This is the first time I won’t be sending you a birthday card. It’s only been a few months but I still remember the last time we spoke. You were busy working and so was I. We talked about the small things like the weather where we live, how we were doing health wise… but nothing too heavy. Truth is, I’ve been afraid to dig deep to ask the tough questions like “are you happy?” I couldn’t say “I miss you”. So many times, I wanted to say I’m sorry that we aren’t as close as we were when we were children.
Today, I feel the loss and wish I could hug you again, you would be 51…so young. Your face is in my head so clear and I can still hear your voice. I sometimes try to call your number and then I forget you won’t be picking up. I think about your family and pray they are okay. How did this happen that I’d be left standing? I tell myself that I believe in giving people flowers when they can smell them but somehow I missed that with you. Yes, I would email you and always write I love you, but it’s not the same as hearing it.
Never did I believe that we wouldn’t visit each other, but I told myself we’re both very busy and I gave you your privacy. I stood back and prayed silently for you. I wanted to be close again but I didn’t know how. That was my mistake and I hope you’ll forgive me. When we were kids, you looked up to me and followed me everywhere. I was your protector all through grade school. I taught you to read and even to learn Spanish. And I was so proud that you excelled so much that you could skip grades and finish school early. You graduated from college and went even further from there. You did with your life what I couldn’t with mine. You made me feel like a happy mama!
I was so happy when you married and even more happy when you became a father. The pics of you with my nephew are precious. Thank you for always sending me updated photos of him so I could watch him grow up from afar. I feel so happy that God gave you to me for a brother. You supported me when no one else could. You accepted my 2nd hubby when you knew I would have an interracial marriage. But you never made my hubby feel out of place. You loved him as your brother-in-law and I’m forever grateful. I want to say thank you for the years of gifts you’ve given to us. When I told you we were moving from Florida to Oregon, you understood and respected our decision. You’ve always been like that.
You worked hard and did what was necessary to support your family. Mom would have been proud of you too. I salute you today my brother and my hope now is to see you once again to tell you all that I can never tell you here. Most of all to apologize for not saying what really mattered while you were here to hear it. I’ll see you soon. I love you.
~ A letter to my brother on his birthday, July 25, 1968 – February 15, 2019.