Two years ago on May 13th, my brother died. As the days got closer to May 13th this year I cried more often, remembering the days before he died. 1 year ago our family got together on the anniversary of his death for breakfast. This year we were invited to a birthday party on my husband’s side of the family. I planned to attend while knowing if I needed to bail on the day of, that would be fine too.
Just a few hours before the party when I couldn’t stop crying, my husband suggested I opt out of the party. The next thing he suggested was a nap. It was the first thing I said yes to all day. I was in a weird mood, like a brain fog and every question he asked me I answered with, “I don’t know.”
The morning started out not too abnormal. After crying in the bathroom I tried to put a sentence together for Andy and all I could think to say was, “I used to have a brother and I don’t have one anymore.” It’s a weird thing my brain does. I imagine what I would do if he was still here. Things I would text him that I find while out in the store. Questions I would ask him about family. I imagine we’d be hanging out more often than we did. Which I don’t even know is accurate, but in my pretend fantasy, we do.
A friend came over for a walk. We picked lilacs from the neighbor’s yard and rearranged our living room furniture. I don’t know why rearranging furniture is good for the soul, but it is for me.
After she left, my husband and I divided some hosta in the front yard. We gave some to a new neighbor we met that morning and the rest we replanted. We planted some basil and then I didn’t know what to do next.
My mind got a little twisty and I couldn’t seem to shake the repeating thought of, “my brother’s gone, my brother’s gone.”
May 13th is hard. His birthday is way better. On that day we’ve gathered with family and celebrated the day he came into this world. The day he left this world is so much more somber. I hope to eventually treat the day differently. Several hours into the day I called my mom and she said she kept telling herself it was Saturday instead of focusing on the date. What a simple strategy. I tried it and it worked well enough for me to get in the car to go to a family birthday on my husband’s side of the family.
As May 13th approched, my friends came closer. The first messages I received were from a friend in Washington DC, followed by friends in Kenya and St Louis Park the day before my brother’s anniversary. Then Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nebraska and Oregon. Family and framily from Corcoran, St Michael, Maple Grove and Chanhassen rounded out the messages. Each person simply checking in, acknowledging the day and remembering with me.
Each message meant a lot because each person took time to remember, and then they did the hard part, they acted. The got out their phone and sent a message.
Maybe it’s because words are a big deal to me, but it meant a lot.
It meant a lot that all these people who have their own lives, they stopped to acknowledge and remember something important that happened in mine two years ago.