Nothing like a surprise blogging hiatus. I wish I could say it was for some happy reason, but it’s not. My last post in November was right before we went on a 2 1/2 week vacation, and I hadn’t managed to get posts written ahead and scheduled. A little over a week after we got home from our trip (or, in other words, right about the time I was finally caught up on laundry and our routines were semi-functional again), I learned that my brother lost his fight with leukemia. He didn’t even make it six months from his diagnosis. I couldn’t even begin to write anything over here I was so devastated. Still am, but I’m at least functioning and am figuring out how to get back to what normal is now.
I am so incredibly thankful that during our trip I was able to see him. It ended up being just over two weeks before his death – I saw him on a Sunday, and he died on a Tuesday 16 days later. For all that I’m so grateful that I saw him, I still can’t really think about that day that I spent with him. Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to remember it without breaking down into tears.
My brother’s funeral was held in his home state of Colorado. Unfortunately for me, a poorly timed blizzard closed the interstate and kept me from making it to the funeral, reception, or burial. We had to stop just west of Hays, KS, and ended up turning back the next day when the roads proved to be so bad. My sister-in-law’s cousin’s husband (i.e., I have no idea what to call him beyond “a relative”) was so sad to hear that I wasn’t going to make the funeral that he recorded it for me. I haven’t gotten the video yet, and don’t know when I’ll be emotionally ready to watch it. If ever.
None of it seems completely real yet. Would that be different if I had attended his funeral? Maybe. Maybe it still wouldn’t, because I still expect that I could call him up any time and get an enthusiastic greeting. I still expect to hear second-hand stories of his latest adventures from my parents.
One of the last photos I have with my brother, from two years ago. I wish I had other, more recent photos because I really hated almost all of the photos from that session. Some of the worst family pictures we could have possibly come up with, and now they end up being the only ones we’ll have with everyone. Although, I guess we’ll never have pictures with everyone in that I was pregnant with my daughter when this photo was taken. So there’s at least one more family member who didn’t make it into the group shot.
It may sound crazy, but I am kind of dreading my birthday this year. I always, ALWAYS got a call from him on my birthday. Last year I missed his call thanks to dealing with the kids, and I still have the voicemail he left me. It was only a few weeks later that he got his diagnosis, so that call/voicemail was the last time I heard from him when we still all thought everything was “normal.”
I really thought I might make it through this post without crying. Not so much. Other things I’m dreading: the anniversary of his diagnosis. His anniversary & his wife’s birthday (which are on the same day). His kid’s birthdays. His birthday. The anniversary of my last visit with him. The anniversary of his death. I guess we’ve at least made it through the first round of firsts – first day, first week, first Christmas, first New Years. And today is the first month anniversary.
I just miss my brother. I know he’s in a better place, and I’ll see him again someday. I don’t know how I would cope if I didn’t have that to hold on to. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m grieving that he’s gone, and that we didn’t get the miracle for which we prayed.
My brother and my son. He never met my daughter sadly. The day I went to see him right before he died she was getting over a cold and we couldn’t risk her sharing any germs with him as his immune system was nonexistant.
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