In the last five years since you passed on this day, I’ve occasionally awakened in the morning, feeling bad that it’s been some time since we’ve spoken. “I really need to call Ed to catch up,” I think. And then suddenly reality hits me, and I feel like a total idiot because the realization that you, my big brother, the only person who shares the same blood running through my veins, are dead and have been dead this whole time, grips me, and I sink into a miserable abyss. Sometimes, it is still a shock to me that you’ve been gone all this time even though it clearly doesn’t make sense.
The American playwright Thornton Wilder once wrote, “The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.” That could not be more true. In the last five years since you’ve left this earth, I also consciously wake up to the feeling of gratitude for everything I’ve been fortunate to have had: good health, my loved ones, my experiences — my experiences with you for the 27.5 years we shared on this earth together. I still grieve you, and sometimes I still feel broken that I’ve lost you, but above all, I am grateful for what you taught me, how you selflessly loved me and gave me things, both material and not, that have helped shape me into the person I am today. Because of you, I try to live each day with meaning, with purpose, to prove to you that this life is worth living. I always did love a challenge; I still want to prove you wrong in this case.
I still see you everywhere, and I hear you everywhere. It doesn’t seem to matter where in the world I am. I can still feel you with me, even if the thought is unrealistic or just flat out absurd. When I listen to songs like “Silence” by Marshmello and Khalid, or “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga, I think of you and think you would have liked those songs. When I was in India, I kept thinking about how you’d like certain dishes we were eating, or how you’d grimace at all the wild animals walking amongst us in the streets. When I’m at work chatting with my colleagues and enjoying my time with them, I wish you could have had similar work relationships that I’ve been privileged and lucky to have had. There is an entire world of experiences that I believe you were robbed of. And it hurts me sometimes when I think… why am I so lucky to have these experiences, and you were not? It’s just not right. It’s not fair at all.
I’m sorry that this world could not keep you safe. I am sorry that I could not keep you safe. I am limited in my ability, in my reach, in my grasp of you. I’ll never stop being sorry for the wrong that was done to you. It’s a pain that never seems to stop for me no matter what I do.
I love you. I miss you. I hope to see you in the next world I will call home. And I hope you will be waiting for me.
With love and longing,
your little sister Yvonne