Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Reflection on Loss

I haven't posted on here since December 21st, and this long gap is not a common thing for me. As my facebook readers will have noted this is because my family suffered a tragic loss, something I haven't fully been able to express in words until now.

Thomas and I (Christmas Circa 1991)
On Christmas Eve I was at work but in holiday mode, doing as little as possible and thinking of the good times to come that evening and the next day with Michael and I's families. My phone rang, and the need to pick it up, something I usually do not do at work, filled me. It was unusual, the sensation I had when picking up that cell phone... I can't explain it, something just told me I needed to answer, and when I did I heard my mother crying on the end of the line so I darted into the hall way. Slowly through the sobs, and later the sounds of the EMT in the background, I understood: My Mother, who was home alone, had just found my oldest brother Thomas dead. These are words I cannot even write without crying now, words that still don't seem real... I don't know what to say really, other than what I said on my facebook about him:
My oldest brother, Thomas, passed away unexpectedly. He was a dedicated soul, who always cared for others and did his best in a troubled world. He will be truly missed, but I will always be his little peanut. 
We were 15 years apart, and when I was born I weighed only 3lbs and 14oz so he called me little peanut from day one. Even the week before his death he called me that. The holidays and the past few weeks have been a blur, we tried to make the best of the holidays as we could and pushed through them together. He was a lover of the holidays, so it was all we could do for him. It's a time that's more full of sights, tastes, and sounds than concrete memories. A string of over 200 faces winding in and out of the funeral, the taste of the peppermint bark he was in the middle of making (we think) when he passed away, the sounds of the snow and wind picking up Christmas Eve when I went outside alone after they took his body away to stare at the sky and cry. It took us days to break the bark and eat it, probably as long as it took him to find the perfect gluten free candy cane to make it from. It melts on your tongue and leaves behind hard pieces to suck on. That bark is kind of like life, sweet and subtle with parts that melt your heart as well as hard parts you have to chew through.
Me and my brothers on my wedding day
(Thomas to the right, Tim to the left)

Death puts things in perspective, more than anything else can. It reminds you of so many things: the need to not put things off, the need to focus on what you are passionate about rather than what is easy, the fear of living that often becomes more fearful than death, the importance of being open with friends and family and speaking your mind, and above all else the power behind the phrase "I Love You". I've been left at a lost, a part of my heart is missing, and somehow I need to carry on. I need to refocus my energy, find my footing, and start walking again with his memory and these lessons in my heart. I know it's not going to be easy...

A part of that is going to include reworking this blog, although how I do not know yet. I just know that things will change here, and those changes will come with time. For the next two weeks at least I won't be posting. I am going on a road trip to celebrate my first wedding anniversary with Michael. It is a much needed trip that both our families are encouraging, and something that Thomas was thrilled about us taking.

In the long run: I hope you appreciate my honesty, I hope you tell your loved ones what they mean to you, and I hope you'll continue reading along as I share my journey.

"To live in hearts we leave behind, Is not to die." ~Thomas Campbell, "Hallowed Ground"

Thomas back in 2011, when we all went with my mother to ride the Nunley's Carousel (built in 1912)  

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