15 years. Losing him seems like a lifetime ago. At least, half my life ago. And while time marches on, making those intense bouts of grief fewer and far between — time doesn’t heal, you just learn to live with your loss and manage the pain that absence brings — it is also time that has me scared. Fifteen years later and I feel so far away from him, from the memories we made. They’re in my heart, forever, of course, but sometimes it feels like a foggy recollection of a movie I once saw, or a book I read long ago. I can’t always quickly recall the plot details, instead scouring the corner of my mind to piece them back together. How I wish I could manifest Euripides’ words: “Come back. Even as a shadow, even as a dream.” Just to feel close to my brother once again.
I’m thankful for days like these, sad as they may be, because they force me to slow down. Reflect. Life gets so busy and it’s easy to let a long stretch of days or weeks go by without thinking of Jeremy. And I’m sure that’s what he would want, for us to get on with it. But it feels strangely good — alive, even — to remember him, to truly feel how much I still miss him, shed my tears and then, as he would want, get on with it. Not to live in the shadows of what could have been but to live in the promise of what is still to come. I’ve always felt a responsibility to honor Jeremy, taken from this world too soon at 26, by living my life to the fullest. So as much as I’d like to see him in my dreams, what is more important is what I do with my time — that all-too-fleeting thing — while I’m awake.
I love you big brother, I miss you even when I forget to miss you, and I so wish you were here — for me, for Patrick, for mom and dad, and for all those who loved you. Know this: They still do.