It Happened Again – The Invasion of ‘Was’

Another sibling of mine has died and I don’t know how to process it. I didn’t write about the start of this when it happened, because I just KNEW that my brother would end up back home, a little scratched up, but albeit, ALIVE.

Friday a different story came about. This smiling face passed away that evening and changed my world.

I want to tell the entire thing – rehash all the grisly details of my feelings, but they are too raw. My baby brother, Daniel, is gone forever and I’m left with one sibling. One. Out of the three that I was gifted – even in those days when I didn’t consider them a gift. I remember thinking we would live until we were old and gray. Except we aren’t. Jessica – dead at 18 and now Daniel, at 32.

Read More: 11 Years and it Still Hurts

I’m so tired of all of the floral language that accompanies grief. It’s as if you can’t scrape the stupid “pleasantries” off the top and just be who you are. I know that I’m mad. I visited two different hospitals over the course of a month almost daily, my hopes raised with each day passing. Especially when he woke up and ESPECIALLY when he started speaking again.

He flashed his smile every time I walked into the room. Letting me know that he valued my being there. If I started talking too much or started saying something that got on his nerves, he would close his eyes and pretend to be asleep, throwing me into a fit of laughter and letting me know that he was still there. Still present. Still breathing. His preposition was “is” as in present tense. As in, with us. Now it’s “was.” Past tense. No longer here. Not in our presence any longer.

He was getting better. Moving more. Interacting so much. We’d sign with each other. We’d dance. One of the funniest moments was when a harpist came to sit in the threshold of his room, gracefully plucking away at the harp, sending soothing sounds through my brother’s room. Before he came, Daniel had me turn the lights off to create an ambiance fit for listening to harp music. When I turned around to look at him to see if he was resting while listening to the music, I was greeted instead with my babiest of baby brother doing the bankhead bounce while lying down.

I’m not sure how my sister in law is still standing, but she is. She’s quiet. She was that way before my brother died, and I can imagine that the strength that she found in silence was comforting, is comforting for her. I will say that I do treasure the time that we spent together in the hospital. Both there because of our love for the same guy. Mine in a philia way – brotherly love – and hers in agape – love of the soul. Either way, we both have holes in our hearts, that were filled by the presence of the same guy, but in a different manner.

Read More: Navigating Grief

I love and loathe social media. I can still click on his profile and scroll through to find videos that allow me to hear his voice, in its smooth rich baritone. It also allows me to see the silly side that he had. Photos of various costumes he wore for Halloween since his birthday was right around that time. These things make me smile, yet they also wrench at my heart. Knowing that no new content will be created. No new costume. No new Christmas photos. No future anything with him.

I do take comfort in the fact that we have a brand new baby coming though! In November, my brother’s third child will be born, and he and his wife are having a baby girl! We ALL know that she’s going to be so spoiled, and loved, just like her older brothers, but I am still so sad that she’ll never get a chance to meet her amazing father, and I won’t get to see him interact with his first daughter.

Just so many feelings, and it’s going to take me a LONG time to process them all. Of course, you’ll be reading about them too, but not as much as I’ll be living with them.

Here’s to another character-building year – and another layer of navigating grief.

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  • Reply
    Andrea Eisen
    July 11, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    Sending you continued love. So so much of it. Here for whatever you need. Thank you for sharing your brother with us.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    Beautiful tribute to a wonderful brother. My heart aches for you. ❤️❤️❤️

  • Reply
    Mimi Robinson
    July 11, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    I’m still sending you good vibes. Thanks to your brother whom I’ve never met for a gut busting laugh. The visual I have in my mind of a bankhead bounce while lying down listening to a harpist is sheer hilarity.

  • Reply
    July 12, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story and your brother with us. Sending you light and love, and sending up prayers for your family.

  • Reply
    Maura Kasper
    July 12, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Sending so much love to you friend. My heart is just broken for you and your family.

  • Reply
    July 12, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Sending so much love your family’s way as you navigate this new road in life ❤️❤️

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