|Current mood:|| sad|
Birthday of Billy Jay
Last year, my mom had the idea that we needed a plan to cope with each year's birthday of my brother's. I realize even more now that I've been through one that she was more than right. This day and possibly Christmas are the two most difficult to cope with. So much pain strikes deep on these days, the loss always taunting my emotions multiples rapidly. And so here we are at the second birthday to pass without him. Her plan, to spend the day together doing something enjoyable, finding strength in the unity...and to write him a letter that I shall tuck away for safekeeping.
This is mine this year:
As I sit to contemplate just what to say in this letter, it occurs to me that I don’t have all the words to match my feelings. I can only try to explain with limits of the written word. Of all God’s creatures, we are given a great ability to express a multitude of things, but never can the loss I feel without you be translated into sentences.
Since last I tried this, an entire year has past. You would now be 26 years old. Happy Birthday sweetheart!
Much has happened this past year, there were more hurricanes, our wedding, moving to a new home in Port St. Lucie, new jobs, many, many changes. We are adjusting to each of those changes as we can, but the resilience that once was possessed in our youth is not so adaptable as time passes. I hope that you know that as each new phase of life comes I think of you and still take your thoughts and feelings to heart. I hope you know that not a day, not even an hour goes by that I don’t stop and wonder something about you. I wonder so many times what you’d be thinking at this very moment if you were here, or how you feel about different things now that you have the understanding and knowledge of the grand scheme of things that we on earth will always lack. Somehow, whether you can look upon us or not it feels right to think you do know what goes on and do pay close attention.
You should know that the next step is finding a place for Mom up here closer to where we’ve moved. It seems so odd to have so many miles between us. But we see each other and I so very much enjoy the relationship that has deepened and gained such strength. She has really become my best friend.
Rather than focus on my feelings this time around I think it best to tell you of my imagination. There is a special place under construction within that helps me live without you day to day. This place is magical you see, because you are still with us in this land my silly mind has begun to create. I’ve only recently begun to let myself visit in quick moments when I need to feel close to you. I plan to be careful not to stay too long because it would be much too easy to never return if I let myself get too attached. It is a treat, because it’s not a place that I could easily leave. We have so much fun, you and I and mom and Danny…and yes, even Jimmy can come.
I know your love of fantasy and exploration so I’m taking a chance in thinking you won’t mind and I’d like to tell you more about it:
There are all sorts of geographic terrains there, to fit whatever mood we may be in. There are mountains similar to back home. The sense of familiarity is good for us, even if it’s not exact. They say you can never go back you know, so nothing is identical but close enough for comfort and pleasure in the things we always enjoyed. Clean, sparkling creeks and rivers and above there is fresh, crisp air that sometimes smells of azaleas with just enough breeze to keep us cool as we walk trails or drive the dirt roads exploring everywhere. Here we will always have all the gear we need to set up camp whenever we like.
Another place I think you’d like is the ocean, of course. It is warmer than the Pacific that we are used to, but it’s just as beautiful with the uniquely individual rock formations jutting up along the coast. Here it is in the sound that we find peace. There is such a soothing effect to the rhythmic waves reaching the shore. Each individual wave as well as collectively ongoing into eternity they are sure and steady, strong yet serene. We can sit on a dune, breath in the salty air while the sun lays itself to rest on horizon. The gulls will call while the pelicans do their haphazard drops from the sky for something fishy. Here I picture us having just walked along the sand, all of us together before relaxing to the beautiful art God strokes with brilliant, rare colors in the sky. And somehow I can see you pluck a long blade of grass that just turned golden with the season. Next, I watch as you twirl it in your lips and make a silly face or tell a goofy one-liner to make us all smile and laugh, just as when you were a boy.
There are also shopping centers, but what I think you’ll love about these is they are filled with only the stuff you love to shop for. Guy stuff, kid stuff, outdoor sporting goods, video games, awesome clothes and shoes and hats, so many different hats you never have to wait until your favorite is worn out to get another again. Even better is there are only people there that you want to run into. When you just feel like shopping and not dealing with anyone at all, then everyone just quietly fades until you want them around again. Pretty cool, huh? Although, you can’t resist acting impatient with us to not make you stay in one place too long, just to tease us about all the times you did so before. I can see right through that mischievous little glint in your eyes, and I love sharing with you the secret of no more discomfort. For time means nothing now.
There are miles and miles of road to travel, each taking you any place your mind can think of and so many more yet to be created. All your favorite holidays can be celebrated as many days as you’d like. There’s fishing trips to plan, lazy naps to take on the river’s sandy beaches, picnics to snack on all your favorite foods, there are critters to be spotted under rocks and fallen logs, there are tropical islands with incredible reefs to snorkel and discover the most beautiful sea creatures. There are sidewalk parties, with live bands and food vendors, and any time you like an endless supply of fireworks to let off to your heart’s content. There are rooms built just for you, up in the trees and installed into the log walls are shelves filled with amazing technology. Computers and video games for every whim, and every type of music preloaded into the best stereo system ever created. We can dance, rock out, sing, whistle, and groove to all the genres that your eclectic tastes appreciate.
Most importantly, I can see you anytime, and you are happy. You don’t suffer – there is no pain behind your eyes. All the pressures of life are gone, and you can live as you always wanted to.
Now, we won’t go analyzing all of this as to why I feel the need to create an escape that you are living happily ever after in. Let’s just sum it all up as my vision of what your heaven is all about. And I like the idea of getting to share that with you from time to time. I like being able to imagine what it would be like if you got to decide what paradise is like and it makes me be able to get through all this.
So as your 26th birthday is upon us, we shall spend a really great day, together as family—Danny, Mom, and me. Danny, who takes such good care of me, will probably try and get us to have a yummy drink to make us silly at lunch. I know you believed in him having faith that he would take care of me and Mom, and you were right. He is the best husband. He lets me feel what I need to feel, even the hard stuff that grips me. He puts up with my moodiness and baggage and makes me feel more loved than I ever thought possible. And Mom, you’d be so proud of Mom and all that’s she has done. She has grown so much spiritually and emotionally. She is wonderful and supportive of me. She misses you terribly and always will. However, she perseveres with quiet strength and beautiful hopes and coping tools that I’ll bet even she didn’t know she possessed. She has given me so much of an example of who I want to be now.
We will have a good time, the three of us, while I think of you getting even more lands ready for us to explore with you. We will do the stuff we’ve always done…shop, find a good spot to share lunch together perhaps even doing our best to order some of your favorite foods. We will enjoy each other’s company, and have a great day knowing that we have each other. Each of us understanding without having to say just how we are feeling. And I will stop for a moment here and there and picture you, my sweet little brother, and that face I miss so much. I will see it in every place I go, hear your laughter in every sound.
I miss you Billy, and will always feel an emptiness that only you could fill. Someday, I know we will see each other again, I hope in a place similar to that special Land in my mind. There we can talk, as we used to. You always understood me more than anyone. We can laugh, at jokes that most people won’t totally get. We can be silent, yet always comfortable once again. Until then, I will come see you in that place and keep on seeing what’s around the next bend in the road for the both of us.
All my love,