Today would have been your 23rd birthday. It was really hard to figure that out. The numbers seem so unreliable.
Perhaps you would have taken the day off of work today. I can’t really imagine where you would be living now. My powers of imagination regarding you are battered and raw, probably since I have to push so hard to get you to appear at all in any detail in my mind. Dreams don’t count, especially since you never show up your whole self. When I conjure you up for people who never knew you, I don’t think I do a very good job. Sorry. You have been gone so long.
I often ask myself what you would think about the things that have happened with me (and Mom & Dad) since you died. Truthfully, I can’t imagine. I think you would still be an amazing brother and we would be very close, but I bet there would be a lot of things we didn’t talk about. Even so, would you still be my soul twin, the lighter half to my dark? Or would I have had to save your life like you did mine? I think you would have shared any darkness with me even though we rarely talked about the way we felt. We just cried (well I did), and fought and hugged so tight. Our hands were always all over each other when we were together. When we walked around Philly, even when you were a teenager, we held hands when we felt like it. Sometimes you were holding me up. Did you know? Did it matter?
There were so many things I wanted to tell you and to ask you. Now there are even more. They pile up as each week goes on. I can imagine being crushed under the weight of not knowing so much. I can’t think about it too hard or I lose myself. I can’t think about you too hard, even when I want to. I hate that. I will always hate it.
Each day I leave you further behind. Thoughts of you are painful and I need to move beyond that pain to new pain, or (ha ha) no pain. That’s just the way it is baby boy. I am a grown up now, I can’t start crying every time I see children playing together, maybe sisters and brothers. In order to enjoy fine B cinema in all its glory, I can’t be flinching, stomach lurching, every time a car crashes during a chase scene. I can’t not do things I need to do, meet people I need to meet or fully love those I love, just because I am afraid of losing more. I hate that the world has no space for grief, that life has made me lose you in moments, but I hate more that you did this to me, even though it was by accident. I want to yell at you so bad!
As I keep saying to people who ask, and even more who don’t: it doesn’t get better, it just gets different.