{ Love always, your sister }

May 12th, 2016 · 0 comments

A young woman in one of my online grief support groups, someone who recently lost her brother as well, came to us all with a post today asking, Have any of you felt this way? Do any of you think these things? She went on to talk about how she endlessly worries about where her late brother is. If he’s scared. Is he warm, happy, is he with us. Is he with us? Is he okay?

My younger brother, Tyler, at 22 years old, passed away unexpectedly in the early hours of October 25, 2015. Not a single day goes by that he’s not with me; not a single day that I don’t wake up with him on my mind, or think of him a thousand moments throughout the day, that I don’t go to bed worrying over where he is. Is he scared? Does he understand what’s happened? Is he okay? Is he okay, I just need to know that he’s okay.

Death confounds me. Each time I have been confronted with it, I am left utterly bereft and wailing, my hands out with questions and questions and questions. “Where are they, where? Are they okay? I don’t understand, where did they go, where. They died? They died?” Where are you, where are you. Where.

Where.

Understanding that this is natural, that there is at least one other sister out there carrying these questions around like a veil stopped my heart. The ache in recognizing yourself in someone else’s grief; sweet, painful. Healing.

The night my plane left to go home for my brother’s service, we had just barely taken off when I glanced out the window and startled at the beautiful brilliant flash of a shooting star. It felt like a kindness, and it has stayed firmly with me. I can’t claim to know what happens when we die, but I know that there is magic and joy in tandem with our grief, and I do believe that the world around us softens for us in our pain. I would like to believe with all my being that my brother is in these small stars; in the cardinal that visited my mother as she sat asking for him to let her know that he’s okay; in the sweet ladybug friend that came to visit as I photographed Tyler’s tree today.

Or in the shooting star I saw tonight as I stood outside, thinking about my brother and the star I saw as our plane took off towards my home last November.

But of course, I have no way of knowing.

But on good days.
Well, there’s hope, anyway.

Today is my young brother’s 23rd birthday. It is important to me that the world know that he was beautiful and kind, soft-hearted and compassionate. That he was funny, he was so funny. He was thoughtful and loving and so precious to me, so so precious. I miss him so much some days I can’t breathe. I hurt profoundly with his absence, every day.

But I also move through the world with a much deeper, wider love in me now, this space in me that I hold for him, where he resides. When we lost my brother, I lost a pure sense of home, this thing that felt like a literal physical part of me, and that has left generous scars in my world; but I am also changed in sweeter, tender ways. I am softer. Kinder. I am living for him, because he can’t be here to live with me.

.
My little bubba, I have never been more proud of a being than I am of you – I am so proud of you – or more fit to bursting with warmth and love and this huge, deep gratitude that I get to be your sister. I love you endlessly. Over and over again, I just love you, and love you, and love you.

Happy 23 years of your beautiful essence, my sweet TyTy. I ache with the not knowing if you are still with me, but as far as my heart is concerned, you are with me always.

With love,
always and always,
Your Tata* ♥

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