Do you have one thing that just gives you shivers? Almost like you’re scared of it even when you know it’s coming? You anticipate what’s coming, you know what’s coming, you’ve fought it so many times…you want to run the other way, but you can’t. Because you can’t reverse time.
This June marks the 10th anniversary of my brother’s accident, his death. Then fourteen days after the anniversary, is his birthday.
When someone is sick, you mourn before the inevitable passing. You say everything you can say, do everything you can do and spend as much time with them as you can. When someone is taken suddenly, you don’t have the opportunity for goodbye. You have no choice but to accept the fact and then somehow figure out how to deal with it.
Death is not something you get over; it is something you live with. You learn how to deal and cope. I think of my brother every day. I can tell you how many years it has been since the accident without even thinking because it’s a tattoo in my brain now.
It is part of me.
Think of your body like a puzzle. There are hundreds of different pieces making up who you are. Think about your loved ones, your career, your hobbies and your morals. A majority of these puzzle pieces can be negative, but it is how you respond to them and help build yourself after it has happened. You have to motivate yourself each and every day no matter how dark or gloomy the day may appear. Having my brother’s memory on my mind each and every day empowers me and keeps me motivated. I wouldn’t want to disappoint him if he was still here, so there is no reason to disappoint him now when he is gone.
You have to motivate yourself each and every day no matter how dark or gloomy the day may appear.
Tragedy should not be the only thing you are made of. No matter how horrific and heart-breaking the situation may be. It should build you and make you stronger. From overcoming the most difficult thing in my life, I have taken that as motivation to step out of my comfort zone, whether it is on the ice, in the classroom, or in the workforce. I am still able to recognize and appreciate the things my brother would say if he was still here.
Living with my brother’s loss is by far the toughest thing I’ve been through in my life. I still get upset, still cry and still think about it every day. And that is okay. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I wish I could sit back and make jokes at every family holiday dinner with my brother or cry about boys, school or stress to him. I wish I could simply just sit back and drink a beer with him to catch him up on everything in these past ten years.
Getting through June is like climbing a hill that doesn’t stop growing.
I have learned that whatever life throws at me now, I know I have experienced something much harder. That something is someone I love and miss greatly.
Cheers, Michael John.
Written by Twill’s very own Emily Barden. In loving memory of her brother, Michael John.