Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5th

March 5th is a day of remembrance for me.
It used to be a day of profound sadness and tears, but now after more than two decades, it's a day when I let my mind drift back to childhood and a great man who was a part of it.

On March 5, 1989 I received the worst news I'd ever heard in my eleven years of life.

My brother Tony was dead.
Dead.
Gone.

The enormity of death is something that no eleven year-old is prepared to deal with.  It was like a sucker punch to the gut... surprising, painful, unbelievable, and it took my breath away.  I'd never really known death before, and facing this reality was like sleepwalking... I felt like I was moving through a bad dream, waiting to wake up.

The heartbreak was unbearable.

Tony was 18 years older than me, and he was a great big brother.  He was fun, he took me places all the time, and he was so loving and loyal.  He lived with us at Mom's at the time of his death, and he would take me and my brother skating every single week, take us to see the Christmas lights, play games with us and hang out with us.  Some of my best memories are of him coming home from work late at night and waking me up to come play Mario Brothers with him in living room.

He loved me, and I loved him.  He was my best friend.

I went to Girl Scout camp on Friday night.  He teased me saying that he was going to embarrass me in front of my friends, but wouldn't tell me what he was up to.  Just before I left, I found a mushy note tucked into my sleeping bag... I took it out and tossed it on top of the TV and yelled at him.

Sunday afternoon he was gone.
I am so glad I have that note.  It's one of my most prized possessions.

I grieve for myself... for the loss of my big brother.  But I also grieve for him... for the things he never got to do/see, and the dreams that death robbed him of.  He was only 30 years old when he was killed in a freak accident... he never saw it coming, and neither did anyone else.

He didn't get to see his baby grow up.
He didn't get to graduate from college like he wanted.
He didn't get to go to England with my Mom.
He never got to quit working at that stinking mill... he wanted to so much, and it kills me that that's where he died.

When I look back today, I know one thing:  I have no business being ungrateful or disappointed in life.  I am 34 years old... I have already outlived my big brother by 4 years.  I have been able to do things and see things he never had the chance to experience.  I am blessed to be here.  There are no guarantees in life.

I love you, Tony, and miss you so much.
I hope you can see me from heaven... I hope you can see all of us, that death hasn't robbed you of knowing that you are loved, and thought of.

2 comments:

  1. I came across your blog on last week's Finding the Funny at My Life and Kids and started following your blog. I don't normally comment on blogs (I'm more of a "stalker" largely because my brain isn't awake enough in the morning to form a coherent thought). I feel totally awkward commenting on this post but wanted you to know there is someone else out there who gets it.

    What a touching post, you are so brave for sharing. I lost my brother (younger by a year) almost 4 years ago. It is sad to think of all the things he hasn't been "here" to see but I know he sees them. We are so blessed to be here and simply to have had them in our lives and for the memories of times we shared. Hugs to you on this very difficult day.

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    Replies
    1. Please don't feel awkward! Thank you for your sweet comment... it's always good to know someone understands.

      I am so sorry for your loss. :(

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