I found this photo of my brother today from Christmas 1983. He was three years old.
The photo fell out when I am searching for a fresh notebook in my desk drawer.
Seeing the picture just about undid me.
Christmas 1983 was the year of my most favorite childhood Christmas--the year I got Crystal Barbie in all her shimmery iridescent glory. There are no photos of me from that day--at least none that I can find. But I'll never forget how amazing it was to receive the very present I asked for.
Now, I wish I had asked for my brother to live a long life.
Which I know is silly and dramatic to say, but grief does that to a person. It hits you out of nowhere and then it hits you when you know it is coming, but still you cannot ever brace yourself for it. It robs you of logic and time.
I can barely see the words I am typing now through my tears. Grief does that, too, it blinds you.
I think the complicated thing about all of this is logically understanding that this is just a month on the calendar and the days and milestones are just dates and he was dead in July and August, too. Somehow in those months it does not hurt the same day. It is like the seasonality of earth gives grief a nice like pat on the back and says, "it's time champ!" and my heart just remembers how to feel broken and..
I had to stop there to catch my breathe, because this is always going to be so damn hard and in that there is a certain permanent hopelessness that I haven't quite resigned myself, too. It feels like I am going to whine and wallow in this for the rest of my life and that in turn fills me with so much self-loathing and feelings of weakness, that I would to just tamper it all down and forget about the whole thing.
But, then that picture I found today beckons me to not forget. He has the best smile--one I see in my children. Chloe has his big eyes (although hers are hazel and not blue). They all have his hair--sandy brown.
I have the memories of his childhood and mine, and those are not things I can afford to forget.