I have been so very blessed...........blessed with a brother who is a best friend. Mom pounded that into our heads from the time when we were very young, your brother/sister will always be there, will be your best friend, treat them with kindness. There was much eyerolling and laughter and giggling at just about everything mom said but that remained true. He is a best friend.
He's the friend that when you get together you tell the same stories over and over and still laugh just as hard as the first time. He's the friend that you can go weeks without talking to and then all of a sudden get a call and feel that pull to be together again - you find yourself wishing that you just lived next door to each other so that the conversation would never end and you could just stop over every day. He's the friend that makes you feel more interesting, more beautiful, more alive just by being around him. He's the friend that one word, one look will take you back to a simpler time, an easier time when the biggest problem you had was worrying about what to wear to school the next day or what game to play with the girls next door.
Now......well, we have more to worry about. We have reasons for the laughter to stop for a moment, reasons for life to stop and our hearts to stop for just a moment in hopes that they don't shatter completely. It used to be so much easier to fight my brother's battles for him - I remember kicks to the shin, words spewed in anger at kids that wanted to hurt my brother, wanted to knock him down from the pedestal that they created for him. I was ready to take on anyone, anything that would hurt him. But I don't know how to fight this battle for him now, I don't know how to take on the life that was given to him. I don't know how to make the world right when it just isn't and won't ever be truly right again. I don't know how to heal his hurting heart.
It's hard to love.
It's hard to love a hurting brother. It's hard to love a child you aren't able to hold. It's hard to love a life that has an empty space within it. How to fill that space? Can you fill that space? Or is it a special place, carved out for a love that defies definition, that transcends the normal parent/child relationship? What if there is no answer? What if the love is found in the hurting, the pain? What if that piercing pain is evidence of a piercing love?
Oh, Matt.......how I love you. How I love your daughter. How I love that beautiful wife of yours that gave you such a daughter.
I wish she were here.
I wish that you didn't know the pain of a Father who lost a child.
I love you. I never fought any battles for you, really. You were the stronger one, always. I was the angry, blustery one. You were the one who showed true strength. I know that this is true for today too.
Don't try to fill that space but reserve it for an extraordinary love, a first love for a first child. There is a space in my heart too, Matt, one reserved for a first niece, a extension of my extraordinary brother. Taking the next step, living your life past the day of her birth is not forgetting but, rather, celebrating the love and life that created Adalyn Joy.
Joy, Joy, Joy...........remember and take cue from your child..........Joy, Joy, Joy
I love you.
Love you so much.