I like to consider myself a writer, but when it has come to this point of writing a memorial for my brother, my only brother, who is no longer with us, I am speechless.
There is nothing I can write that will be beautiful or touching. My heart is much too raw for beautiful and touching. Honestly, I have been dreading this service. I normally have somewhat of an appreciation for “closure” type events, but not this one. This wound is open and will not sense “closure” for a very long time, if ever. I have never known a world without my brother, and it scares me.
My brother and I did not talk every day. Sometimes weeks would go by before we would see each other. This was not due to lack of love, it was simply due to schedules and different preferences in activities. However, I felt proud when my brother needed me. I looked up to him, so I was honored when he asked for my help.
Some things were small, like running errands. I loved being helpful and useful to him. Always, when he was done and we got to his house, finished taking the groceries inside, always he would try to pay me gas money. He was very adamant about integrity. I would never accept his money and after a small look of disappointment, he would reach out his arms for a hug and when we parted he would look me straight in the eye and say, “Listen, I really appreciate it.” After I told him I liked to help, he would always part with, “Love ya Sis.”
The greatest honor my brother ever gave me was asking me for help.
When he was concerned about our sister, he called me. He trusted me to help him take action and I could feel our mutual respect.
One day, after battling with his sore legs I went to pick my kids up from my mom’s house and he was sitting in her chair. We exchanged our regular greetings and then began talking about the condition of his legs. He said, “Someone asked me if I had a family member that could be an advocate for me at my next doctor’s appointment, and I thought of you.” My heart still jumps at the thought of those words. He trusted me to fight for him and I wasn’t going to let him down. I got the doctor to admit him into the hospital his very next appointment.
Of course, then he was a little irritated because he didn’t have time to go home to get the things he needed. Brenda and I were sent on the mission to find the VERY SPECIFIC things he wanted. My brother was kind, compassionate and loving, but he was also picky about his wants and needs.
I always felt like I could relate to my brother. He had religious issues a lot earlier than the rest of us and he never went back. When I struggled with guilt or confusion, I could always talk to Craig about it without feeling guilty and without feeling judged.
Like I said, Craig and I didn’t talk every day, but I still felt close to him. I always knew he was there. My world was complete because he existed. Now, my world has a missing piece. An expected death is hard enough to deal with; an unexpected death is disorienting.
I’m not ready to say good-bye. I refuse. It has been almost three years since my father passed and I haven’t said good-bye to him yet either.
I’m sure I am still going to have conversations with my brother, though they will be one-sided. But at the end of every one of them, I will see my brother locking eyes with me saying, “Love ya Sis.”
I love you too Craig.