|Me, Annabella and Gabriel on Thanksgiving morning 2012
It was a year ago, this Thanksgiving, that we found him, my younger brother, just 30 years old, dead in the hallway of his house. It was a year ago that we didn’t have Thanksgiving dinner, that we didn’t watch the Lions game on TV, that my mother had to do the unthinkable.
And I can only remember the day in picture snapshots, shutter shock, quick light spots. But when I write it, the outlines become less blurry. So I write it. And it makes it better.
For me, anyway.
For you, it might just make you sad.
My youngest brother calling me, his calm poised words, how can he be so old and so young: Nicky, you should go into another room, away from the kids, Nicky, we found Christopher. He’s. He’s dead. Overdose, over. Over.
Click. I am punched in the gut. I am watching myself screaming. Who is screaming? Why can’t I stop screaming?
Click. Driving frenetically. And then driving slow.
Click. Police in the driveway.
. We wait for the Medical examiner. And sitting in the driveway, my littlest brother and I, we listen to football on the car radio. There’s nothing to say. Nowhere to go. And the Police car is blocking the way anyway.
|My brothers and I in the late 90’s
Click. Where are you? Why did you? Why. Why.
Click. Click. We are lost in the film.
|My brothers and I in 1992
Click. The rest of the street is carving turkeys and eating mashed potatoes.
While we wait for the coroner and piece together leftover memories.
Feeding on the cold discarded could-have, should-have’s that surround The Shocked and The Empty.
The Lonely, The Unfed.
|My brothers and I in 2008
More Snapshots. My brother and my son were born on the same day, twenty-six years apart. Is there something fateful in this? I don’t know enough about the universe yet to tell you. Will I ever know enough about the universe to tell you? I don’t know, really.
And tomorrow is their birthday. My son, my little Gabriel will be five years old. My brother, my little brother, will be somewhere else. Far away. Two boys with the same cornflower blue eyes that won’t ever be in the same place again with me.
So while I hold my boy tight tomorrow, we will count all the fingers on his sticky little hand, one for every year he has made me smile, weep, learn, laugh, grow.
I will take a picture of his small face, to keep it with me.
To pull it out again, when he is old and I am older. I will celebrate five years of loving him and I will be grateful.
But I will also be searching the beyondness for someone that might be lingering there. (Are you lingering there? I miss you something fierce, you know.)
Click. And in the eye of my mind, I will see another boy, another picture. Another pair of cornflower blue eyes.
Two pictures, Click.
Two pairs of the same eyes, snug in the corridor of my mind. Two boys born on the same day, my first friend and youngest son.
And so tomorrow, wherever they each are, I will wish them both Happy Birthday.
I am a sister. A mother.
It’s what I do.
And on Thanksgiving, I will still be thankful.
For the pictures that I have taken that can never be taken away.
And all the ones still left to come.