Tuesday, June 29, 2010

birth and death and remembrance

A year ago I posted about my brother David's birthday from Tony & Ali's rural working retreat in the Scottish Highlands. Has it been a year since I was with them? Has it been 43 years since my little brother David was buried on what would have been his 9th birthday? Some well-meaning people have quipped about the number 9 representing "completion." Regardless, I spent my childhood wrapped up in my own confused miseries and never got to know this little guy who I miss so very much today. Here are some photos from then: Click HERE (same link).

I have this sense that we'd be buddies now in middle age. Modern medicine may have chortled at his congenital heart defect, with 21st Century wizardry able to give him the physical hardiness he never had as a child. Was it only 50 years ago that things seemed so draconian? Falling off of a grownup's bike and hitting his head wasn't okay in 1967. I'm heartsick he died.

So where was I those nearly nine years of his life? I turned eleven a month after his death. I have many blank spots where memories of my childhood should live. I remember being unable to be close to him.... did my not-quite-together mother fear her toddler daughter would hurt this fragile newborn? I can't ask her that now. There is a vague memory of a twisted push-pull where I could neither get close to him nor have the forced distance acknowledged as something not of my own making. These were not healthy times.

For the most part we grew up in a split-level apartment. Little David and I shared a bedroom. I can't recall a single conversation. But I have a "feeling tone" memory of him in the same room, and if I made up a story about it, this feeling recalls my brother as an ally. Perhaps that finds me musing that we would be buddies today. Friends.

He is my friend in spirit. I pray for him, my Dad and my mother every day. Sometimes I imagine him grinning at me.

Well, brother David - I'm still kicking around. Let's see what God and I can do with that one. You keep dancing with Him on the Other Side. I miss you and I love you.

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