Sunday, September 27, 2009


Peter and his best Buddy(the one he was having this overheard conversation with!)

Bryan's death is not my first waking thought these mornings. Reliving that terrible moment when my Daddy woke me up at 4am to tell me my brother died--I don't panic anymore when the memory crashes over me like a huge wave. I have learned to cope with the cacophony of chaos that moment creates in my mind. It still unsettles me, disturbs me, makes me feel like I am living in the Twilight Zone. How can I get up, make breakfast, brush my teeth, read on the couch with my kids like all the other days of my life? And Bryan isn't a part of my life anymore. It is surreal.

I haven't forgotten my brother--his life's impact on mine, his death's impact on mine. The days immediately following his death were bittersweet. I felt like the veil had been lifted and I could see certain things more clearly: what my faith was made of, Who it is made of, how tender and precious my time with my children is, how much I need my Mom and Dad, how much I love my husband, how fleeting our lives are, how nothing is really guaranteed. So much in my life was more REAL in the days following December 14, 2008. A bittersweet gift during a tragic time.

I just reread all that gobbledygook. I am not making any sense. It has been 9 months and 13 days since my brother died. I had to look on the blog for the exact amount of time that has passed since he has. I don't know anymore, off the top of my head. But I haven't forgotten. I never will. Just because I don't think of him in my first waking moment. Just because I am not mentally tallying the days anymore. Just because I don't weep everyday with my Mom when she visits. Just because there are no new stories to tell, no new memories made, no more moments shared with one of my favorite people doesn't mean that I have forgotten. Or that time has healed all my wounds or that life has moved on or that I have accepted all this pain as what is best. I haven't. Pithy cliches and trite truths don't move me.

I am not sure what DOES move me. I sometimes feel numb and immovable. Inertia, a heaviness in my heart, a burdened, oppressive "thing" weighs on me. I think it is grief. It doesn't go away when I want it to, when I think it is "about time". It is just there, hanging out with all the mundane, sundry, necessary things in my life--laundry, grocery shopping, dentist appointments. Right there with the joy and the laughter that my days still hold--there are so many smiles with so many beautiful children. Mingled with the new trials and challenges I am facing in life--pruning and fire. Bryan is gone from this life of mine. Nothing will make that empty place go away. Nothing can fill it.

Then I am driving with Peter sitting behind me chattering away with his best buddy. I have to strain my ears to eavesdrop and hear his tiny, sweet two-year old voice. I am always so fascinated to listen or observe my children when they don't know I am:

"Do you know who Uncle Bryan is?"

Peter queried. His friend didn't know.

"Well, he is not here. He is at Heaven."

Thoughtful pause from his friend.

His friends response, "My mom's mom is in Heaven too."

Peter's exclamation of wonder and awe, " They are at Heaven together."

I have not forgotten Bryan. And evidently, neither has my sweet baby boy. Who knew that he understood, in his innocent, child-like way what has been happening in and around him these last nine months? He just observed and listened and came up with his own conclusions. I made no efforts to explain things to my little Peter. "He is too young to understand", I told myself. He won't remember all this anyway. And yet he got it, spot on. All by his little self.

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WARNING! Tissues Required-Video Slideshow of Bryan's Life-Sorry the music was muted!