One month ago today, my little brother was killed in a plane crash.
It still feels unreal to even type that out. To even say it out loud. In fact, I’m not even sure I have actually spoken them. Part of me keeps thinking that we will get a phone call, and it will be Jonathan telling us this was all a mistake. That it was somebody else and he’s just been so busy he hasn’t had a chance to call. And I will be so mad at him. Yes, the grown-up in me realizes this is completely irrational. But, in my head, the fact that this has even happened to our family is completely irrational.
For the past three weeks, I’ve been trying to finish a post listing 28 things I loved and/or will always remember about Jobear. I will finish it eventually. But, I work on it every day and I’m currently on number 14. It’s too hard to write and too painful to think about narrowing a list down to 28 things – a list that could be endless to describe what I loved about that boy. So for today, I just am writing down my stream of consciousness. Typing as fast as I can, hoping my hands can keep pace with my brain. Trying to somehow capture how much I miss you, how much I wish you were here on this beautiful day, and what fun we’d be having together.
Not to pretend that everything was always perfect. There were times when Jonathan drove me crazy – he was my little brother, after all. And not just younger, but EIGHT years younger than me. When I was in high school, he was starting Kindergarten. At my college graduation, he was 13 years old. At face value, it would seem as though it would be hard to find things in common.
But we did, and I think part of the reason is that in my mind, Jonathan never really grew up. He was always somewhere between 4 and 8 years old. In fact, whenever he appeared in my dreams, he was a toddler. I constantly “Mother Hen-ed” him, and he let me. That was our dynamic.
In recent years, our ‘common lot’ became smaller. As I got married and became a mother, he was doing what we all should do in our mid to late-twenties. He was drifting a bit, trying to find that perfect fit – a career that felt like exactly what he wanted to do with his life. He would call me to chat right around 4:45 or 5:00 in the evening. You know. That golden hour when small children are so well-behaved and the house is so quiet.
Wait. No – it’s the opposite of that. Most times I ended up having to send him to voicemail because I could barely hear myself think.
So, we texted, but there is a large part of me now that wishes I could rewind the clock to every single call I didn’t answer because I was “too busy” or I was worried about him getting annoyed because my girls were throwing tantrums in the background. And then I realize that he would be so pissed at me for feeling sorry for myself like this. He would say to me: “Bisserd, I’m GLAD you didn’t answer. Because, you know what? I really love your girls, but you’re right. I really DON’T want to listen to them scream. Text me when you get a chance and send me a funny picture.” And that’s all I want to do. Is just pick up the phone and send him a cute picture of my cat, or a funny story about our parents, or tell him something stupid one of our brothers did.
I miss him so much that there are times when I feel like I can’t breathe. I stay up at night thinking about him and about the accident. And there’s a split second each morning when I don’t remember. Or, I think, “I had the WORST dream last night.” And then I remember. It wasn’t a dream. And it’s like starting all over again. Every day.
I find it hard to focus on the mundane things I need to do to get my children through the day (poor Blair – there have probably been MANY an overdue diaper change over this past month.). My kids are out of sorts, and they are probably sick of seeing my face (and seeing me cry). But the thought of talking to other people sometimes makes me feel sick to my stomach and most days it seems easier to stay within the bubble that is my family and friends. The people who ask me how I’m doing, but who know how silly of a question that is and still don’t feel bad about asking it. They know how I’m feeling, because they feel the same way.
And while it’s only been a month, I think the hardest part is watching the world move forward. I don’t know if this is a grief thing, or if I’m just angry (an angry little elf, as Jobear and I would have said). But it’s so, so difficult to see life going on around me, when I feel like I can barely get out of bed each morning. To see other people living their lives normally when I feel like I’m living underwater.
But, I do get up. Because I have to. Because my children need me. My parents need me. My brothers need me. All three of them. Jonathan needs me to continue living life with all that I have, because that’s how he lived life. He needs me to try to stop crying and try to start laughing again. Because that’s how we, as a family, all worked best together. We have more great memories than are probably fair for one family to share.
Little brother, I miss you with all of my heart and soul. My heart breaks for everything I will never be able to see you do, but it sings to think about everything you had already done. You lived more during your 28 years than most people do in a lifetime. I promise to try to worry less and be scared less (I even got in the ocean on vacation – just for you! I knew you would be so proud of me!). I promise I’ll let my girls go out in that silly little boat you and Palmer “fixed up” (I use that term very loosely – and I WILL make them wear life jackets). I will tell them about you every single day. I will talk about you every day, and I will talk TO you every day.
And I will never, ever stop saying that I have three brothers. An older, a twin, and a younger. One of each.
Forever and always.