I used to have a brother. It would be his birthday today.
“He is in a better place.” – “He is dead. That’s not a place.”
“It was God’s will.” – “God had nothing to do with that, believe me.”
“You can still talk to him, in the cemetery.” – “I will not talk to a wooden box six feet under.”
“He is still out there, somewhere.” – “He is in the box”.
“Eight years have passed!” – “Not a second has passed.”
“You should really move on with your life!” – “I have. I am just moving back for a day.”
I never really do the “What would he do now” game. There is no point. I cannot imagine what he would do now, and I don’t want to. He will always be 27. The only thing I do sometimes is thinking about how I would love to tell him all my news. How he and Mr. Betterhalf would get on. How I would call his number and he would pick up.
I remember his last birthday. The last one on earth, I mean. He was in horrible shape and could not leave the hospital. He still celebrated a week or so later, and it was nice. Everybody gathered around a table and he took it all in. He took us all in. I had no idea what to get him as a present, what present do you give to somebody who is going to spend the next weeks, months in hospital! In the end I gave him a journal, so he would be able to write down his thoughts, and his pain. He did not get to use it. Two weeks later, he was gone. We put the book up on a table at the funeral, so everybody could write down their thoughts.
I am not sure that he is still out there. In fact, I don’t think so. But he seems to be in me. Sometimes people tell me that my gestures or facial expression remind them of him. Sometimes even I can see that when I look in the mirror. He appears in my dreams, still. I can recall the sound of his laughter.
I wish I could celebrate today. Maybe I can. This day is to celebrate his life, and his life was one of a kind. He was a good brother to me, the best. And I was a good sister to him. And that made me who I am today.
I have a brother. It is his birthday today. He is 35. Happy birthday, Erik!
If you have the chance, register for bone marrow donation. It’s easy, it doesn’t hurt, and you might give someone another birthday!