Content warning: I didn’t edit out the explicit words like I normally would have. Mostly because there are some things in life that deserved to be cussed at, and losing your brother is one of them. It fucking sucks.
HBD little brother. See that hole in the picture above? That’s where you were supposed to be standing when I got married. We had to hold it because you aren’t here. I really wish that hole was filled. It’s your golden birthday today, and instead of it being a day of celebrating with you, we can’t, because you are still gone. And it still sucks.
Somehow your birthday is now a bigger deal without you then it would have been if you were here (which makes me feel like a real shitty sister).
Here’s the thing, growing up birthdays weren’t a huge deal in our family. Don’t get me wrong, we celebrated as a family. When we were little we would skip school and spend the whole day with our Dad, doing whatever the birthday kid wanted. Then we would get to pick what we had for dinner, followed by birthday cake and gifts from the family. It was sweet, I loved our family thing. As we got older and life happened we stopped being able to skip school, or always have everyone around for birthday dinner. When I was in college, I would for sure text Ethan on his birthday (or any of my other siblings), and try to see him, but in general, my day progressed as normal.
Now that he’s not around, I feel like I am not allowed to have a normal day today. I can’t just celebrate my brother with a phone call or celebratory dinner. This day has to be so much more, and selfishly I hate that. I’m angry about it.
It’s not just that I now have to deal with October 20th being a bigger deal than it used to be.
I’m angry Ethan isn’t here. He should be here. Why the hell did he have to die? He should have been here, but because of one microsecond, one moment, one damn decision, he didn’t get to play in his last soccer game of the season, he didn’t get to graduate high school, pursue his dreams, be a part of my life or anyone else’s for that matter. Any joyful memory of him ultimately leads to the gut-wrenching image of twisted metal burned in my mind. I do not get to celebrate my brother. I do not even get to think about the loving, dorky, kid without eventually having my heart broken again. Every memory is tainted because he died. Fuck that, I mean, honestly.
I want to be clear, my feelings are not directed towards anyone, though I would be easier to solve if that were the case. I’m just pissed at the whole situation.
Also, angry doesn’t really feel like an emotion grieving people should express, especially as a grieving woman (it’s only a short fall from grieving sister to mentally unstable, everyone watch out, keep your distance, don’t get to close lest you wish to be the next victim). People are generally okay if you are sad or depressed. It’s socially acceptable. Sometimes people will even let you cry and tell a story about your loved one before squirming uncomfortably, trying to change the subject or offer some silver lining; distancing themselves as to be sure they don’t contract this seemingly contagious and unsightly condition. But anger- HA! People run the other direction. Which in some sense, I get it. It’s not comfortable to be around an angry person. It’s definitely not a joyful experience, and 9 times out of 10, you won’t get the added benefit of a cathartic cry to neatly end the period of heightened emotion. Any justification doesn’t make it less isolating to the grieving person.
My cynical self doesn’t want to offer hope. I want to leave it at I’m angry and people suck, that’s all. Good day. However, I am begrudgingly including a little light to this otherwise dark rant. One, I’m thankful to have more than a few friends who are better than the average person when it comes to being with me in any of my emotions. I’m blessed that I know I can turn to people and not be met with half-hearted attempts to be empathetic, but those who truly listen without expectation. Seriously, my friend Josh used to let me punch his arm as hard I could for several seconds when I just had anger I needed to get out (he also set up this whole blog for me around that same time, seriously blessed by that friendship). Lindsey used to drive me around when I couldn’t sleep a night, listening to Sufjan Stevens until I got sleepy enough to go to be. Rhea has this incredible knack to just be there and create space for emotion to be expressed and to truly feel it with me. Morgan can read me like a book, and even when I most desperately want to hide, she will draw me out and remind me there is no shame in feeling whatever it was that I was feeling. The list could go on.
Two, God understand my anger. He takes it, he sits with me in it. Angry with me. He uses each of my friends to give me glimpses of His heart, His reaction to my anger, His validation of my feelings.
So that’s it. I’m angry. Ethan’s still gone. God is still good.
Happy Birthday, Little Brother.