Happy Birthday, Baby Brother

I still remember the day it hit me.

Oddly enough, we were coming by the house to pick out your funeral clothes…and to pick up more stuff for us to wear. Mom couldn’t stand to be in the apartment anymore. Too much hurt, maybe. Or just too many memories. Either way, it was the second time we came back home after getting the news you wouldn’t be coming home with us.

I threw open the door and called out….”Hey, Jonathan!”

I forgot. For one moment, between the car and front door, I really forgot. Until the moment I called out your name. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. You were gone.  I cried….harder than I ever had before. Tears of the heartbroken.

You may have been four years younger, but you were one of my best friends. It was habit. To tell you about my day. To laugh with you. To find out about yours…and I knew you’d be excited to be staying at Auntie Marta’s for a while….except you wouldn’t be there with us. Not ever again.

Just so you know, it’s been 26 years since I last saw you…and I still remember you. Still celebrate your laughter. Still miss your smile. And I try to live each day in a way that brings honor to your memory.

And I’m not alone in my grief. So many others are doing the same thing around the world…because someone desecrated your birthday. I’m glad you weren’t here to see that. It would’ve broken your heart. But you would’ve been proud…of how people rallied to be there for one another. To give comfort. And hope.

So today, I’ll smile through the tears….I’ll be the best me that I can be. Because I know deep down, it’s the best way to honor your memory.

I love you.