Sometimes I really hate Facebook. Or maybe I just hate some of the people that use it.
Today is my brother’s birthday. He should be 51 today, yet he will forevermore be 49. An age that many like to say they’re at when they’re really older. But no one, including my dear brother, wants to stay at 49 for an eternity.
Last year on this day, I did ok. Until my sister called me then I cried…a lot. But I was ok. Today? I just wasn’t. I felt uneasy as soon as I woke up, although I thought it was from the argument my son and I had the day before. My parenting skills were not at their best yesterday and I said things I shouldn’t have. I did apologize to my boy, though, and we made up before bed last night. But I thought this morning’s uneasiness was due to a guilt hangover. But then, like a lightbulb exploding, I remembered. It’s June 20th. Six days after my birthday. Phil’s birthday.
I knew it was coming. Of course I did! It’s just after my own birthday, typically just after Father’s Day. But for a few minutes it was not part of my conscious thoughts. And then it was. And the grief started to settle into the back of my eyes, my downturned mouth, even into my bones. Once I got to work, I sat at my desk in my empty building and sobbed. I tossed my glasses, covered my face with my hands and let it go.
And yet I couldn’t let it go. I could feel that sadness and grief cling to me all day. I thought I would go home early in the afternoon, but I stuck it out for most of the day. But foolishly, oh so so foolishly, I looked at Phil’s Facebook wall. I knew some of my family might post something, and I get that. I do. I sometimes write on his wall, too, or talk to him in my car or in my head. But today I just couldn’t write anything. I just read the few comments. And I started to get so damn angry.
One person just wrote “happy birthday.” So, does this guy know that my brother is gone? Maybe he doesn’t. So shouldn’t I tell him? Shouldn’t the entire world know that this amazing, hilarious, sweet man is no longer on this godforsaken planet and it will never again be as good as a place as it was? But what about the woman, who I KNOW knows about my brother’s death, and her fucking cheery message? “Happy birthday, Phil!” with stupid ass balloons in the background. WTF? Seriously! What is this?!? He’s not here! He can’t celebrate ever again! Why did you write this?!? WHY?!?
I know I need to ask myself, “why do you care, Holly, and why are you so friggin’ mad?” These are the exact questions Phil would ask me. I know he would. Especially the part about caring. He was pretty good about trying to distance himself from things and people that really didn’t matter. No sense getting worked up over people that don’t care about you nor do you care about them. Just let it go.
But sometimes….sometimes it feels good to be angry and hate someone for something as silly as a FB post, because there isn’t anyone to be angry at about losing my brother. There’s no one I can yell at for taking away the person whom I looked forward to talking to, the person my son confided in and needs so much right now, the person that made me laugh like no other. So instead, I rage to myself (and to you) about a stupid meaningless post, until my anger burns out and I cry once more.
If I had some wine (I cannot believe I don’t have any right now), I would toast my lovely, hilarious, snarky yet kind big brother.
I miss you, jackass. I can’t quite move forward (there will never be moving on). I’m mostly standing still, occasionally going backwards, but I’m trying to put one foot in front of the other. I’m trying. ❤
Hol, I know somewhat about the pain and sadness you are going through, but I have never lost an older brother. I always wanted an older brother, but never had one. I wish I could take your pain away. The photo of Phil is so sweet and I see you in him. What a sweet smile he had here. Grief is a process and is so individualized, so cry, get angry and vent all you need to; you are suffering from a huge loss, a loss of someone who was a part of you, whom you loved deeply. Our love to you, Hol.
Thank you so much, Laurie. ❤
I totally understand the ignorance of some people. After my father had passed, I’d run into male friends of his, and they’d say, sorry about your dad, he was a good man, or sorry that I didn’t come to his funeral I hate those things. These weren’t old feeble men, but guys my age and younger. A few older than me. I wanted to yell at them in the middle of everyone, “You went fishing with him every Summer him hauling your ass around because you didn’t have a car, you played poker with him on a regular basis and borrowed money from him, when you were sick he’d pick up your medicine for you, he’d take you to Waterville or pick up your sorry ass when you’d had too much to drink, but you didn’t like him enough to pay your respects to him. Not even a fucking sympathy card to my mom! ” But I just said, I know you guys were close. You must miss him. I did it because they mattered to my Dad. I still can’t stand looking at them, but that’s my issue to deal with. I’ve seen that phantom red car on several occasions and know it’s not Phil, but forget for a moment and wonder if he’d already been to my place and is looking for me…then my heart sinks and it’s all I can do not to cry right there on the sidewalk while walking the rest of the way home. He was the last of my friends who could really cheer me up, help me make fun of life and not take it so serious all the time. He could knock the old out of me in a single visit. I didn’t realize I was 14 years older than him, because when I was with him I felt like we were on the same level. We understood each other. When we’d ask a question we’d answer before the other could, laughing, because we knew each other so well. I don’t think I’ll find that again, at least not in this lifetime. When you haven’t seen someone that’s alive , for a year, it feels like a year, but when you haven’t seen someone who’s died, for a year, it seems like an eternity. I can just pray that we all find a way to get in touch with that spark, that light, that was him, in some neat way, and that it brings us some sweet relief.
Oh, Pat. Beautiful words, my friend. “That spark, that light that was him.” So fucking true. Love you. ❤
Be angry, be sad, smile at the memories. Whatever it takes for you to deal with such a monumental loss. You care because Phil was your amazing big brother. It is not unreasonable for you to want everyone to understand how amazing he was and how it makes you feel when they don’t. My wish for you is that as more time passes you will be able to think of Phil and smile more each time, but it is perfectly okay if you can’t. I love you! (hugs)
I love you, Mon. ❤