To my precious brother Brendon,
Tomorrow is your 24th birthday. I wanted to be the first to wish you a happy birthday so I’m writing this a day early. 😉
Its hard to believe it’s been 6 years since we were last able to celebrate a birthday with you. Whoever said death gets easier over time was wrong. I know your celebration in heaven is much more spectacular than anything we could do here, but that doesn’t mean our hearts don’t ache that we no longer get that chance.
I miss you every day. It splits me wide open. I miss your sweet spirit and your smiling eyes. I miss your sense of humor and our inside jokes. I miss the sounds coming from your room and coming in to scratch your head. I miss the fullness of the house when you were in it. I miss holding your hands and watching movies with you. I miss the noises you used to make to let us know what you were feeling. I miss your precious face and your angelic body. Most of all I miss your spirit. I miss you.
When I think about your life, I think of joy. You weren’t always happy, but you always had joy. Even when SMA took your ability to smile outwardly, your eyes always glistened and we knew your inner joy. I know you were tired, but somehow you maintained a contagious positive energy. It was impossible to stay down around you.
I used to envy the fact that you got to lay in bed all day and watch movies. How foolish that was. I didn’t understand the reality of your disease and what it meant for your life. We used to blame you for things that we did but didn’t want to get in trouble for. Lots of things got blamed on you and Casper…missing socks, dirty rooms, broken toys. Sorry about that! You handled it well though! ☺
I still smile when I think about you cheating at connect four or telling Ms. Gieselman to “shut up please.” I laugh when I remember you blatantly using your eyes to tell a nurse or teacher to get out of your room. I light up when I think of how bright your eyes got when any of us walked into your room, especially mom. You are a sensitive soul like me and it still gives me chills thinking of how you’d cry when we got in trouble, and tears ran down your cheeks every time we watched Homeward Bound.
You’re so smart. Brilliant even. It saddens me to think of the many people who didn’t understand you and who missed the beauty of your heart being distracted by your tubing. It breaks my heart knowing how many people overlooked your radiant soul because they were too confused by your machines. It angers me when I think of the people who wrote you off as a vacant body simply because of your lack of words or because you never threw a ball. It frustrates me that people missed conversations with you because rather than looking into your eyes they focused on everything else they couldn’t comprehend. You are so much more than many people saw. I know you knew that, and you maintained pride and dignity at all times. You’re like a rare gem that to the untrained eye could’ve been mistaken for an interesting rock; but to the ones who knew you, you shined. You beamed from the inside out and radiated grace, changing lives with each captivating sparkle.
I’m sorry you suffered so much. No one deserves that kind of suffering, but especially not you. You taught me so much about life, and you never even used your legs. You showed us what it means to have a happy heart in spite of the circumstance. To persevere. To be grateful. To fight. To keep living.
I visited your grave site today, as you know. I always go knowing you’re not there and it’s just a physical reminder of your spiritual body. Yet I never expect for it to hurt as much as it does. The second I started walking toward your stone, my heart dropped and the tears flooded my eyes. I felt your presence surround me, as I often do, and all I wanted to do was hug you. That February day 5 years ago seems like it was yesterday. Every detail haunts me and leaves me breathless. There are so many things I wish I could’ve said to you before God called you home, but we talk often, so you already know. Our family has changed since your time on earth ended, and each of us has a Brendon shaped hole in our hearts.
Selfishly, I want you here. But the truth is Bren, you don’t belong here. You were too good for this life; you were created for heaven. That truth doesn’t change the fact that I miss you. We all miss you. We don’t talk about it much because it’s too painful, and you know how we are… especially mom. She’s allergic to tears. ☺ Don’t tell her I said that, but she knows it’s true. Evan is the same way.
Oh we cry them though. The tears may fall in the quiet of the night or the secret of our souls. We feel the depth of the sorrow everyday. It never goes away. There is a piece of us that will always be missing until we join you in heaven. I know you see our tears and sometimes I feel you catch them. You’re here surrounding us all the time, watching over us from up above. We say you’re a butterfly sometimes and I find you often while I’m outside playing with the boys. Once, I even found you in spilled milk! That was in the beginning of this journey I’m on now and I knew you were here, helping God guide me. Thank you for that!
I feel you in the stillness. I smell you when I walk past your room. I hear you when the wind blows and your wind chimes tinkle as if to say, “I’m here.” I carry you with me in my heart and I know your spirit is in mine.
It saddens me that the boys will never have the pleasure of knowing you and having you here as their uncle. But they know of you now, and I will make sure they always know you. Lucas has your middle name and I see aspects of your personality in each of them. I know they would love you like we all do and I wish I could’ve seen you meet them here. It brings me great joy knowing that you probably knew them before me though and you met them in heaven before God sent them to me. I’ve been reading them a lot of your old books and I delight in knowing your spirit surrounds us each night.
Thank you for watching over us all. You’ve been free for five and a half years now and while I’m so glad you’re dancing in heaven with peppermint and the rest of our family members, I can’t help but wish you were dancing here with us. God had a bigger plan for you my brother. You were only here for 18 years but your legacy and memory will live on forever.
Happy birthday little buddy. Save a place for me and keep watching over us in the mean time. Lord knows I need it, as do we all. I miss you desperately, but angels aren’t meant to live down here. You’re where you belong.
Fly free precious angel! Enjoy the party up there, you deserve it! I love you more than words can say and miss you every single day.