It’s hard to believe.
Time keeps moving and you try to not pay attention, you try to keep things bottled up and forgotten about. And then the “big numbers” hit you. Nice round ones like 20 years. It’s no different than the day before. Why should it matter? Why does the 7,300th day since it happened feel so much harder than the 7,299th? Because as humans we love to correlate numbers. We can’t help ourselves. Anniversaries mean something. Do they though?
I try not to think about my brother, every day. But when we near anniversaries I can’t help it. He comes to mind more than I want. It’s not disrespectful to try and forget him. It’s just safeguarding. It’s as painful today as it was the day it happened. In many ways more so as I think to all the things we would have done together. All the places we’d have went. The exciting experiences he’s missed out on and the times of my life I really needed him and he wasn’t there.
You know for years I couldn’t say his name. It was too painful to even do that. I don’t look at old photos or videos or anything. I just cut it from my life completely. I miss him too much and how he left this world is too fresh to me even 20 years later. I can’t express or explain just how I feel. I normally am very strong and confident in all ways. I push myself hard and always feel I can meet any challenge then I hate myself. I am worthless. I am not as strong as I try to tell myself. Everything I do ends in failure. Every day I’m alive is just another day he isn’t.
It’s that the numbers start to sear into my brain and I start to question. I don’t mean to, but I do.
Would he think I was strong?
Would he still love me?
Would he believe in me still?
Would he be proud of me?
Am I half the man he was? Or am I so much more? And if I am, how sad is it he wasn’t able to be more with the time he had?
What dreams would he have followed?
What games would he have loved?
Would he have loved the same movies as me?
Would he have had kids?
What would he think of my friends? My new family? Danielle and Wayne and Jim and Andy?
Would he still be my brother?
Would he still be gone?
And it kills me every single day.
Just today more than most.
I love you Paul.