Disclaimer: I have avoided publishing this post for a while now, because it doesn’t really go anywhere. There is no beautiful metaphor and I haven’t really figured out what any of it means yet. This is truly me in the middle of processing something. Consider yourself warned.
I’ve danced around the subject for a while. I’m really bad at talking about it. I do the same thing in real life that I’ve done so far on the blog, I just kind of slip it in, maybe one comment about it, but then I move on and move on and pretend like it didn’t happen (or that it’s totally normal). I can’t even say it. Usually if I have to say something about it I say things like “Ethan’s accident” or “I lost my little brother.” Those hurt a lot less, the language creates a false sense of distance from the truth. When people say “Ethan died” my gut reaction is to punch them, literally. My heart starts racing and I have to take a second to calm down. It doesn’t make any sense, it’s the truth of what happened. I know its what happened. I saw Ethan, he did die. So why does saying the truth hurt so much?
It’s because I’m an avoider, and when someone says Ethan died, there is no more pretending.
I’m trying to face it now. I have finally driven by the accident site and I’ve talked about the day for the first time in months, so I thought it was time to write about it.
Loss is strange. Right after the accident, people told me all about the stages of grief and how it works and what I will feel and everything I’m experiencing is normal.. blah blah blah. I get it, it is normal. The stages grief cycle makes sense to me, I can explain it. Just like I can explain an eating disorder or any other mental process. I can explain the stages of grief and why it happens. I could sit here and write a beautiful post about it and put a nice bow on it. That post would be titled Losing a Brother or Grief Sucks. I have experienced grief/loss in other ways recently and I can clearly see the stages of grief in those losses as well. Its just a process like anything else. I could comfortably write all day about denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. You can do a google search though.
The is why this post is titled Ethan Died. Its different than grief. Its all those little moments when I feel like something is missing and I can’t put my finger on it. Then I realize whats missing. It wrecks me. I get that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach and want to wake up from this nightmare. It is somehow different from the stages of grief (or at least it feels like it, a psychologist might tell me differently).We can talk about grieving anything. Ethan dying is different.
Understanding the stages of grief doesn’t help when I need something from the car and its cold outside. My little brother isn’t around to force him to go out to the car for me. He’s not riding next to me, being the DJ. My passenger seat is empty driving between my Mom’s and my Dad’s on Christmas or Thanksgiving or any other time. I can’t get angry at him or protect him or laugh with him or talk with him about picking a college.
Now that I am through the first Christmas without him, I hate it. People say time heals, but right now time just feels unfair. Each and every day is one day further away. One more day that Ethan won’t know. He will never know the year 2016. He will never know what it feels like to get accepted into college. He will never get married, or have kids, or get arrested, or whatever else. That is unfair. It’s shitty. It’s what happens when you die and it sucks.
Sometimes, I think he is the lucky one. He gets to be with Jesus right now, and gets to skip all the mess. He doesn’t have to feel the pain like the rest of us. He gets to live in Perfection while still changing lives here. He is free from sin. That seems pretty great, and I am so thankful for that. We have a God who loves us so deeply and has prepared the perfect place for us. Ethan is there right now. The older sister in me is a little bit jealous of that.
p.s. I know that picture isn’t the most flattering of either of us, but I really liked it because it was just us being goofy.