Rainbow Valley (Photo credit: rwangsa)
Dearest Baby Brother,
Happy birthday darling! I wish that I could deliver this greeting In person but since you died so young, that is impossible. Based on my beliefs, which were yours as well, I believe that you are up there in heaven, healthy, and watching over all of us. At times, I swear that I can feel your presence all around me, and I find that quite comforting.
Although it has happened ever so slowly over the years, this is the first year that the good memories that we shared, outweighs my grief over losing you. Grief is funny that way–it affects each of us in different ways and no one can decide when another person “should be over it.”(I hear people say this much too often, and I am quick to refute that claim.) Instead of ones of grief, I cry tears of happiness at the memory of you.
I’ve finally reached acceptance and peace about your death. I am not saying that a day goes by that I don’t miss you, but the raw hurt, sadness and anguish is replaced by the joy of sharing a life with you, and the pride of being your sister.
This letter is not meant to be a downer. No, I want to celebrate you and tell you how blessed I feel to be your sister. You were a blessing to me and even though I was the oldest, you were always a wise old soul and your life and death taught me, among others, things like:
- Love never dies.
- To tell those that you love, how much you love them and what you mean to them~~often.
- To be brave in the face of adversity.
- To take risks.
- To be kind to others, but don’t be doormat.
- To speak up for yourself.
- To speak up for injustices.
- That loyalty, truth and trust are traits that one should live by.
- To maintain your sense of curiosity.
- To be true to yourself.
- To live life to its fullest.
- To know all of your options, before making a decision.
- That wisdom is not age-dependent.
- To appreciate, appreciate, appreciate the small blessings in life.
- To count the life blessings.
- To live a life that you can be proud of.
- That you are never promised another moment.
- To defend your family fiercely.
- To savor life with all of your senses.
- To be adventurous.
- To love outside of your comfort zone.
The memories are too many to name. I remember the day that Mom brought you home. I loved you from the moment that I lay eyes on you. As the oldest, I felt like your protector, and that I’d let nothing happen to you. I remember that after great-grandmother could no longer keep up with you, you had to go to daycare, and at first, you hated it. Every day, for a month, you stood by the gate crying and waiting for Mom to pick you and insisted on wearing sunglasses, so that the other children wouldn’t see you cry. I remember those times that I picked you up from daycare and we walked home with your hand in mind. I think that it was I holding on to your little hand for dear life.
I remember that you were funny and could make us laugh. I remember that when I got pregnant, right after high school and compounded the problem by moving out to get married, you never disparaged or showed any disappointment in me. Regardless of what others thought, you didn’t care. In fact, although you are only 9 years old, I remember you taking at least two buses to see me and ultimately, your first nephew in our teeny, little apartment. Your actions touch my heart to this very day. Also, you were a great-uncle and delighted in your nieces and nephews.
As you grew older, you were a constant source of pride and I loved you more. You graduated high school, and moved on to college. You were living in San Francisco at the time and had just finished your final year at the University when you were diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I was in awe of the strength, grace, and faith with which you faced the situation. I remember your determination and zeal to overcome the disease. I remember your insistence that life would go on, so you decided to move away from home to seek your Masters in Communication. I remember your excitement at having reached your goal.
All in all, I remember a man who exemplified a zest for life, an incredible spirit and was the epitome of a compassionate and caring person. Your positively touched the life of everyone who was fortunate enough to have been in your presence. You were a loving brother. (I mean, what brother puts a picture of his big sister up in his high school locker? :)) Sweetie, you were a blessing to me and I am a better person for having known you. If given the opportunity, there are things that I long to share with you, but I am comforted by the belief that I adequately conveyed to you how very much I love you. About that, I have no regrets. Besides, I believe that you are already privy to everything that I wish to share.
I still love this quote from this earlier post about you:
“And you will continue now, and forever, to redefine your relationship with your deceased loved one. Death doesn’t end the relationship, it simply forges a new type of relationship – one based not on physical presence but on memory, spirit, and love.” ~ Ashley Davis Bush, “Transcending Loss”
I am a lucky person for having shared a life with you, and as I expressed in the above post, you will always be my dear, sweet brother. I’d have it no other way. Thank you for being, and enjoy a heavenly birthday.