16 November 2005

This time of year.

This time of year is the time I miss my brother the most. I am the oldest surviving sister in our family, my brother was a year older than me. Then there are the little girls. It was always him, me and the little girls.

There isn't a time in my life, before I was 31, that I don't think he wasn't my shadow. Well, that's not entirely correct, I was his shadow. He was my protector, my hero, my best friend, and most of all my big brother. I have always felt bad that we lived separate lives, sort of, from my sisters, as they didn't know him like I did.

I have been told that when we were just bits of children, he would climb out of his crib, climb into mine, rock me back to sleep, then crawl back in his and do the same. He was a rocker. Literally. He would always have music playing when he was going to sleep, if it wasn't available through radio, records or tapes, he would hum. There was always music. He would then papoose himself in his covers and rock himself silly, until sleep came.

There are certain songs I cannot sing without hearing his voice in mine. I learned to love music through him. He even introduced me to my husband, the band guy. He always had a song going. When we were in high school, he would record the radio. Then he would repeat what the DJs were saying and intro a record we all wanted to hear. He would then play the song, and when it was done add more commentary. It was pure entertainment. The only thing about him, in high school, that made me crazy was his love for the thespians group he was in. It was crazy, he had all these friends, and the geekiest of them, seemed always, to want to date me. I am so glad my parents enforced the no dating until you're 16 rule. By then, most of them had out grown their desire and I was left to my geeky self. My bro did earn actor of the year the year we graduated for his performance in Flowers for Algernon. He played the retarded guy, that got smart, and then reverted back through flawed science.

There are so many memories, it is hard to list them all.

He rocked so hard in a wicker backed rocking chair when we were small , I think four and five, that he fell through the back of the chair and it had to be trashed. Rock, rock, rock. We had a gane we'd play whiel he rocked. He'd say a word, and I'd say the corresponding word. Back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes, we'd even say words that, if our mother caught us, would get us in big trouble!

In a field, while playing once, we decided to have a dirt clod fight with all his friends. It sounded cool to me. We built a small burm and proceeded to gather small dirt clods. When the time of assault had been decided we began throwing clods as hard and as far as we could. It was pointed out rather quickly, that I through like a girl. It was okay, though because my brother said I wouldn't cry if I got hit. All the guys thought that was cool. My brother and I had a pact, what mom didn't know wouldn't hurt her, and so we took care of each other, painful parts and all. So he told me to follow his lead, and especially listen and if he yelled "duck!" I was to duck! Well I looked up and saw a clod coming my way. I didn't hear the given command and waited diligently at his side while he tossed clods and defended our fort. Whack! Oooh, oh! "Why didn't you duck?" He was looking at me as if I'd gone mad. I removed the rock from my mouth and answered that he hadn't told me too. I trusted him implicitly. He shook his head and told me I had a lot to learn about dirt clod fights. We walked home, explained to mom that there had been a slight mishap, thus the fat lip, and she handed me a wash cloth with and ice cube wrapped in it. It was also the exact time I was introduced to the wonderful healing powers of chocolate, my mom was very smart!

I trusted him always. Three weeks before his untimely death he called me to check to see how things were going. It was a rough semester for me and I was at my breaking point. I didn't want him to think I couldn't handle the pressure, and I rebuffed his questions about my life. He sighed and told me to remember, that no matter what, he'd always be there for me. My daughters tell me they can still hear the scream as I was notified of his death. My one and only brother, gone. He was not just a brother, he was my right hand. The other half of my psyche. I have yearned for what we could have been. He left behind a wonderful wife and four small children. My heart can only imagine their pain and loss. Mine, can be but a small amount of what they feel. I have childhood memories. They have a sense of a great man, but didn't have a real chance to get to know him for all that he was.

Thanksgiving always sparked the holiday season for us. We had such good times together, even the time we had only hotdogs to eat on Thanksgiving, he still found ways for us to be thankful. So each time we celebrate Thanksgiving, I can still see him sitting there, quipping some silly quip, getting us all laughing, and then telling us how much fun we were going to have.

I miss ya, bro. And I am sure you miss us too. What a celebration we'll all have together in the future sometime! Until then, go and give someone you love a real big hug. Don't let them go until they get that funny "what are you doing?" look on their face, and quietly whisper to them a memory of long ago, or of recent past that bonds you together. These people are the glue that holds most of us together. Don't forget to thank them for that!