Happy Birthday, Little Brother

May 11, 2009 at 7:25 pm 9 comments

Alex's Tree 2     May 11, 2009May 11, 1986 was the most significant Mother’s Day our parents will ever celebrate. I don’t remember you coming home from the hospital, but I do recall sneaking up to see you in your crib. We fought like wild animals until I went off to college, but unconditional forgiveness followed each of our clashes.

In my absence, we started to grow closer, and I wish we had more time to continue on that meaningful trajectory. Our visit to New York was a blast as you bargained in Chinatown and navigated the subway. People started to ask if we were fraternal twins. I took this as a compliment because everyone I know thinks you’re incredibly handsome. We laugh and sometimes even talk the same. The high-pitched hoot distinguished us in theaters, hallways, and classrooms. I’ve hardly laughed like that, though, since you left. I wish I could, if only just to hear your voice.

Yesterday, I saw the live oak tree planted in your memory. Dad can see it from his office, and there’s plenty of space for its roots and branches to flourish. It will outlive me and my children and my grandchildren, and I like the thought of that. I wish you could have lived to see old age. Maybe I will be fortunate enough to do so.

Your birthday always coincided with my return from college for the summer. When I visited home this weekend, I almost expected you to drive up in your red Civic and talk smack with me. Pluto’s not fat anymore, and we have a brand new toilet upstairs. That’s about all that’s changed since January. Seems strange. It still baffles me that time has the audacity to progress as usual in your absence.

There’s a hole in my heart, but I can’t seem to bleed to death. I feel at once devastated and honored to live the rest of my life in your memory. The dichotomies that often govern our existence are overwhelming. Perhaps, over time, you can help me reconcile the contradictions, loose ends, shades of gray, and injustices within this life.

It’s so difficult to articulate my love for you, and I never had the chance to tell you just how proud I was. Am. I guess that’s because all of those feelings of compassion, fondness, and respect we shared went without saying. I know you knew how much I cared. And for that, above all things, I am endlessly grateful.

Happy Birthday, Alex. The intense sorrow following your death can never compare to the endless joy your life created. Today marks your twenty-third year. And in death, as in life, your gifts continue to arrive.

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Denise  |  May 14, 2009 at 1:15 am

    Lauren,
    I checked your blog on Monday evening, hoping that I would see something about Alex. That was absolutely beautiful. You were lucky to have him as a brother, just as he was lucky to have you as his sister. Thanks for the tribute.
    –Denise

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  • 2. lollygabber  |  May 14, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    And we’re lucky to have you as an aunt :-).

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  • 3. Kathy  |  May 21, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Just thinking about you in the middle of the day. I suppose I am on my “lunch break” – at least that is my excuse for sitting in my office and day dreaming as I am.
    I cannot imagine life without any of my sisters. I am lucky to have three siblings. Just remember you will always be Alex’s sister. His passing does not change the deep bond, relationship and love you have for each other. It’s just different. Not all good nor all bad. Just different now.
    You are a sweet sister. And there is only one person whose birth brought you this identity.
    His existence created a new label for you.
    Lolly – the big sister.
    I love you.

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  • 4. lollygabber  |  May 21, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Aunt Kathy,

    You and I have always had a lot in common. And we’re both big sisters. Such a special distinction carries a certain level of responsibility with it.

    Love always,
    Lolly

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  • 5. Julie  |  August 25, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    you might not remember me from stuckeys house a long time ago, but this is wonderful and touching to read. i had a hard time not crying while at the library. i hope youre doing well.

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    • 6. lollygabber  |  September 8, 2009 at 7:16 am

      That was a fun time. He always brought out the best in people and loved to have a damn good time!

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  • 7. lollygabber  |  May 11, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Reblogged this on The Lollygabber.

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  • 8. jjorta  |  May 13, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    I’m actually sitting here thinking of what to say, but I have so many feelings and things running in my head after reading this. First: it’s beautiful and Second: it really made me think twice about holding grudges before it’s to late. Thank you.

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    • 9. lollygabber  |  August 11, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      You’re welcome, Jerry! Btw . . . I can’t wait to read your next post!!

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