Every new year that begins leads to my birthday in just a couple short weeks, and as the week approaches, I always think of Ed since he passed. I remember how he so generously gave me all these gifts every year, how he always made sure to wish me a happy birthday even when I wasn’t home… except that last year when he died. He was too depressed to call me, too gone from his mind. And I knew something was definitely wrong that year, more wrong than ever before.
And that was it. He’s been gone from my life for 4.5 years now. Four and a half years just flew by, and somehow, I got here. The age of 32. One year away from the age when he jumped off that bridge. It’s like I have aged, yet he hasn’t. He just doesn’t age anymore.
I wonder if he’s still out there somewhere, watching over me as my birthday descends. I wonder if he thinks about the gifts he could have given me, or the cards he would have gotten me that had corny messages. I wonder if he wonders if our dad will actually call me instead of sending me a pathetic e-mail wishing me happy birthday in a single line. I wonder if he thinks that one day, my dad will finally treat us both equally and just not acknowledge my birthday.
I wonder what he thinks of how our parents’ lives have progressed since his death. He probably sees them flailing and thinks, “well, what a surprise.” They have no material reason to worry: they are both retired, they collect Social Security payments and pension checks, they both have a healthy amount of savings that could allow them a comfortable lifestyle if they chose. But they don’t choose that. They rather wallow every day and stress out over things that don’t matter, pick fights in their heads with random and innocent and well-meaning people. If anything, my parents have mentally gotten worse since my brother’s passing. The level of paranoia and distrust has increased. It’s only getting worse by the day. I wonder what Ed thinks of all of it. Does he have some smug self-satisfaction that his parents will never be happy or satisfied with anything? Does he feel sorry that I still have to deal with all this and try to rationalize irrationality? He’s more likely to feel sorry for them. That’s just the kind of person Ed is.
It’s the same feeling every year around this time. I just wish he could be here and healthy. I wish he had someone to love him the way Chris loves me. Maybe he’d still be here if he did.