I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother and I found all three. Author Unknown
I read the quote above this morning and tears started to flow. I am always in awe of my emotions. Those I believe have healed. Have flowed freely forever more and have dried into gentle spirits rising in joy within me. And then, they flow again. Flow me into that place where sweet memory lies waiting to embrace me in the nectar of its healing grace.
My brother is no longer of this world. He passed away, along with his wife, on this day twelve years ago.
I remember when I got the call. I was driving back from the airport with S.Y. We had been in Toronto for a few days, taking in the shows and sights and sounds of the 'big city'. We'd flown back a day early as the weather had turned cold and miserable and S.Y. had wanted to get home. Driving home from the airport I called my ex-husband to say hello to my daughters who had gone to stay with him while I was away.
"I'm so sorry to hear about George and Ros," he said as soon as he heard my voice.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Has no one contacted you?"
"No. We just got off a flight. We came home a day early." I could feel the fissure of anxiety rising from my stomach into my heart. "What's happened?"
There was a pause. A moment that felt too long. "They had a car accident."
"Oh." I didn't want to ask the next question. I was afraid of the answer. "Are they okay?"
He said it in one breath. Like he didn't want to hold onto the truth any longer and had to get it out and over with and be done with it. "They're dead."
I remember screaming. Throwing the phone onto the floor of the car. I remember saying, "No. No. It can't be."
And it was. It could be because it was true.
My brother was gone. His wife was gone. My two nieces in one moment of fate became orphans.
It was not an easy time. Our father had passed away just the year before and there had been much dissent amongst the siblings as to how to best support our mother.
It was not an easy time.
Time doesn't heal wounds.
All time does is give us as long as we need to move through the grieving, the sorrow, the regrets and anger so that we can come to that place where all we have left to hold onto is Love.
I remember telling my nieces at their parents' funeral, "You parents wouldn't have wanted you to be left with this anger. They would only have wanted you to be embraced in love."
How naive and blind of me.
They could not hear me. Immersed in the sorrow and pain of their enormous loss, love had no place to rest easily until they moved with time through their anger and regret and confusion and loss.
And yet, it is Love that has supported them and carried them throughout these twelve years. It is Love that has surrounded them through this time as they have come to grips with a new world reality they had not been prepared to meet. A reality they could never have been prepared to embrace.
I don't have much contact with my nieces since that day twelve years ago. Anger. Pain. Fear. Uncertainty have all played a role in keeping us apart.
For me, my own journey separated me from reaching out. It was that same year, 1998 that I met Conrad, the man who promised to love me 'til death do us part and was working hard on making our parting a reality when he was arrested almost five years later.
Today, I miss my brother. Not in spite of his flaws, but rather, because of them. He was four years older than me and as a child, he was my hero. The only son in a house where at times, I believed the sun rose and set on the son. He was dark and handsome. Funny. Articulate. Clever. He loved to laugh. To make people feel good. To make them feel invited into his world -- a world of sunshine and dark clouds storming all in one.
My brother loved music. His favourite game was to play a few notes of a tune and ask, "Who is that?"
I never won that game. I don't know if it's because the notes he played were too short, or if I just wasn't attuned to connecting the dots so quickly. I never won that game but he sure had fun playing it with me.
There was so much lost time with my brother and me. As adults, I feared his drinking. Feared what happened to him and where he went when he consumed the stuff that gave his temper reign. That gave cruel words and harsh eruptions room to spread between us.
I didn't know how to deal with my pain in our relationship and so, avoided dealing with it all together.
I never found the words to tell my brother how much I loved him. How much I wanted to have a relationship with him where I didn't fear his words. I never got to tell him I was sorry for having hurt him. For having walked away when he needed me most.
My brother felt my judgements of his life. I carried my silent retreat close to my heart, fanning the flames of bitterness and regret.
We were like that back then. We never spoke of what lay heavy in our hearts. We never spoke with honesty about our disagreements. I never told him how worried I was about his drinking. Never told him how much I loved him and missed him. I never told him how I feared one day his drinking would take him from me forever.
And then forever came and I was unprepared.
I miss my brother today.
I love my brother today.
Today I am prepared to say, I love you George. There is nothing you ever did that could stop me loving you. You are my brother. A part of me. A part of my heart forever more. We are connected through eternity. And though we never had the time on this earthly plain to speak of Love, through loving you I have found the grace of forgiveness. Through loving you I have found my path back home to my heart.
Be of gentle spirit, bro. Be well in God's embrace.