Sometimes I want to remember, Sometimes I want to forget

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Today marks the 20th anniversary of the loss of my brother Richard, or part of Richard.  He was in a horrible accident and lived for 8 years following….. but I want to forget that.

I have been unusually lethargic lately.  I pondered today what my reasoning could be…and then my eye caught the calendar and I knew.  My husband and I have been in family and couples therapy and I believe that bringing up my brother briefly last week…he stayed on the surface…..

Grieving is odd.

Sometimes you feel fine, for a long time….sometimes NOT.  Richard’s accident took him on August 9th, 1991…an overcast but warm summer day.  Eight years later Richard passed on August 25th, 1999.  For years the approach of August provoked a feeling of dread… I just didn’t want to face it.  If we could skip August, I would….  Recently though, I’ve been able to enjoy August and not associate such negativity towards it, that’s why I was so surprised that my mood took such a tumble this year.  Maybe I just need to remember, for a little while, so I can forget for a longer while.

I adored my brother.  I fell in love with him minutes after he was born.  Really, I fell in love.  He annoyed me sometimes (brothers!) and he was eccentric, and I adored it ALL.  He was silly and serious and very affectionate if he felt close to you (if he didn’t feel close to you, you didn’t exist!!)

Following his accident I wrote a poem.  Forgive me if it’s juvenile.  I was a juvenile.

Richard
He had a funny gait.   kind of saunter with an extra kick.
He hardly ever smiled, but when he did he meant it and it came from the bottom of his soul and emerged in a large toothy grin.
His eyes were of a serious grey.
He had years of serious contemplation in them, with questions ever on the verge of being asked, and answers ready to be given.
He had a bit of a stoop, like he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he never once seemed to regret it.
He had a lisp, just a little one that emerged when he became excited and spoke too fast.

Now he can not walk, so his funny little gait is hidden.
He can only smile with his eyes.
He can not stand, but now lays flat, indeed feeling the weight of the world.
And his lisp, his cute little lisp, is now hidden with slurred babbling.

Some would say it is a pity that a child as rare as he should be hidden from sight.
But he is not truly hidden, he is simply watching and waiting for the day when he once again will get up and walk, this time freed from the weights of the world, when he will get up and dance and sing and smile 
emerging as a new, more vigorous child .

I miss you Richard
(If you want, click on “I miss you Richard” and you can see the book I made for my mother about him…)

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4 responses »

  1. I honestly didn't realize it had been 20 years until you mentioned it! That sounds like such a long time…I still think your poem is beautiful, even after reading it all these years. Sometimes my memories of him as a boy are like shadows, but when I read it I can see him a bit clearer.And I think you're right–sometimes we just need to remember. Not necessarily to forget, but just to remember.Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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