What I wish I knew before my brother got cancer was that not having him around would be the biggest obstacle in my life. For most of my life I have always been in a group of four. Meaning it was me, my brother, my mom and dad. Even after my parents got divorced, there was still an even number of people and I always got paired up with him. He and I were almost inseparable. Well, as inseparable as a brother and sister could get. Granted that changed slightly when we got into high school, but still we were still pretty close. When he passed I was alone. Not completely alone, mind you, but the person who I did just about everything with was gone.
Today marks the second year of the day David passed away. My life has changed significantly since then. I’ve grown up in some ways, but in some ways I have stayed the same 16-year-old I was when he died. When you lose someone a part of you stays the same. Stuck in time. You stay that person you were they day it happened. There’s not a day that goes by that you don’t think about the person you lost. Sometimes you see something that reminds you of them, and it makes you smile. Then you get a little sad because you can’t tell that person what it was that reminded you of them.
However, at the end of the day you might be relieved or maybe even a little happy because you know deep down that the person you lost is now free. Free from sickness. Free from spending countless hours unhappy in various hospital rooms with needles going in and out of their body. Sure, you are going to wish that they could have lived to see 100. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. I learned that now. I’m not happy that my brother is gone. I’m not happy that I have to sit next to the guy that reeks of B.O. on a plane instead of my brother. I’m not happy that I have to say, “my brother passed away from brain cancer” every time a conversation about siblings come up. But I am happy that my brother is cancer free. I am happy that he is up in Heaven making all the little boys and girls who have passed away smile until their family joins them. I am happy about the impact he made on the people he knew and even some he didn’t know. He is my brother, my best friend, and now my guardian angel.
Today is Mother’s Day, and some of you might have been expecting a post from that perspective. In many ways, Mother’s Day is overshadowed by David’s death for our family, so I wanted to share Austin’s story with you today. I’m so proud of her, and I’m happy to share a little bit of her with all of you. May 11th also happens to be my brother’s birthday, so we have reasons to smile and celebrate today. The sadness is always there, however, just under the surface. Be gentle today with those you know who have lost a loved one. Those smiles may be held on by sheer force of will.