Today marks fourteen years since my brother’s death. It took my sister’s Facebook status to remind me.
You might ask how I could forget such a thing.
To me, this day is not as important as the seventeen years prior to July 17, 1999. I refuse to allow his killers that power. Since the day Justin’s ashes were interred, July resumed it’s normal place in my mental calendar, remarking only my parent’s anniversary. The days that get me are his birthday and the other 364 days of every year that has followed.
I was robbed of a brother and a friend, and time does not erase that. The biggest lie is to tell people that time heals all wounds. It does not. Soul-deep wounds merely become a part of who you are, manageable, like a chronic ailment.
Even so, I had seventeen years with my little brother. His memory is a part of me. On average, two siblings share in the neighborhood of 50% genetic code. I am half him, in some ways, and half of that was passed on to each of my children. My sister, likewise, is half, and her son carries a piece. He is not gone; not wholly. He’s there in my nephew’s silliness and my son’s scarily cunning intellect and wit. He’s there in my love of Batman, Transformers, and X-Men because he was my excuse for watching those cartoons when I was really too old for such “childish” things. Truth be told, I wanted something in common with him during those strained years where age gaps made it difficult to relate each other.
So, while today hurts, no more so than any other day, because my brother is always there with me, in my heart and mind.