My Brother: What I Remember

You would be 45 today. I often wonder what life would be like if you were still here….

I was seven, you were 16 and the BEST big brother. You had 2 twin beds in your room and on weekends you would let me sleep in your room. We would go to the basement and make a pallet of blankets and pillows on the floor to watch movies. Sometimes we would hear a soft knock on the basement door, and you would sneak your girlfriend in. I didn’t mind. I liked her, she was nice, and you never made me feel left out. The 3 of us would lay on the floor, but I don’t think I ever finished a movie. Next, I would wake up halfway up the stairs. I would open my eyes and look right into yours. With a smile you would say, “I love you. Ill be up soon.” And you would tuck me into one of your beds, and sneak back down to be with Amy. It was our secret. And I never told.

I can recall the morning you left us like it was yesterday. If I give myself time to draw the details back into my mind, I can FEEL it too. It was early morning. I was still upstairs in my room. A scream. Followed by shouting and more screaming. I looked over the stair rails. Mom was on her knees with her head in her hands. Two Police officers were standing in the doorway. I remember thinking, “Where is that sound coming from? Mommy?” I walked slowly to her, realizing, she was making the sounds. Something between a scream and the most unbearable sobbing I have ever heard. She grabbed me so quick and squeezed me so tight, I thought I would pop. She kept saying “He’s gone. He’s gone.”

Now I don’t remember if I said anything back to her or just let her hug me. I don’t know how long we stayed on that floor, but I’m sure Mom, time had stopped. Maybe my subconscious was trying to protect me, because I don’t have much of a memory of what happened after that. I’m sure I was passed around to different relatives while arrangements where finalized.

I don’t remember crying. At least, not at first. To me you weren’t dead, or “passed away.” That’s what the adults would say. My seven year old brain didn’t even know what that meant. I would look for you. I just knew you ran away and I would find you. I would look for you whenever I was in the backseat. I would scan the tree line just waiting to catch a glimpse of you.

The day did come when I knew I would never see you again. I was in your room, where I had slept many weekends with you. The movers where taking your twin beds out. I was sitting on the bottom shelf of the built in bookshelves. I was small enough to sit there, out of sight and out of the way. I was holding the blanket that used to be on your bed. I buried my head it in….took a deep breath, and I could smell you.

I finally cried.

Your smell went away, so did that blanket. Then the house we shared . I learned to be the oldest child. I learned to play by myself.

I didn’t talk about you much. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. A few close friends knew, but to this day, they don’t know much. Maybe its because I was so young when you left, but as I’ve gotten older I find myself “wondering.”

What happened? What was going through your head? How would my life be different if you were here?

I wish with my whole being you were here.

Sometimes when I’m saying my prayers, I ask God to send you to my dreams. I just want a glimpse of you again. To hear your voice, because I don’t remember.

I love you. Thank you for the memories I do have.

I talk about you now. Do you hear me?