I have a brother, we were not close at all. In fact, we went longer in my life not speaking than speaking. It’s not anyone’s fault, it wasn’t that we had a falling out, it’s that he was older than me, had his own life and we were swept away in what he did and what I did and we were just…. different from each other.
He moved away when he was a teenager and I was small, like 5 or 6 years old, and all I can remember from that early time was that he had an awesome collection of those green army guys, the ones with the rubber bands and plastic parachutes, and a KISS poster on his bedroom wall. He was troubled, he didn’t have a happy go of it when he was young, but I have no bad memories. He was the big kid in the bedroom on the left side of the hallway.
I heard about him from time to time, but it was news about someone I didn’t know. Someone I knew of, but didn’t have any sort of tie to. The next time I saw him, I was 30 and went to see him at a restaurant where he was the chef. He came out to see the people in the group I was with and had a chat with us. When someone asked him, “do you know who this is?” about me, (talk about being put on the spot!) once the pieces were put together he welled up with tears in his eyes. Complete strangers who shared blood. It was emotional for a million reasons. We took some pictures, we talked about how we had missed each other, how it’s a crazy world that we could see each other again after a lifetime.
5 years after that, just about 2 years ago, I got a facebook friend request from him. I went back and forth with should I, shouldn’t I, what would I be bringing into my life… and in the end we made contact. In that time I knew him to be the sweetest, gentlest soul. He once sent me a message to say he had seen my profile picture of one of my girls and that that’s how he remembered me. Where did the time go? He finished with:
I am scrambling as I run out the door this morning, but I would like to let you know I think of you often..
thank you for opening this door it means so very very much to me..
We didn’t talk frequently, but I hope he knew I was thinking of him. That contact meant very very much to me, too. He died this week,and I am sad that the world lost such a sweet man. His family and friends are heartbroken, and I am too.