Three Years

Dear Tim,

Still can’t believe you’re gone. Still don’t totally understand it. But that’s another letter I don’t feel like writing yet.

You’ve always been my big brother. And, in that role of big brother, you taught me a lot in the time we had together.

But, Tim, I gotta be honest. You’ve taught me more — particularly about myself — in the time since you’ve been gone. See, even though you aren’t here — per se — you are still fulfilling your role as my big brother, and you are, in fact, still teaching me things.

And that’s why I have to apologize to you.

I’m not saying that I’ve totally accepted that you aren’t here, but I’m a lot closer to it now than I ever have been. And what I’m trying to do is focus on positive things related to that. Not positive that you’re gone. But positive that since you’re gone, I’ve had to think of things differently.

I can’t be made at you anymore. That’s the first thing. And, well, probably the most important, for a lot of reasons.

I can’t be mad that you’re not here. I don’t have to like it, but I have to accept it. And, well, Tim, that hasn’t been easy thing for me — just ask anyone who truly knows me.

I’ve let your loss consume me. I’ve let it take over parts of my life I never expected it would impact. I’ve let your death continue to bring me down. Not that it should excite me, mind you. But I should be able to get past certain elements. And I should be looking at what it can teach me.

And that’s what I’ve been trying to do.

I can be sad that you’re gone. And I should be — and, well, I am.

But I can’t be mad about it anymore. That doesn’t help anything — especially me.

I’ve let this bother me so much that it would, at times, consume me. And sometimes people would know that and sometimes they wouldn’t.

It was to the point that this day — the day you died — had to be a negative day. Same with your birthday.

It’s a small step, but I’m starting somewhere. And with each step I’m saying that these ‘anniversary’ days don’t have to be bad days. They aren’t necessarily going to be easy days for me, but my approach to them is different.

In my own way, I’m using these days to find some positive moments. Sounds strange, I know, but I think it’s very doable.

Why, for example, do I have to spend today remembering every instant of when you were in the hospital — including the day, this day, when it was time for you to go?

Why can’t I use this day to remember stories — like the ones we’ve shared time and time again over family dinners? Because doing something like that helps make this day bearable. It gives me a chance to focus on what we had while you were here, rather than on what we don’t have now that you’re gone.

And, well, that’s not really true. You really aren’t gone. You are with us. Constantly. It’s so evident.

I can’t even write how much I’ve struggled with this, Tim. But people know. I know they know because I know how I’ve been at times. There were moments when I’ve been miserable. And the reason? Because I’ve let your death consume me — far beyond where I ever thought it would take me.

But now, I’m taking myself in a different direction. Yes, I’m sad. Very sad for a lot of reasons that you’re gone.

But what should be so easy to say — even though it’s not, but it’s getting there — is that I’m thankful for what we had. For what we shared. I can’t think anymore about how it wasn’t enough. How I wish we were closer than we were. How I wish we could still have the chance to do things.

That kind of thinking doesn’t  help me anymore.

It’s a ridiculous cliche, but we were what we were. We weren’t best friends. We didn’t hang out a lot.

But that’s fine. Can’t change it, so not dwelling on it — or trying not to.

You’ve proven to me that you can impact my life without being here every day.

Fact is, we were brothers.

Fact is, we are brothers.

Fact is, you’re my big brother — and always will be.

Fact is, I miss you today — more than ever.

Fact is, I love you today — more than ever.



4 Comments on “Three Years”

  1. Laney says:

    Incredibly touching and heart wrenching in equal parts.

    Thinking of you today, my friend.

  2. Claudia says:

    The anniversary of my brother’s death was a few weeks ago – the same week as my (first) wedding anniversary. I went through some similar thoughts – that I didn’t need, and didn’t WANT, the day to be so negative by remembering all the bad stuff that happened. The bad stuff is over and I should be thankful that I don’t need to go through it all again. From here on out I’m going to focus on positive memories – i spent his anniversary this year looking through and scanning old family photos – it was a really good thing to do.

    Sending positive thoughts your way…

  3. Ford says:

    Very nice,Mike. Very positive message for all of us – the passage of time can help us to get to a better (and healthier) place mentally. Thanks.

  4. Glenda says:

    Might I suggest another blog site It is written and hosted by Doug Manning, an author and speaker in the areas of grief and elder care and might offer just another thought, another perspective on your journey to finding peace in your memories. Be kind to yourself as you travel.

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