27

Sunday was the 27th anniversary of my brother's birth.  Next month will mark the 5th anniversary of his death.

I spent about a half hour staring at the screen here yesterday, trying to sort out what to say about it, and the two sentences above is as far as I got.

We marked the day on Sunday with some laughter and some tears (and, for my parents, a terrible awful stomach bug), and it was, in many ways, just another day.  Greg isn't just dead on his birthday; he's dead every day.

We have made an effort, in the last couple of years, to celebrate his birthday instead of squeezing our eyes shut, covering our ears and screaming "LA LA LA LA LA" while we wait for the day to be over.  It is not easy.

Stuffing the thoughts, memories and feelings way, way back in my head is how I survive.  If I want to move forward, I have to push it back, ignore it.  As my mom recently told a friend who asked how she does it, "I choose to live my life." 

Make no mistake: it is a choice.  We choose to spend most of our time and energy moving forward and living, or we choose to spend it dwelling and suffering and grieving. 

Having chosen to live, having chosen to push it all aside and embrace life even without my brother, it is hard to lower that wall and let it out.  To do so is like opening flood gates, breaking down levees, allowing the grief and the threat of  suffering and depression to come in and overwhelm me. 

I experiment with inching that wall down ever so slightly, in order to keep memories present, alive and fresh without bringing down the uncontrollable wave of grief with it, but I'm not very good at it.  And I would say our attempts to celebrate Greg's birthday, to actively remember and celebrate his life, have not been very successful.  It is a step in the right direction, though, however tiny, and we will continue to celebrate his life on his birthday as best we can. 

My mom wondered aloud this morning whether we'll ever get to the point where we can really talk about him. 

I hope we will.

7 comments:

maresi said...

Oh, Amy. I love you and your parents and Greg so much that it hurts. Thanks for letting us have a window into your heart with this post. It's hard to navigate grief, isn't it? *hugs*

Meredith said...

Your honesty, and candor is heart-wrenching. I can't even imagine the pain of losing a sibling. You are an example to me of strength in so many ways. Wish I was there to give you a hug!

Thais said...

Grief is such a strange, odd animal that seems like it can never fully be tamed....wish there was any easier way to deal with it....as always sending love and support and thoughts your way...

Alissa said...

I don't know what it is to feel the grief you feel. I've seen that grief in my mom's eyes my whole life, but I can't imagine living it. I have a feeling that you will - someday - be able to really talk about him.

Empty Arms, Boken Heart said...

Sending you many hugs and love while you gently peel back the layers of your grief. I think it is wonderful that you and your family do what you can to keep Greg's image alive, even through the pain. Only you can decide how and when you are ready to open up a bit more. You are very brave to share your feelings and struggles here. Heart you!

Calliope said...

I am so sorry for your loss. The anniversaries of birth days and days of passing are especially hard. Talking might always be hard. But writing? Writing is something you have a way with...

~Shari said...

Thinking of you during this very difficult time!

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