When I miss him most…
When I can’t figure out something on my phone. Or my laptop. Or any computer or other electronic device.
When I see a group of teenage boys walking down the street, especially when they are laughing and appear happy with life.
When I see a good-looking blond man. Would he have turned out so handsome?
When I stalk his Instagram account (which I left open partially because I couldn’t figure out how to shut it down and partially because it seems to be therapeutic for his friends to go there and post comments). When I see all the comments from people whose lives he touched, in a positive way. When they talk about how much he made them laugh. When I see comments from his girlfriend, and realize how much she still misses him. Would they still be together, if he was still here?
When we get together with the family. Everybody had an even-numbered core family, two kids each; and we’ve now thrown off the numbers.
When one of the grandparents says, “My six, er, five grandkids.”
When my daughter tells funny stories about her brother. Because that’s how she copes.
When I catch a glimpse of the closed door at the end of the hall. I haven’t stepped foot into his bedroom in so long at this point, I almost can’t remember what it looks like. Almost.
When I think about his birthday, which is in October. How will I feel on that day? What will we do? Will we acknowledge it? Will I go into work? Will I be able to handle it?
When I think about Thanksgiving. What exactly am I supposed to be thankful for this year?
When I think about Christmas. Will we change our traditions this year, in an attempt to make it easier on ourselves? I loved the traditions we had established, but I can’t imagine doing them with our new, smaller family, yet at the same time, I hate to give them up.
When I think about school starting again. My daughter will be in middle school. Thankfully, at a different school, but still, in that world, that horrible time in a person’s life when you don’t feel like a kid or an adult. That time in his life during which my son decided to end his own life.
When I think about my daughter hitting those teen angst years. Let’s face it, there’s only a slim chance she won’t be a moody, grumpy, unhappy teenager, at least for a few years. How the hell am I supposed to go through that without fearing every moment of every day that she will choose the same path her brother did?
When certain songs come on the radio. There’s a list of songs I have always loved, yet now cannot bear to listen to, which I hate, because I love these songs. Every Rose Has It’s Thorn by Poison. Something To Believe In by Poison. (Although to be fair, can anyone listen to that song without crying?) Don’t Close Your Eyes by Kix. Crow and Butterfly by Shinedown. November Rain by Guns and Roses. The Dance by Garth Brooks.
True confession: I’m not sure I’d choose to do this dance again if I knew this would be the outcome. Actually, I’m really quite sure, and the answer is a resounding no. Same goes for loving and losing instead of never loving at all. Give me never loving at all. It hurts far less. Maybe, someday, that attitude will change, but right now, that’s how I feel. I hate it, every minute of every day, this pain, this emptiness, the helplessness I feel when, for a brief moment, I almost forget he’s gone and think I’m about to arrive home and see him again. And then I realize I won’t.
He’s never coming back. He’s never getting older. He’s never graduating, never going to college, never getting married, never giving me grandbabies. Never having a first drink with me. Never sitting around the campfire again, not as a kid or an adult, joking and laughing and teasing with the rest of the family. Never becoming an expert at euchre. Never discovering what he wants to do with the rest of his life. Never growing any taller—would he have hit six feet? Would he have surpassed it?
My daughter’s future kids (the ones she currently claims she doesn’t want) will never meet their Uncle Brady. They may not ever even utter the words, “Uncle Brady.” No kids will call her Aunt Reagan. (Okay, that’s not entirely true. In my family, close friends are aunts and uncles, so she’ll have that, at least.)
When do I miss him most? All the damn time.