To My Brother on His 28th Birthday

It’s January 15th. Which means…

That Mom died 2 years ago today. On your 26th birthday.

And at 5am, you, who never posts on Facebook made an announcement that your Mom died, because you didn’t want anyone to say Happy Birthday to you on that day.

And I still can’t say Happy Birthday to you. Because I know you won’t be happy again on January 15th for awhile. I know that losing your Mother before you’ve learned everything that you can learn from her, before she meets the love of your life, before you have kids and before she sees you become a doctor totally sucks.

I have two haunting memories of your sadness, the first one was when we were in Mexico. You were nine I think and you had lost some of your Pesos at a bus stop. You sat on the bus next to Dad. I could tell that you were trying really hard not to cry. You hated to cry. And it broke my heart. I watched you hold all of your little boy grief in and it pained me.

The next time was the morning that Mom died. I have it etched in my chest and I feel sick when I remember it. “Mom passed away…” you told me. And you held it in, like you always do. You were tough. It was your birthday. You were turning 26. You found out that you passed your boards two days before. You were about to graduate. It should have been the most exciting time of your life. She should have been there jumping up and down and crying and squealing for you. She would have bought you tons of presents. She would have called you a jerk because you didn’t call enough. She would have made fun of you for I don’t even know why but a myriad of reasons. Probably your hair or your gross feet. She would have drank a whole bottle of cheap chardonnay and stayed up too late giggling with me. She would have been ecstatic.

But instead she was in a hospital bed dying of the big C. The stupid C that stole her away from us.

I wish I could bring her back for me and I wish I could bring her back for Dad, but mostly I wish I could bring her back for you. You didn’t have her long enough. Dad and I got 32 years with her. She at least saw me married and knew my husband and my first baby. I hate that you won’t have that.

But brother you have me. I’m not as good as her. I won’t be and I can’t be. I’m just not her. No one has her vitality and her generosity and her sense of humor. And, still, even if I did, I’m still not Mom.

Losing your Mom sucks.

I think one day you will come to peace with it. The process has recently begun for me—- on certain days. On other days I avoid it.

One day we will feel better.

One day you will get married and I will be your best man, just like you were my Maid of Honor when I got married.

One day you will have kids and I will spoil them the way Mom would have.

One day you will be feeling totally crappy and totally alone and sad and feeling like you have no one in the world, and then you’ll look up and you will see Mom sitting there. She’s with you. That I know.

So today, on your 28th birthday I want to tell you that I love you and I want to tell you that it’s okay to cry.

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