The funniest moments will flash a wave of grief over my heart like the mighty ocean tossing and turning during a hurricane.
I can be watching television, or driving, or listening to the radio, or simply sitting on my porch and the littlest thing will wash over a feeling of grief I’ve thought had long since been buried.
Just such a moment happened last week while watching American Idol.
One of the Idol hopefuls brought her little brother with her to the audition. And oh how he adored his big sis. The feeling was mutual and lovely and painful for me to watch.
The next thing I know I’m bawling. I’m literally balled up on the couch, in the fetal position, crying my eyes out. We’re talking full on ugly cry. And each time I have an oh-so-raw moment like that I’m taken aback a bit thinking, “How can I still be this sad?”
Each time I mourn my brother I go back to him as a child…I think of him aged 5 or 8 or 10. He was such a sensitive little thing. And very kind and gentle and loving. But fragile… very, very fragile.
I was his protector and friend and confidant. Always there for him and he for me. We loved each other so much. Being homeschooled, and growing up in a very tumultuous environment, probably had a lot to do with our bond.
But I lost him.
I lost him when he became a teenager. I lost him to drugs and alcohol. I lost him to mental illness. I lost him to a large group of people he thought were his friends. I lost him to emotional pain he’d never admit to.
He changed. I’d never know that sweet 10 year old boy that I loved so much. That I still love so much.
I wish I could go back in time and tell that brother goodbye. Oh to be able to hold him in my arms again and let him be weak and dependent on my strength again. And to love him and tell him how much I would miss him.
And to go back and warn him. Warn him of the demons that would come knocking soon. The things that would take him away from us forever. And away from himself. The things that would end up leading him down the path to taking his friend from everyone who loved him.
I lost him as a teenager and now… now I’ve lost him to prison.
He’s slowly being institutionalized and changed into a prisoner. A person I don’t know. A person I don’t like much, if I’m being honest.
He’s so far from that little guy I played with and shared secrets with and laughed with. On occasion I catch a fleeting glimpse of that sweet little boy that needed me for shelter. And truth me told, when I catch that glimpse I think it hurts more than it comforts.
I miss him.
He’s gone. He’s been gone for 20 years. But I’ll never forget the little boy I called my best friend for 10 years. And I’ll never stop mourning him.