying, but his words resonated with me:
"For me at any rate the program is plain, I will turn to (him) as often as possible in gladness. I will even salute (him) with a laugh. The less I mourn (him) the nearer I seem to (him). An admirable program. Unfortunately it can't be carried out. Tonight all the hells of young grief have opened again: the mad words, the bitter resentment, the fluttering in the stomach, the nightmare unreality, the wallowed-in tears. For in grief nothing 'stays put'. One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles , or dare I hope I am on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down it? How often-will it be for always?-how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, 'I never realized my loss till this moment'?"
I am going round and round tonight. But I am not alone. Neither was my brother on his dark night. And in case you are thinking to yourself, "What kind of strong and good God let Bryan die?" Remember this, he is not truly dead. He lives eternally, without a tear or any shame or sadness in Heaven completely healed in a reality that I can't even pretend to fathom.
Posted by Reilly Fitzpatrick at 8:49 PM