Grieving The Death Of My Brother

Today would have been my brother’s 24th birthday.
But two years ago he was taken from this life.

For the longest time I couldn’t talk about it.
I could barely think about it.

When I did manage to think about it, all I felt was anger.
He was shot in the back. Why kill a man who’s running away?
A kind soul & a hundred mistakes deserves the penalty of death?
What is this so called “justice system” we have?

When the anger wore off, regret settled in.

Regret my relationship with him was not stronger.
Regret I didn’t show him how much I cared.
Regret I didn’t care enough.
Regret I didn’t call more.
Regret I didn’t text more.
Regret I didn’t offer to help.
Regret I barely knew what was going on.

I thought we’d have a lifetime together.
I thought we’d figure out our own lives first.
I thought it would all work out in the end.

I thought wrong. Life doesn’t always have a happy ending.

But he wouldn’t want his death to hold me down.
He would want me to move on and learn from these regrets.
He would want me to carry on as he did, with a smile and a kind heart.

I will call my loved ones.
I will listen to their stories.
I will tell them how much I care.
I will ask them how I can help.
I will text them when I think about them.
I will be there when they need me.

I will always remember Marty.
His kindness, his laugh, his joy.
Forever he lives in my heart.

The lessons death teaches are so cliché. Life is precious. Live life to the fullest. Carpe diem! As corny as they sound, they are nonetheless true. But, understanding a lesson by analyzing it conceptually is completely different than understanding the lesson by experiencing it in real life; feeling the emotion; tasting its effect on your mind. That’s how death teaches its lessons — with emotion. In the flesh, in the heart, in the mind. Words cannot adequately describe it. The lessons are simply felt.

But these lessons are healthy. Thoughts of our mortality provide a certain motivation, a certain perspective. Death sparks a fire inside us that reveals what’s truly important in our lives, and prompts us to properly prioritize — and for this, I am grateful.