happy birthday, brother.
this date arrives faithfully year after year. 4/4. as i approach this day, you arrive. you enter my mind and heart space. you walk in at the start of april, blasting through the front door without warning, a phone call in advance to announce "i'm coming" or even a knock. you'd think i'd remember after all these years that it's april and you're coming. perhaps i'm the april (forgetful) fool. your entrance can't be restrained. it's like breath in my body. it's just there. it emerges. makes its way in. you make your way in.
you are a part of me. we are connected. we are sister and brother. in our way. in the way that i see it and in the way that my heart and wisdom understand it.
i remember. your big (literally, you being 10 years older) and playful presence all those years at the beginning of my life. then the sudden and seemingly absolute physical absence and the presence of the absence. now as i sit, i recall some absence, some distance, even when you were present in the beginning.
the last time i saw you was when i was 9; you were turning/had just turned 20. it was spring/nearly spring. it was the day of your maternal grandmother's funeral. it was a rainy day. bella hadn't been born yet. i realize as i write: the last time i saw you was when you were just about/had just turned 20 and the last time i saw bella alive in her physical body was when she was 20 years, 5 months and 6 days old.
for so many years (i.e., 19) what i remembered most about that day was that you didn't (couldn't/wouldn't) look at me and i wanted you to. for so many years it was the day i was rejected, abandoned; it was the day that my hope of being the recipient of something i desperately wanted and needed was taken away. i was little then and i placed my hope (of being the little sister cared for, loved, guided and protected by her biggest brother) on you. i wanted you to feed me, to satisfy my wild, tender, colossal hunger. misplaced, childlike, yes. honest, yes.
three years ago, after some intentional digging, i found a phone number for you on the internet. i called and left a message. i tried again and we spoke. we spoke some more. fragments. awkward. bits. me trying and spinning and trying. then somehow (again, as natural as breath emerging in my body) there was releasing and allowing. the last time we spoke (so brief) was about 7 months before bella's death. you said you would call back; you didn't.
it is okay. somewhere, in a place beyond words, in my heart, i understand. i am not pushing, pulling or pumping anymore. you do not need to be who i wanted you to be. what i grieved all those years was the loss of who i wanted, who i hoped, who i (thought i) needed you to be. all you need to be, though, is you as you are. this is enough. plenty enough.
today i wish for you what you wish for you.
you, brother, are present in my heart.
thinking of you, wherever, however you be.
thank you for your presence.
happy 43rd birthday, c.