Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits play quietly, an auditory nod to the season. I walk in the night air, warmed by the sight of a neighbor’s tree, glowing with colored lights through the woods. The chill wind races down the ledges but the thermometer reminds me it is still the warmest year on record; 45°s on December 15th, no snow blanketing the yard. Christmas traditions arrive regardless of the weather or my mood.
My mind whirls with memories, my heart teeters on the brink of sadness but it is too easy to fall into that abyss and I would rather look for peace. Today Duncan would have been 63 years old, and as of December 24th I will have lived half my life without him. I heard from my friend Chris in Houston who knew him very well. Her kind words and memories stirred me. It is a very small, private part of my history that catches up every once in a while.
To lose a sibling is a devastating life event. To lose anyone in a violent and seemingly senseless death is something that becomes a rip in one’s the fabric of life. There is no good response. As a society we don’t deal well with personal tragedy. Pity is painful and only kindred spirits can look into your dark place.
I prefer to imagine his thoughts of who I, his little sister, am today. I tally the years and all that he has missed including the birth of my daughters. Lex will turn 28 this week. When I learned I was pregnant with her I calculated her birthday and wondered at the closeness to his. I looked for patterns in the weave of my story that would bind the past with the future. The threads spun into a new pattern, beyond the hole, strengthening the fabric, around and beyond the rent never healed.
Through the course of my messages with Chris, she said, “I’m not always sad about Dunc I just know HE couldn’t envision his future and that makes me sad. You’re right, he lived large while he was here and that has to be enough.”
Maybe he knew he had no future to envision and just maybe that isn’t a bad thing. Perhaps if we all focused less on the future and more on right now we would be gentler and kinder. starting with ourselves. The spirit of the season will always embody my big brother and the lesson he left me with – if you dwell on the past or strive for the future you will miss what today has to offer.