About a year ago, for the very first time, my brother did not acknowledge my birthday. Ed was always very loving and generous, the kind of person who gave too much to people who didn’t always care for him as much. So it was surprising when my 27th birthday passed, and he didn’t even give me a call to wish me a happy birthday. It’s not so much the gift that I really cared about; it’s the fact that he didn’t even reach out to me that day.
So on the 18th of January last year, I called him and asked him why he didn’t call me the day before. He sounded sheepish and said that he knew it was my birthday, but since he wasn’t making much money anymore, he didn’t send a gift. I told him I didn’t ask him about why there was no gift; I was asking why he didn’t call me. I guess that should have been the first sign to me that something was seriously not right with him at that point. I just didn’t think about it that deeply then.
Now, he’s never going to wish me a happy birthday in any way ever again. It’s not even when holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas pass, or even his date of birth or date of passing; even on days like my birthday, I will think of him and feel a little guilty that the last birthday of mine that he was around to see, I gave him a hard time. I think about all the pointless “what ifs” regarding things I may have been able to do to have helped him more and how I failed. I think about his 34th birthday that I was trying to plan that never happened, and how he won’t be here for my 28th, 38th, or 78th birthday.
I wonder if he is in heaven looking down, wondering what kind of birthday cake I am going to eat tomorrow. He probably wants a piece of it if it’s chocolate or mocha. Maybe he actually is wishing me a happy birthday in his own way now. I guess I will never really know for sure, but I do miss him.