Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Fond memories of a wonderful sibling

ALERT: potentially sad reading follows ...



















It's so hard to believe, but 19 years ago tonight, Tom, my youngest brother, died (yep, that's me with Tom and my middle brother, Steve, about a million years ago). He died three weeks short of his 21st birthday, which is one of those incredibly unjust facts that occur in too many families' lives. Also unjust, he died in a terrible car accident with several of his very best friends, after a day of fishing and drinking (and yes, drunk driving played a huge part in this). My brother wasn't the driver, but he died nevertheless.



















April and May are big months in my family: birthdays for my parents, Tom and myself, my folks' anniversary, my grandpa's bday (also gone and still loved immensely), mother's day. And now the anniversary of Tom's death, which sometimes overshadows the other days of celebration. Or simply makes them bittersweet.



















I end up dreading early April every year, even if I don't realize that I'm dreading it. I swore to myself that I would celebrate Tom's life every year on this day and his birthday. Unfortunately, life often gets in the way of really being able to do that. I did leave work early today, but am just now settling down to think about my awesome little brother. And now I can let go of that odd underlying dread that I wasn't even fully aware existed (funny how that works).



















Tom was an awesome kid. Incredibly funny. Incredibly creative. Loved everyone and loved by all! We're all animal lovers in my family - Tom's pets (cats - sound familiar?) adored him beyond belief - he got them to do all sorts of crazy stuff. Like a lot of teenagers, he lost his way a little, but was heading back on track as he was figuring out the man he wanted to become. He spent some time with me in the Bay Area not long before he died, sharing career ideas he was really excited about related to videogame design - he would have been a huge success with that, given his creativity, cleverness and artistic talent.



















So, this isn't a post to be sad about, though I've shed a few tears as I've written it. (I've also held back from writing a real tear jerker...) I do still miss Tom, and will miss him when I'm 85. I'm sad that he didn't get to become the truly wonderful man that I know he would have been. I'm sorry that I didn't get to go to his wedding and attend the birth - or graduations - of his children. And I'm sorry that I'm not emailing him right now about some stupid little joke between us, but I know he's laughing anyway. Because I do believe in an afterlife and know that someday we'll see each other again. In the meantime, I'm celebrating his life by living my own, and look forward to many many more years of doing so.

So even though this is a little sad, it's really about love and life, which in the end is all that really matters. And being reminded of that from time to time isn't necessarily a bad thing ...

10 comments:

heather jane said...

wishing you peace today. Thanks for sharing.

lauren bacchus said...

oh brenda!
What a beautiful and touching tribute to your brother.
I am so sorry for your loss. You are a wonderful sister for honoring his memory.

hugs,
lauren

lillyella said...

well this was a very fitting and beautiful tribute that Im sure he would appreciate. love and hugs, nicole

eNVe said...

Brenda, thank you for sharing your wonderful memories and thoughts of your little brother. What a lovely way to remember him. *HUGS*

Cottage In The Sun said...

don't know what to say, but sending hugs to you.

June Shin said...

This is such a lovely tribute to your brother. Hugs and more hugs,
June

Kristin said...

Brenda,
Reading about your brother and your memories really touched me. I lost one of my younger sisters almost 7 years ago. You don't know me (I'm a friend of Nicole's) but I wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you today.

Kristin

Brenda // Phydeaux said...

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments! What a wonderful virtual community to be a part of. xoxo

UnaOdd -Lynn said...

What a beautifully written remembrance of your beloved brother. I am sorry that you've lost someone so special to you. (((Brenda)))

Your love for him shines through... a beautiful light.

Kim said...

Brenda, so beautifully written straight from your heart. Thank you for sharing your brother with us. I am so sorry for your loss. I love that you were having a piece of his favorite cake last night. You are a beautiful person. xoxo