Last July, my brother died.
I haven’t written much about him because I didn’t have room to explore those feelings when stressed over my pregnancy. I had to focus on putting one foot in front of the other and, sadly, grief can always wait. Since MissVee’s birth in February, they have been slowly coming to the surface.
My feelings take me by surprise — their ferocity takes my breath away.
I still can’t write about him. I’m not ready. Someday I will be ready, but that day is not today. That day won’t be tomorrow. I need more time to process the finality — the “goneness” — of his death and the impact it has on me.
What I can do is tell you a little story about some glasses.
These glasses have a story.
When my brother and I were small, my grandparents had a couple in their house — I think they originally held peanut butter, but once emptied were kept with the glasses. By the time my brother took over the farm they had long since disappeared, but he remembered how our grandfather had kept one by the back sink as a water glass and, the year before he died, asked me to watch the thrifts for a replacement.
I looked, but never found one.
When he died, I packed my feelings away because I knew I didn’t have the strength to deal with them on top of a stressful pregnancy. My feelings were like a pebble in my pocket — something I could take out, turn over, and examine when I felt up to it. They still are, and sometimes I find myself lying awake at 3am rolling my memories around in my mind when the house is quiet and my family sleeps.
My feelings are like a pebble in my pocket…
Shortly after MissVee was born, I had a bad, sleepless night of dreams and heavy thoughts about him and all these plans we had left undone. He had big ideas about my boys visiting him for the summer when they were older, he wanted to come up for another Canada Day bbq (a bit of a tradition for us) and go camping with my family the next time we visited, and I thought about smaller things like not finding him the water glass.
I thought about smaller things like not finding him the water glass.
The next day, when running errands, I stopped at a thrift because hunting is something that makes me happy, and I needed the pick-me-up after an agonizing night. I walked into the store and headed for the glassware, hoping for Pyrex and I found these.
If he was still alive, I would have sent him one and kept the other for myself.
I can’t write about him yet, or what it means to me to have lost my only sibling — I have lost the one person who best put my childhood into context — but touchstones, like these glasses, give me a moment to pause and think of the tow-headed 5yr old who made me crazy, and the adult I grew to respect and enjoy in a way I never believed possible when we were kids.
I miss him.
*adapted from shorter, swypo-filled Instagram post