1. (of a thing) Not able to be found because it is not in its expected place.
2. Not present or included when expected or supposed to be.
lost - absent - wanting - lacking - gone
Missing is hard.
That's one thing Miriam Webster forgot to include in the definition, which I suppose has something to do with the fact that when your keys are lost, or your cellphone, or the remote control, it's no big thing, an annoying inconvenience, sure, but life goes on. You tug at your hair a bit, sigh loudly in exasperation, maybe swear under (or over) your breath, toss things willy-nilly around your house like a frenzied tornado during the frantic hunt, and eventually you find what you need and carry on with your life none for the worse.
With people, it's much different.
With my brother, it's vastly different. If you read a post written long ago, before William Christopher (my son/sun, moon, and all the stars in my sky) was born, then you know a little about him, my brother Christopher. You know a drop of water in the ocean. My brother is not in his expected place, he's not present where he is supposed to be.
He is missing.
Most times I'm a glass half-full kind of girl and some people may at times be annoyed by my optimism. No, I am not naive and no, my life hasn't been all sunshine and daisies. This post may come off a bit raw and rough edged, that's how it is when you are really honest with yourself. I guess I am finally ready to talk about him, think about him, and be angry about the unfairness of it all. My brother, whom I have always proudly called "Bro" , lived more life in his 34 years than most people do in 76.2 years. Why 76.2 years, you ask? That's the average male lifespan in the U.S. (according to an article I googled). That statistic brings great anguish. In a black and white, wrong and right world, clearly it's wrong that I was robbed of roughly 42.2 +/- years with my brother, there's something undeniably cruel about that.
There have been a few triggers that spurred these thoughts and led me to write about my brother because writing brings healing sometimes, and at the very least it's a cathartic experience.
Lately, whenever Will wakes from naps during the day, the light filters through his shades and he gazes directly at this. It's a picture of my brother, happy, very much alive, and goofing with his dog Buddy.
It gives me chills every time to see Will get so excited over a photograph, but also makes my heart smile and I can't help but go inside the happiness mingled with sorrow. Chubby little sausage fingers reach out and he wiggle bounces in my arms, lurching forward to touch the picture, squealing in excitement. This happens every day, which is a gift.
Somewhere inside the bottom drops out a little, letting some of the sorrow in, but only a little. When I think about it too much, feel it too much, it becomes an abyss and I worry I'll never find my way back out again. So, just a little, bit by bit, and maybe someday this missing will get easier, maybe the heart will heal.
My brother died.
There. Said it.
Somewhere in my soul, this acknowledgement feels as though boulders came tumbling, careening off a cliff picking up speed and crashing down. It's something my family doesn't discuss. Worse yet, the circumstances surrounding how he died are changed, adjusted, altered to fit the social situation when telling people how we came to be a family missing a member. Missing an older brother, missing a son, missing a grandson-nephew-cousin, missing...
Part of the reason it hurts so much for me, and for others, is directly related to the fact that I can't shake the image of my brother, my big brother turned super-hero through my eyes, dying in a hotel parking lot in the early morning hours of a lonely Thanksgiving morning, thousands of miles away from his family. I am not ready to talk about the hows and whys, but 6 years, 3 months, and 24 days ago... the phone rang and my life was forever changed. No amount of staring at the wall during the longest night of my life changed anything. Closing my eyes, conjuring up ghosts in our history, I can still recall the cheap wood paneling of my college apartment, how I tried to find meaning in that ugly wall for hours, like cloud creatures in the summer, but nothing emerged. Nothing but missing.
All of this time later, it's still all too tragic, too far from my reality and yet it's real, it happened, and that's never going to change. Grief is such a strange bird, flying in on ominous wings out of the clear blue sky and hovering, just out of sight, ready to swoop in and knock you down just when you get too comfortable & forget to scan the sky. It leaves behind nothing but the burden of missing. No amount of Hallmark coated well-wishing changes that. I don't want to hear "everything happens for a reason". Things happen. I don't want to hear, "At least you had wonderful memories while he was alive."
You know what I want to hear?
I want to hear my brother's voice, dancing with mischief, spilling from a sideways smirk saying "Hey kid, let's take a drive." In the movie of my life, I want to rewind and play over, and over again the sound of him cheering at my ice hockey games, hear his laughter, hear his serious voice when we talked about God, his girlfriends, my boyfriends, and life.
I don't want missing.
But for now, missing is here to stay. For now, I will watch my little boy, my wonderfully curious and charming William Christopher, grow and explore, and find joy in the image of his Uncle Chris, an uncle he will come to know not through playing catch, or jokes, or rides in an old pick up on a dirt road... but instead through my stories, my memories, old photographs. We will say "Hi Uncle Chris" to a photograph after nap times.