Last Thursday was the sixteenth anniversary of my brother’s death. He was killed by a van while crossing the road to the bus stop. He was 13 and completely and utterly full of life. And then he died. Sixteen years is a long, long time (big cub can hardly compute any length of time longer than four sleeps), but I am not sure if the sadness that I hold now is really any less than it was one or two years after my brother was killed. It is slightly more faded, more weary and I hold it a bit more comfortably than I did, but is still so heavy and painful. This year for some reason Michael’s anniversary seems much harder than anniversaries gone before. I can’t quite work out why it has affected me so much this year (I think the awful events in Japan or my addictive watching of The Killing may have triggered more memories than normal), but this has been the first year I have really felt that his anniversary is significant. It wasn’t just another day but a time when, thanks to my lovely family and friends, I could talk about what I missed and how I felt about his death, without feeling too guilty, or being too self indulgent or maudlin.
The definition of grief in the Oxford Dictionay is intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death but after sixteen years the sorrow I feel is less intense, and this in itself is something that makes me feel sad. As my memories of my brother get fuzzy and worn and the sadness that was so raw becomes easier, I do welcome days like his anniversary, his birthday or Christmas because then I can feel that intense sorrow, and feel less guilty that time has continued and he is not here. There are times when it is important to stop, to remember and to feel that loss, even if those emotions are not easy or happy ones.
On a slightly less morbid note having the cubs (especially the elder one) does bring back so many happy memories that I am incredibly glad I have. Memories that made my childhood, and experiences that made me, me. Talking to my Mum last Thursday she said we were so lucky to have had him in our lives, and that is the main thing that I remember now. What a brill and wonderful little brother I had and how much he gave me. So in memory of my little brother here is a link to a beautiful song by one of his (and mine!) favourite bands http://is.gd/qXk1C1